Mentoring seems to make its way up and down the popularity chart. Chances are good that mentoring helps, as long as it is the right mentor. How do you find the right mentor?
Mentoring is typically connected to the idea of pairing people together, one is the lead, the wisdom giver, the act to learn from and follow. The other is the mentee, the observer, the one who seeks answers to questions, and learns to replicate the desired behaviors of the other.
I think many would agree that the mentor and mentee relationship can make a significant difference. Choosing the right match might sometimes be challenging.
Here are a few things to consider:
Receptivity. Most important is that the potential mentee is open and receptive to the concept that there is value in the relationship. If the mentee is close minded or stubborn about the process things might not end so well. In fact, it could be the kind of disruption that no one appreciates.
Generations. Pairing a millennial or gen Z (Gen 9/11, iGen) person with a traditional or baby boomer might seem logical since the folks who have been in the workforce longer might have more to share. Are you concerned about the turnover ratio of the most recent generations? Try pairing the best role model you have of that same generation with the new hire.
Expectations. You shouldn’t expect to have the end result be an exact replica of the mentor. Instead consider that the mentor can help the mentee discover all of the values, beliefs, and traditions and then be able to help the mentee incorporate those into their own style. Make sure the outcome expectations are realistic.
Mentor Not Coach
Keep in mind that while the words mentoring and coaching might be used synonymously they are likely two different processes.
In the workplace a mentor is typically a much more elite form of job shadowing, whereas coaching helps people adjust their behaviors and habits to improve their performance.
A mentor is more show and tell. A coach is more ask and consider. Technically they are quite different processes.
In either case consider progress is better than standing still, or worse, falling behind.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.