In life one can have many mentors, a family member, a family friend, a friend’s parent. As people come and go through one’s life journey we come across folks who influence and guide us and have an impact on how we think and behave. A lot of this is unconscious both from the mentor and the person being influenced.
Why not take a conscious approach towards mentor relationships in business?
My perspective on this topic in the business world stems from observing a huge talent pool of youth entering the business world, ready and eager to learn. The energy and aptitude in them is tremendous, however the wisdom that comes from experience takes time to acquire, and is lacking.
Why not pair these individuals with members of the workforce getting ready to retire, or even those who have already retired from the organization to help the new generation build their skills and propel their growth.
The concept of a mentor stretches back through recorded time.
In Greek mythology, Mentor was a loyal friend and adviser to Odysseus, king of Ithaca. Mentor helped raise Odysseus’ son, Telemachus, while Odysseus was away fighting the Trojan War. Mentor became Telemachus’ teacher, coach, counselor and protector, building a relationship based on affection and trust.
Mentoring today is synonymous with the process by which we guard and guide others. Mentors seemingly “adopt” those placed in their care.
It seems like a good idea to adopt these age-old ideas and help our employees along their career and life path. Specifically in the business world.
At its best, business mentoring is a process that activates the skills of the mentee within their current role and helps groom them for their next. Business mentoring helps them to produce high quality decisions that define them, their authority and their effectiveness. A business mentor provides a confidential sounding board, thinking room, and support for working through crucial and often complex decisions.
Business mentoring can also help organizations to retain their best people and increase staff loyalty.
I think that the quality that can be achieved in a business mentoring program would hinge on the expertise of those establishing the program in achieving the right fit between mentee and mentor. The best results will definitely be achieved when the mentor and mentee like and respect each other and where the personal chemistry is right.
A business mentor, by virtue of their experience, will be able to help the mentee steer through the organization. Perhaps more importantly, the business mentor will help the mentee to understand some of the more informal ways of getting things done and some of the unwritten and unstated ways of working (the world of corporate politics!), and therefore develop the mentee’s professional expertise and career.
Today, mentoring is being recognized as an important component of small business development. Many like myself see a void in the larger corporate business world and want to fill that void.
Mentoring uses the resources a company already has to improve employee satisfaction, develop leadership, and teach new skills.
Newswise says — Mentoring can be a powerful tool in introducing employees to an organization’s climate and help them progress in their jobs. It can be extremely beneficial to have someone who has your best interests at heart and can explain the facts of business life and offer valuable advice.
Informal mentoring has been going on forever, but companies are increasingly recognizing that formal mentoring programs can provide significant benefits for both the employee and the company, says Dr. Lillian Eby, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Georgia and an authority on corporate mentoring.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to establish a formal mentoring program is that mentored employees have stronger commitment to the organization and are less likely to leave. “A key benefit of mentoring is retention. Turnover costs can be staggering. That’s one reason why organizations include mentoring programs as part of their business objectives,” Eby says.
Also, there is evidence that mentoring can lead to more satisfied employees, and therefore more productive and creative employees that will only add value to their organizations.