A Mentor accelerates the growth of an employee

You have been asked to work on a new project and you have managed to do a good job but your boss still thinks your project is not that great. You think your boss can never appreciate good work. You are also expected to stay back late in office and work at times. In spite of all the extra time and effort you have been putting in you are not rewarded for it. You are wondering if there is something you can do to change the situation or it’s time to search for another job. In a scenario like this, a mentor can really help you assess the situation very well. If you and your boss do not share a great work relationship and have not been communicating properly about the new projects, may be your mentor could offer you suggestions on how to tackle this communication gap or help you find a new job if you wish to leave.

If you have been waiting for a promotion for long, you have not got a chance to move up the corporate ladder even though your performance reviews have always been positive. And now you are worried and have been thinking that several years without any professional growth can hinder your future career prospects. In this case, a mentor can help you assess your promotion potential, find out where you are lagging behind, what can be done to get positive results and provide encouragement along the way.

The case of mentoring in organizations is now more compelling than ever. It is clear that mentoring supports the retention development and engagement of today’s workforces. It is a direct link to an organization’s productivity and ultimately, profitability. Mentoring has the potential to elevate corporate dialogue from the mundane to the truly transformational.

In the modern world, organizations and people survive by continuously learning and through application of knowledge. Organizations have to create learning alliances and nurture them to develop people.

You might call yourself a self-made man, but you surely cannot do without the services of a mentor if your career has to grow. S/he can give you guidance, direction, help you in achieving your goals and also give you suggestions when you really need them.

You have recently taken up a couple of new challenges at work: You have been given the opportunity to pitch a big company on your firm’s services, and your anxiety is growing because you know that a lot depends on your performance. Remember, every time you tackle a new professional challenge, you can benefit from a mentor’s experience and advice.

If you are extremely bored of your current job and have sent out multiple resumes, but have got no response from anybody and you are starting to feel a little frustrated. It is possible that you are not searching properly. In this situation, your mentor can always guide you. S/he can review your resume and offer suggestions, help you prepare for your interview.

Mentor is a senior person with a vast experience in an identical area of work like you and is still working or has recently retired from the corporate sector. He is a person who has seen all the changes in management style and business environment. He can be from your own company or from another company or could be your relative with the necessary experience. But fundamentally you should have a good rapport with him and he should be guiding you without any monetary or material benefit.

The traditional concept of mentoring has been that, one person who is older, wiser and more powerful and expects loyalty in return for advice, guidance and a helping hand. However, mentoring is not coaching and it is useful to understand the difference between the two roles.

Mentoring is concerned with implications beyond the task and the agenda is set by the learner. The emphasis is on reflection by the learner and typically it’s a long term relationship. The mentors in any organization have to play the role of coaches, counselors, guardians and facilitators.

The first step in mentoring is to have clear objectives and outcome. Its success depends on the role of the mentors and the attitude of the mentees. Ideally mentors take on roles of collaborating, doing things with the mentee, goal setting, helping the mentee set viable yet stretchable personal goals, challenging and pushing the mentees to think deeply about issues, particularly about how they perceive themselves and their relationships.

Another important role of the mentor is in guiding and explaining how the organization works, its politics and helping the mentee develop a street smart attitude. The mentor must also be a role model. Mentees have to develop a positive attitude and be open to new ideas and display commitment. One of the most important characteristics required in a mentee is that he must demonstrate trust in sharing issues.

Identifying mentors and mentees is an important part of a mentorship program. Mentees are selected on the basis of their innate talent and leadership potential. Mentors should be identified not just on the basis of their knowledge and skills but whether people within the organization look up to them for guidance.

Mentoring relationships may not work out because of failure to establish rapport, poor goal setting, breach of confidence and inability to cope with time pressures. Developmental mentoring is very effective when difference in power and influence between the mentor and mentee is set aside and focus is more on learning.

More importantly at the organizational level, measurement of outcomes of the mentoring programs must be closely linked with the objectives. When organizations have properly managed developmental alliances it leads to timely help for people at all levels. To derive maximum benefit an organization must both equip people to manage the relationship and provide adequate resources to manage and support them. Organizations must value people and be prepared to invest in such relationships as a means to improve performance.

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