Developing Leaders and Teams
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Why are we so energised and enthusiastic about Leadership Mentoring?
It’s is a great way to develop talent for both mentee and mentors. Done well, it’s a low cost investment that delivers results quickly. It enables valuable knowledge and experience to be shared across the organisation. Leadership Mentoring develops people throughout their career.
We help our clients by building skills and confidence with our developing mentors workshops, inspiring and engaging mentees with our mentee training workshops and building internal capability with our train the trainer workshops
Throughout any work we do with you, we freely share our experience to add value to your programme, and we’re happy just to chat mentoring ideas through over a coffee!
Benefits of Mentoring
Mentoring today comes in many guises. Gone are the times when it was primarily about a help up the career ladder from a sponsor. The value of mentoring means that there are now multiple uses of mentors. More creative applications include peer to peer mentoring and reverse mentoring.
Groups of employees who benefit from mentoring are newly appointed leaders, high potentials, those joining through acquisitions and those in transition. Indeed, any category of employee who needs focused attention and development will benefit from working with a mentor.
It doesn’t have to be an onerous, heavily structured programme. The trick, we believe, is to get the right balance of structure and flexibility. The purpose and the target audience will define that balance. We discuss how to start a leadership mentoring programme at the end of this page.
Why not get in touch for an informal, no obligation chat?
Mentoring versus Coaching
People often ask about the differences between mentoring and coaching. Although they are both development tools, there are some important differences.
Mentoring involves a sharing, or passing on, of knowledge and experience by the mentor. Mentors, therefore, are often selected on the basis of their experience or knowledge. It is often a long-term relationship. The degree of formality and structure in a mentoring relationship varies tremendously. A common feature of mentoring is that relationships can become very strong over time.
Coaching is more targeted and focused on developing specific skills or behaviours. The role of the coach is to facilitate the thinking of the coachee, not to provide answers. It is normally relatively short-term. Whilst coaches may share their experiences with a coachee, it is not a key part of the relationship. Where external coaches are engaged, many will say that part of their value is in not having similar knowledge and experience as their coachee. This enables them to challenge thinking and perspectives more effectively.
Good mentors do use coaching skills such as use of questions, reflecting back and listening. The best mentors blend the sharing of knowledge and experience with encouraging the mentee to reflect and think solutions through for themselves. This can be a difficult balance, especially for those used to leading. That’s why good mentoring requires training.
What makes a good mentor
The most important quality in a mentor is a genuine desire to develop and support the growth of their mentee. Without this motivation, leadership mentoring is going to have limited success.
Therefore, we recommend that mentors are selected or, even better, volunteer their services. Mentoring is a skill and mentors will have varying degrees of natural ability. Training is important and committed mentors see the value of developing their mentoring skills.
Good mentors willingly share their knowledge and experience. However, they never impose their views on their mentee but encourage them to reflect and think through solutions for themselves.
What makes a good mentee
To get the most from mentoring, good mentees take ownership for their learning. They drive the mentoring relationship and are enthusiastic participants.This means that the mentee should have clarity about their goals for mentoring. They should set the agenda, schedule meetings and be respectful of their mentors time.
Mentees, whilst respecting the views and opinions of their mentors, need to think for themselves. They should also feel comfortable challenging their mentors. However, sometimes this can feel uncomfortable. Read our blog The Awe Factor, to learn more.
How to start a leadership mentoring programme
It’s important to put sufficient time and planning into your mentoring programme if it’s going to be effective and sustainable.
We recommend a number of questions are asked as part of this planning phase:
1. What is the objective of mentoring for our organisation?
2. How will this fit or align with other development activities?
3. Who is the target audience?
4. What kind of mentors do they need?
5. How structured does the programme need to be?
6. Should we run a small pilot?
7. How will we train mentors and mentees and support them?
We’ve seen mentoring programmes falter because they are either too loosely structured and never get off the ground or they are onerous and over-engineered and fail to engage either the mentors or the mentees.
We’re very happy to be a sounding board, if you are thinking about starting a mentoring scheme to do get in touch for a chat.