Skill Level Intermediate
- Mentoring programs are all the rage and there's a reason for that. When it's done right, mentoring helps people take very real steps forward in their career. Now I know you've heard the terms coaching and mentoring before and sometimes people use them synonymously but they're a little different. So let me help you think a little more clearly about the two real quick. Coaching is about short term skill building in the immediate role someone has. The first quarter, the second quarter. We're not talking about years, we're talking about immediate skill building for the current role.
And it's usually delivered by a peer or someone close to them in the hierarchy. In contrast, mentoring is about long term career progress, it's about strategic skills that aren't necessarily of immediate use but you have to build, if you're gonna take big steps forward in your career. Being a mentor can help change someones life but I want you to be sure that you get involved in mentoring for the right reasons. Now right now inside many organisations they have formal mentoring programs, and I'm not saying that they're wrong, they can be useful.
I do however want to tell you that contrived relationships are never as good as organically grown relationships. So instead of formally pairing people who otherwise wouldn't know each other, I want you to think about encouraging managers, instead of mandating managers, to become mentors. When people self select into relationships the odds that they can find a good bond, have good chemistry, goes up significantly. That leads to a good mentor relationship. Let's be clear as well about the motivation for being a mentor.
It's not about just checking boxes, it's not about building a following of people who like you and come to you for advice. It's really about wanting to help an individual be a better version of themselves. At a bigger level, the motivation for mentoring is about wanting to develop the talent pool in your organisation. It's also about you building your teaching skills which will help you at any level of the leadership hierarchy. Okay so let's address what it means to be a great mentor.
Here are several specific ideas that will help you be the best mentor possible.