When we take a look at the challenges facing most organizations today we see an aging workforce, talent shortages, lack of succession development, lack of leadership talent, disengaged employees, and a mobile work force where employees continuously search for the culture that is a good fit for them. Trying to find a solution to these challenges is tough at the best of time. It is even more so when you have 53% of current leaders unable to inspire people to follow them.
Implementing a mentoring culture is a great way to address all of these challenges. Ensuring that we are using effective mentoring practices is critical to the success of building that culture.
Also read: Mentoring in the Digital Age
I want you to envision an organization that has embraced “the gift of mentoring” and has implemented a mentor program and/or a mentoring culture. They have created a continuous learning and development environment where employees at all levels grow on a personal and professional basis each and every day. Productivity flourishes in the organization, morale is high, and employees are engaged, empowered and accountable. Retention is not an issue as employees can hardly wait to get to work as they know that they are going to learn something and share their knowledge with a colleague.
This reminds me of a story about an organization that people always said to not stand in the doorways or hallways at 4:30 as that was going home time and people literally flooded the hallways as they could not get out of there fast enough. In another organization people were coming to work early as they were inspired by their leaders and co-workers as they knew that they would learn something each and every day.
How can we accomplish that with effective mentoring? With all the work that I do with people and organizations I have found that it is important for me as a mentor to understand who I am as a person and to be comfortable sharing that with others. Building a trusted relationship is key to the success of mentoring and believing in yourself is part of that journey.
Effective communication is another piece of the foundation to mentoring success. It is not just about listening to what the other person is saying but actually hearing what is being said in the conversation. Are they deflecting away from a sensitive issue, do they have self-esteem and self-confidence issues? Do you ask a series of questions that helps develop or enhance their critical thinking skills? Telling them what to do shifts accountability back to you as the mentor and that is not a good thing. Do you observe their body language as there are many stories that come from their body language?
Having the tools in your mentoring tool kit is crucial. Effective mentoring practices require that you are open and willing to learn and grow as well. Your growth may well be about you as a person. I find that to be so rewarding and fulfilling.
The gift of mentoring is a powerful tool that can and will make a difference in your life and in your organization. Take the time to enrich your mentoring tool kit with effective mentoring practices and be prepared to make a difference!
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