I get asked this a lot, “what is the benefit of mentoring in my organization” or “do I really need a mentor – what would be in it for me?” I was asked just yesterday if I had a mentor and for how long. I have had mentors for most of my life. I was mentoring people throughout my career but didn’t realize what it was that I was doing. Since I started mentoring full time and sharing the “gift of mentoring” I know see and realize the power of mentoring – it truly is a gift! I have also benefited immensely from the mentors that have been a part of my personal life and my professional one. They are my inspiration and in some cases the life preserver that I need when things are a little stormy. They are the calming influence that forces me to think my way through situations using critical thinking skills rather than allowing the situations to control me.
I want to explore this on two different paths. The first is the aspect of mentoring on a personal basis and then the second is on the organizational/business aspect. First, let’s talk about mentoring as it can affect me personally.
This is sometimes where we lose sight of the true value of mentoring. I work with a number of people at different stages of their career, different places in their life and different stages of their entrepreneurship. The one thing that has been instrumental in ensuring our journey is a successful one is in addressing their personal growth. We have worked hard at ensuring the road we are going to follow has been paved by addressing the personal challenges that they have. These personal challenges are in fact roadblocks or barriers to us moving forward with any professional growth – career development. It would be like having a massive tree across the road. Until we remove that tree we cannot go forward.
When I see the value of what the mentoring experience has done for me I see someone that is relationship focuses, communicates effective and is continuously working at communicating better, is caring about self and about others, wants to help others be the best that they can be. Now this is not an extensive list by any stretch of the imagination. Suffice it to say that the mentoring experience has most definitely shaped who I am today. What I have seen in others that I have spent time with is a similar growth in the same areas and in other areas as each mentoring experience is unique for both the mentor and the mentee. If you do not have a mentor or mentors then now is the time to reach out and begin your journey – you won’t regret the journey that you will go on. The “Gift of Mentoring” is a very powerful gift!
Let’s talk about the second part of this article now. Mentoring is quickly being recognized for the business value that it can bring to an organization, the employees and management of that organization. All too often though we are hesitant to begin that journey as we are uncertain as to what path to take and the amount of work that it might take to get there. Mentoring in an informal capacity is more than likely taking place in an organization – we just don’t realize it. We always wonder if we attempt to implement mentoring in our organization and fail – then what?
Also read: Mentoring in the Digital Age
In numerous conversations that we are having with organizations we discuss the business value of implementing mentoring on a formal and informal basis. We discuss the implementation of a mentor program or a mentor culture or both. We mentor organizational champions through the process of implementing mentoring and how we are going to measure success. Mentoring creates a continuous learning and development organization.
We know that we are going to learn something every day and that we are going to impact on a positive note the learning of someone else in the organization. We know that we feel safe in our organization and that it is okay to ask questions. It is okay to guide co-workers to a new way of doing things through the critical thinking process. We know that a respectful workplace is one where there is no place for bullying or harassment. We know that the “Gift of Mentoring” is a powerful gift and one that forms the basis of our culture. We know we are going to grow personally and professionally through the “Gift of Mentoring” – can we afford not to?
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