The Benefits of a Mentoring Program

A mentoring program is a great way to make sure every employee has the go-to person that they need. It will enhance leadership qualities and provide needed support to build a relationship between mentor and mentee. A recent article from the Chief Learning Officer website notes that mentoring is a two-way street. Author Lee Bertrand gives some insight into how to implement a mentoring program within your organization.

Mentoring programs can offer many benefits to an organization. Effective programs can develop increased productivity, improved strategic planning, succession planning and will lead to a seasoned, well-developed workforce. The pitfall of a mentoring program is that it is expected that the mentee will develop more quickly than they would have without the program. This may not always be the outcome.

Developing too quickly can have negative effects on the employee and the organization. You can’t rush experience, it can only happen naturally. When employees rise through the ranks too quickly, they simply do not have the background necessary to be executive level, and in the end, the organization suffers. Although some may have the ability to divide and conquer, they may not have the ability to efficiently lead.

The danger in mentoring is not that the mentee responds and develops slowly, but that he or she develops too quickly. The status of being a mentee often leads those around him or her into making the assumption that he or she “is going places” – hinting at quick promotions, which are often soon realized.

Emotional leadership capabilities must be up to par, and cannot be rushed. The mentee must be looked after closely to be sure all areas are being developed in proximity to each other. Mentors must be keen on whether or not the mentee is capable of grasping so much information in such a condensed package. Leadership qualities take time and experience to fully develop, and a poor assessment of a mentee grasping this can lead to massive organizational problems.

How do you know when the mentee is ready for more? Well, he or she will ask. Be prepared for lots of questions – especially “why”, as understanding the why of things is often very important. Be sure the mentee asks the right questions and can answer your questions. If not, the mentee is not ready to proceed. Letting the process proceed in this manner will allow for assurance that the individual is ready to go to the next level, and will decrease the chances that the process is being rushed.

If the mentor and the mentee properly manage their relationship, both parties benefit. Mentors can gain the personal satisfaction of giving back; develop a legacy of personal knowledge, insight and experience; career enhancement; and earn visibility, power and prestige. At the other end, mentees receive career assistance, develop confidence, experience an increase in organizational awareness and find increased advancement opportunities.

At the end of the day, it’s not just about getting the job done. It’s about how the job effects the overall success of the organization and how it impacts the employee. To read more about implementing a mentoring program in your organization, click here to read the full article.

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