Gareth Aldis is the Director of Thinksmart Development and works across across a variety of industries, both in Australia and internationally.
He writes today about the power of mentoring.
Your radio station is constantly changing, another re-structure announcement, new programming format, clients coming and going, colleagues in and out, your Manager is too busy keeping on top of everything going on in the business to have ‘real’ time for you, and you can’t even remember the last time you attended any company paid training – Does any of this sound familiar to you?
So where does this leave you and your own personal development? How can you take control in an ever changing environment? What are your options? Do you keep doing what you are doing and hope for the best?
Or leave and join another station, only to find the same situation at the new station?
One option may be to find a Mentor for yourself, or become a Mentor for someone else. Often we hear about the value of being mentored, but we believe there is value for both the person being mentored (the mentee), and also for the actual mentor.
Mentoring is an experience based on mutual trust that enables both the Mentor and Mentee to grow and develop. Mentors support Mentees by sharing their experiences and knowledge, with the focus being on growth and development. During a mentoring session the mentee can share various situations, from issues and challenges, through to how to maximize an opportunity situation.
The mentor shares their experience, providing guidance, and the Mentee learns about a different perspective from the Mentor. The Mentor learns very quickly that you can’t just simply tell the Mentee what to do; rather it’s about learning what questions to ask and staying curious about the Mentee’s views, which creates a great development opportunity for both parties.
A Mentor should not be your Manager or a close friend. Real value Mentors are those individuals in your organisation who have similar values to your own, who have the skills you would like to develop and have the experience they can bring that will be relevant to the potential Mentoring topics.
In choosing a mentor, also take into consideration their personality type, their views, and their communication style. All are vital in establishing a mutually trusting relationship to ensure the mentoring topics can be discussed openly, viewpoints are heard and experiences and potential directions/decisions to take are explored.
When mentoring is used by your organisation the benefits are wide ranging. From increased performance and productivity (from the Mentee being more effective in their current role due to a feeling of self motivation and loyalty to the organization), to developing your Pipeline of Talent through mentees developing themselves ready to take on new roles, to ultimately supporting organizational retention, which is always a significant cost for an organization. At a more informal level, it keeps the mentor aware of what is really going on in the organization.
So is it just a case of going off and finding a Mentor or become a Mentor for someone and start chatting?
The key to any successful Mentoring relationship is to be part of a mentoring program. You need to establish a way of matching up Mentor to Mentee. Have a way to communicate to both parties what Mentoring is all about, the commitment and ground rules, how to prepare and conduct Mentoring discussion, length of the meetings and how often, ideal location, expected outcomes and points in the program to ensure its travelling as expected.
Establishing a mentoring program is straight forward and easy to implement when you seek the right tools and advice from an experienced Mentoring advocate.
Gareth Aldis is the Director of Thinksmart Development, and part of a team of individuals with HR, Learning and Development and Organisational Development backgrounds, and business, sales and clients relationship skills across a variety of industries, working internationally.
Gareth is the former Human Resources Manager of dmg Radio Australia and designed and established dmg’s first Mentoring Program. You can contact Gareth here.