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What is mentoring?

Mentoring is most often defined as a profesisonal relationship in which a more experienced person (the mentor) assists another (the mentee) in developing specific skills and knowledge that will enhance the less-experienced person's professional and personal growth.

Why Is Mentoring Important?

Did you know mentoring is one of the most valuable development initiatives an organization can offer to its team or employees? In fact, career outcomes of people who participate in a mentoring program include higher compensation, more opportunities for advancement and promotion, and increased satisfaction in their careers.

Here is why mentoring is important for mentees and mentors as well as organizations, corporations, institutions, and employers.

Set Goals For Mentees Encourages Growth In Skills

Mentees have the opportunity to be an active participant in the benefits they seek from a mentoring program. 93% of surveyed workers believe that setting goals is important to their work performance. Beginning with a set of goals, the mentee can work with their mentor to create a thorough and well-rounded approach to achieve those goals. Throughout the duration of the mentoring program, the mentee will develop a wide variety of skills, including improved confidence and communication, develop professional relationships, expand network of contacts, and gain insight on company or industry culture.

The Konnekt Mentoring program provides mentees an opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills, gain valuable advice from experienced mentors, and build their professional networks. Focusing on 5 interest areas;

  1. Education
  2. Career
  3. Emotional wellbeing
  4. Relationships
  5. Networking

...the Konnekt Mentoring program provides mentees with the tools to test and develop new skills as well as build a solid network.

Giving Back For Mentors Encourages Growth In Purpose

Mentors are seeking ways to reciprocate and pay it forward with their experiences, perspectives, and skills. Participating in a mentor program gives mentors the opportunity to give back to their organization or community as well as a sense of purpose and responsibility for their own careers. While working with mentees, mentors also enhance their listening skills and relationship-building skills. The mentor-mentee relationship also fosters a deeper sense of community within the organization or environment they are in.

The Konnekt Mentoring program provides mentors with support and training to ensure the experience is beneficial to both the mentor and mentee. Through the Konnekt portal, mentors have access to training modules, matching data analysis, and community support. By participating in the Konnekt Mentoring program, mentors have a road map to enhance their own skills and provide the best experience for their mentee.

When The Employee Grows, The Company Grows As Well

Organizations, corporations, and employers are focused on sustainable growth. Investing in the team and employees will build the solid foundation for that growth. A well established mentoring program can develop leaders, improve talent retention, and reduce training costs. To gain these results, the mentoring program implemented in the organization or company must include a variety of aspects to succeed. For example, a data-informed approach to matching mentors and mentees guarantees a beneficial experience for both parties that is cost effective. Mentorship guidelines are needed to establish protocols to ensure goals are achieved and feedback is responded to. Making mentorship an integral part of the company culture demonstrates a willingness to invest in the team and employees.

The Konnekt Mentoring program provides data-informed processes to match mentors and mentees and develop a structured customized mentoring relationship. Within the Konnekt Mentoring program portal, guidelines are provided for all parties to set their goals, track their progress, and develop an effective process to make the mentoring experience beneficial to all parties.

Are you ready to enhance your skills, develop a solid network, and achieve overall growth? Sign up with Konnekt Mentoring now.

What does a mentor do?

A mentor performs a number of different functions:

  • Teaches a mentee about a specific issue
  • Coaches a mentee on a particular skill
  • Facilitates a mentee's growth by providing resources/networks
  • Challenges a mentee to move beyond his or her comfort zone
  • Creates a safe learning environment for taking risks
  • Focuses on a mentee's total development
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What does a mentee do?

A mentee is the prime mover in the mentoring relationship and has several roles:

  • Student - listens to what a mentor has to offer and completes tasks that form part of any development plan the mentee is working on with his or her mentor.
  • Risk-taker - is open to change and willing to attempt new approaches to situations even if uncomfortable. Most importantly, willing share the "real" issues that impact the mentee's success, such as lack of self-confidence, communication issues, etc.
  • Integrator - incorporates what is learned from a mentor into an action plan that will work for him or her rather than simply taking what a mentor says and doing what the mentor did.
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Are mentoring and coaching identical?

No. People often confuse mentoring and coaching. Though related, they are not the same. A mentor may coach, but a coach is not a mentor. There are significant differences.

Coaching:

  • Managers coach all their staff, as a required part of the job.
  • Coaching takes place within the confines of a formal line manager/employee relationship.
  • Coaching focuses on developing an individual within his or her current job.
  • Coaching's interest is functional, arising out of the need to ensure that an individual can perform the tasks required to the best of his or her ability.
  • A coaching relationship tends to be initiated and driven by an individual's manager.
  • A coaching relationship is finite – it ends as an individual transfers to another job.

Mentoring:

  • Mentoring takes place outside of a line manager/employee relationship, at the mutual consent of a mentor and the person being mentored.
  • Mentoring is career-fociused or focused on professional development that may be outside a mentee's area of work.
  • A mentoring relationship is person – a mentori provides both professional and personal support.
  • A mentoring relationship may be initiated by the mentor and/or matched by the organization.
  • A mentoring relationship crosses job boundaries.
  • A mentoring relationship may last for a specific period of time (nine months to a year) in a formal program at which point the pairs may opt to transition to an informal relationship.
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How are informal and formal mentoring different?

Informal and formal mentoring are often confused (some organizations in the early 80s tried to initiate informal mentoring and failed). They are different in their approach and outcomes:

Informal Mentoring:

  • Goals of the relationship are not specified
  • Outcomes are not measured
  • Access is limited and may be exclusive
  • Mentors/mentees self-select on the bases of personal "chemistry"
  • Mentoring lasts a long time, sometimes a lifetime
  • No training or support is provided to the mentoring pair
  • The organization benefits indirectly as focus is exclusively on mentee

Formal Mentoring:

  • Goals are established from the beginning by the organization and the employee-mentee
  • Outcomes are measured
  • Access is open to all who meet program criteria
  • Mentors/mentees are paired on the basis of compatibility
  • Training and support in mentoring is provided
  • Mentoring is for a finite period of time, but may last longer
  • The organization and employee both benefit directly
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Why do organizations need a structured mentoring program?

While many managers demonstrate mentoring behaviors and mentor favored emplyees on an informal bases, that is quite different from actually being a mentor in a structured program. There is a qualitative difference between a manager-employee relationship and a mentor-mentee relationship:

Managerial Role:

Fundamentally, a manager-employee relationship focuses on achieving the objectives of the department and the company. A manager assigns tasks, evaluates the outcome, conducts performance reviews, and recommends possible salary increases and promotions.

Because managers hold significant power over employees' work lives, most employees will demonstrate only their strengths and hide their weaknesses in the work environment.

Mentoring Role:

Fundamentally, a mentor-mentee relationship is focused on developing the mentee professionally and personally. As such, a mentor does not evaluatethe mentee with respect to his or her current job, does not conduct performance reviews of the mentee, and does not provide input about salary increases and promotions.

This creates a safe learning environment where the mentee feels free to discuss issues openly and honestly, without worrying about negative consequences on the job.

As you can see, the roles of manager and mentor are fundamentally different. That's why structured mentoring programs never pair mentors with their direct supervisors.

What are the benefits of mentoring?

Mentoring benefits the organization, the mentor, and the mentee in a number of different ways.

Organization:

  • Enhances strategic business initiatives
  • Develops greater company loyalty
  • Reduces turnover costs by encouraging retention
  • Provides a method of exploring career paths within the organization rather than looking for opportunities elsewhere
  • Links employees with valuable knowledge and information with those employees in need of such information
  • Uses own employees as internal experts for professional development versus hiring outside consultants
  • Supports the creation of a multicultural workforce by creating relationships among diverse employees and allowing equal access to mentoring
  • Creates a mentoring culture over time which continuously promotes individual employee growth and development

Mentor:

  • Gains insights from the mentee's background and history that can be utilized in the mentor's professional and personal development
  • Gains satisfaction in sharing his or her expertise with another
  • Reenergizes his or her own career
  • Gains an ally in promoting the organizationa's well-being
  • Increases his or her own internal network of colleagues
  • Learns more about other areas within the organization

Mentee:

  • Gains from the mentor's expertise
  • Receives critical feedback in key areas, such as communication, interpersonal relationships, technical abilities, change management, and leadership skills
  • Develops a sharper focus on what steps are needed to grow professionally within the organization
  • Learns specific skills and knowledge that are relevant to his or her personal goals
  • Networks with a more influential employee
  • Gains knowledge about the organization's culture and unspoken rules that can be critical for success – adapts more quickly to the organization's culture
  • Has a "friendly ear" to share frustrations as well as successes
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How does an organization know when it's ready to implement a mentoring program?

An organization that values its employees and is committed to providing opportunities for them to remain and grow within the organization is an ideal candidate to institute mentoring. Ideally, such an organization has an internal structure to support a successful program.

Examples include:

  • A performance management program
  • Developed competencies
  • A valued-training function
  • Diversity training
  • A succession-planning process
  • A management development program
  • Strategic business objectives

In addition, there should be individuals within the higher ranks of the organization who will champion the mentoring initiative and help "make it happen". Champions can include the organization's president, vice presidents, and other influential individuals.

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