The last 15 months have been a polarising time. Some people have thrived and stepped into the uncertainty with real grace. Others have shown courage and had to work harder than ever before. Some people have had luck on their side, and others have made a significant contribution to their communities. And some people are wearing out.
There is so much learning and adapting happening at the moment that we sense some fatigue happening. Words like ‘pivot’, ‘evolve’, ‘innovate’ and ‘accelerate’ have become part of our everyday language. As coaches we are really aware that this is such an important time for people’s career and wellbeing.
How can we ensure that we are building strong and healthy work-place cultures and connected communities? What can we do to support families? If you are a leader or someone blessed with employment and financial stability, consider how you could take someone with you. If you’re winning at life, have good momentum or wisdom to share, now is a great time to pay it forward.
While mentoring has been around since ancient Greece and the time of Odysseus (he left his son under the care of Mentor while he went on his Odyssey), it has expanded to involve three different areas: peer, career and life. Anthony Tjan, a CEO of a Boston venture capital firm and author of Good People emphasises in a TEDx talk why it’s essential for quality leaders to be mentors.
In this rapidly changing time of globalisation and changes in response to the pandemic, learning and sharing knowledge is highly valued. Investing in the development of others is beneficial, and not just to the mentee as once assumed.
- To the organisation: increase retention rates, promote the development of leaders, demonstrate a commitment to staff, develop a learning culture, reduce the cost of learning, foster diversity.
- To the mentee: they become more likely to advance their career, gain valuable knowledge, increase job satisfaction, develop confidence, grow their network, and have access to a confidential sounding board.
- To the mentor: they also experience more progress, improve leadership skills, increase confidence, have greater fulfilment, and contribute to the development of colleagues.
Curious about moving forward? Here are 4 ways to take someone with you:
- Look for someone under the radar who has potential in your workplace, the person who is not on a talent development program but works hard and demonstrates a commitment to growth.
- Ask your network if there’s anyone they know who could benefit from your background and experience. People love to connect people.
- Approach a charity, community group or industry that you are passionate about and offer your services.
- Talk to your People department. Platforms similar to dating services have developed algorithms to match mentors with mentees. Numerous organisations also run matching programs.
Keep in mind that you do not need to be an expert or above a certain age. The stereotypical image of a wise old person mentoring a young person has been replaced by mutually beneficial relationships involving organised catch-ups online or in person, clear rules of engagement, including honesty, mentee preparation, the expectations and commitment, goals, and progress. In a study of 100 mentor-mentee relationships to determine what makes mentorship work, First Round Review developed ten rules to guide this relationship, and the first rule is to avoid using the word ‘mentor’ at all, despite the documented benefits of such a relationship.
Here at The Coach Place we have been approached by many organisations asking us for mentoring services, both paid and unpaid. There are differences, however, between coaching and mentoring. Mentoring is about answering questions, giving advice, teaching, nurturing wisdom, and sharing experiences. Coaching, on the other hand, aims to improve wellbeing and / or performance, involves asking LOTS of questions, explores values and beliefs, and is focused on setting goals and creating game-plans. The coach isn’t necessarily experienced in whatever field the client works in either.
There are lots of ways to take people with you, besides mentoring. Recommend and advocate for people you trust. Give someone else your good idea. Give an opportunity to someone. If you are invited to an awesome event, ask if you can take a guest. The rewards are numerous and worth the effort, for the recipient as well as for you.
- The Coach Place Global team.
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