The past 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, whereas others have made a significant contribution to their communities. But some people are wearing out.
There's 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're 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 workplace cultures and connected communities? What can we do to support families? If you're 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 a 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: the only leadership decision that really matters, emphasises in a TEDx talk (18:13) 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 – More likely to advance their career, gain valuable knowledge, increase job satisfaction, develop confidence, grow their network, have access to a confidential sounding board.
- To the mentor – More progress, improve leadership skills, increase confidence, have greater fulfilment, contribute to the development of colleagues.
Curious about moving forward? Here are four ways to 'take someone with you':
- Look for someone 'under the radar' who has potential in your workplace – the person who's 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're passionate about and offer your services.
- Talk to your HR 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 don't need to be an expert or 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, honesty, mentee preparation, expectations and commitment, goals and progress. In a study of 100 mentor–mentee relationships to determine what makes mentorship work, First Round Review developed 10 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've 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, alternatively, 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're invited to an awesome event, ask if you can bring a guest. The rewards are numerous and worth the effort, for the recipient as well as for you.
– The Coach Place Global
This content is the intellectual property of The Coach Place Global and not for distribution or reproduction of any kind. For further detail please refer to our full terms and conditions.