Mentoring plays a crucial role for a successful talent management. Used in the right way, it lays the foundation for highly committed new leaders. However, mentoring can only work if certain basic tactical prerequisites are observed. First of all, it is important to find the perfect match of mentor and mentee, to make sure they are well prepared, and to support them with regard to their first meeting, when they should define together the process as well as the guidelines and principles that suit them. Furthermore, it is essential in this initial phase that both parties clearly specify what they expect from the coming relationship. The HR department can occasionally provide guidance and support for the process.
The fresh perspective of the mentee
It has proven successful that the mentee structures the process and is involved in planning the development. Active listening, well-prepared questions for the meetings, and a subsequent summary of the results lead to a high level of involvement in the mentoring process. Someone who uses mentoring should be willing to accept feedback and be challenged. Then they will particularly benefit from the professional and personal support as well as from the wealth of experience of their mentor. In the best case, they will gain permanent support for a long-term career within the company.
However, the role of the mentee is also to question and analyse with an open mind existing ways of working, possibly to bring in and share other references, without losing track of their own development.
Communicator, career coach, promoter: the roles of the mentor
In addition to integrating the mentee and promoting a deeper understanding of the corporate culture and structure, the mentor offers support and asks the right questions at the right time to stimulate thought processes in their counterpart. Their critical view of the gap between experience and skills is an important driver for the mentee. The mentor supports strategic thinking, reveals different options, and helps the mentee to set goals and make informed decisions. In this connection, the mentee should be allowed to speak to their mentor in confidence at any time. As a career coach, the mentor also acts as a potential role model. With the help of the mentor, the mentee can establish contacts in the company and expand their network.
Well-managed mentoring: a win-win situation
Experience shows that, if the above conditions are met, the mentor-mentee relationship will be positively challenging and enriching for both parties. Leaders and top management pass on knowledge and experience, are involved in the development of talent, and can further develop their own leadership skills. The fresh perspective of their mentee enriches their daily work and expands the company’s international network. Many examples from my practice and current research prove the positive effects of this fruitful concept.
I’d be delighted if the second blog post on the topic of “mentoring” in my talent management series has given you a few exciting ideas for your company. Please, get in touch, should you have further questions.
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