How mentoring can help you excel
You may wonder, if you know our team well, why I am writing this when we have the King of Coaching and Mentoring, Mr. Graham Ravenscroft, in our midst. Well truth is, I wanted to talk about how I as a manager in the business working with him (and others with a similar mindset) has changed my outlook on mentoring in the workplace and the difference it has made to me.
I was probably a little old fashioned in my approach some years ago. I always spent time to train and ensure my team skill set was right for the job in hand. But I never really though more about what else I could do. I was always happy to pitch in, never asked people to do anything I wouldn’t do, would answer a thousand questions and gave as much time as needed to ensure they knew about procedures and ‘how’ to do a job. But in more recent years I’ve asked the question: “is that enough?”
Mentoring always seemed to me to be something for business owners, directors and possibly students. A mentor to create the next company leader; someone to guide others to the top. So if we did this for senior roles, why not everyone? Shouldn’t we all have the opportunity to have guidance from someone who may have a wider knowledge base or guidance for us?
So let’s roll this back. What is the difference between a coach and a mentor? Well, generally coaches develop skills whereas a mentor is more about development. Their purpose is to help support an individual’s path to success, not just for their current role, but for their future. They may not just look at their role, but also their work life balance, desires, personal confidence, self-perception and much more. If we did this for our team members, what could they achieve? May we find our next leader under our nose? Surely this would make succession planning easier and help retain our skilled and talented staff.
So my thought is this: you care about your work and your business. Apply that same care to your team. Know what inspires them and where they want to be. Nurture your relationship with them and work with them. As their mentor you can not only help them to grow and develop but also support them through their journey.
And remember, a mentor does not have to be a manager. Some companies are now looking at reverse mentoring, where junior staff are mentoring senior roles in areas where they may have more experience.
Embrace the responsibility
Basically, to succeed we need to understand and embrace mentoring as a responsibility of all managers, set a good example, and take time out of your day to communicate and listen to your team. But remember to be clear about what both parties expectations are, what is expected on them and what they both hope to achieve. We can only measure the success of the mentoring process if we know what success looks like. So be clear what you want, consider the perfect outcome and them take time to review regularly so you know you are on the right path.
Mentoring can be an opportunity for both parties to learn and share wisdom. None of us should ever stop learning.
Finally, if this all sounds exciting, but you have no idea where to start, we can help. As I said we have a fantastic coach and mentor on the team. We also have HR and business mentors, who have helped people through a variety of changes and developments in their business. Have a look on our website or call us to see how he can help.