Mentoring is a process where a trained individual offers advice, support and guidance to an individual or a group so that it can help in their learning and development process. The mentor acts as a guide, advisor or a counsellor and shares his knowledge, experiences and skills with a trainee or a junior within agreed bounds so that the words of wisdom can help in the professional career.
It can be both short-term and long-term commitment as it depends entirely on the reason for the mentorship.
Techniques of Mentoring
Mentoring is a voluntary arrangement where both the mentor and the mentee are eager to build a viable relationship. The numerous mentoring techniques used by a mentor are described below
1. Group mentoring technique
This type of mentoring procedure involves the participation of one or more than one mentor for a group of mentees. Schools generally encourage group mentoring as there is not enough time and resources for undertaking a one-on-one mentoring program for all the children.
2. Peer Mentoring technique
In this mentoring technique a peer addresses an individual or a group by sharing his experience so that it can help others to make necessary adjustments
3. One-on-one mentoring technique
In this type of mentoring only the mentor and mentee are involved. The young mentee works with an experienced individual and gains from his wisdom and know-how.
4. E-mentoring technique
With advancements in technology, the mentorship programs have also undergone a revamp. It is now possible to participate in the e-mentoring method by connecting virtually without even losing the personal touch.
5. Speed mentoring technique
The speed mentoring technique is usually followed during events and conference where the mentee has the chance to interact with several mentors in short time
6. Formal mentoring technique
The formal mentoring technique includes structured programs that offer accountability based on the formal contract between the mentor and mentee. It helps to boost confidence among the mentees and increase their performance levels.
7. Informal mentoring technique
This type of mentoring technique lacks a proper structure. It tends to be voluntary without any pressure of doing something in a set manner. Mentees seem to develop a strong connection with their mentor during the informal mentoring
8. Training-based mentoring technique
In this type of mentoring technique, a mentor is assigned explicitly to a mentee. He assists in developing the required competencies, skills and knowledge in a specific field in which the mentee has enrolled himself.
The characteristics of mentoring are as follows-
- An essential characteristic of a mentoring program is the level of mutual trust and respect between the mentor and the mentee
- It is a systematic and ongoing process that builds a partnership between the involved parties
- Effective communication is a necessity if the mentorship program is to be successful
- Mentor, his way of thinking, grasping and partaking information is an essential characteristic of any mentoring program.
- Two essential characteristics of an excellent mentoring program are confidence and self-esteem in the mentor.
The advantages of mentoring are as follows-
1. Motivational tool
The benefit of mentoring is that it acts as a motivational tool and helps the employees in taking firm decisions.
A suitable mentoring program helps a business entity to identify and select candidates that are apt for the position
3. Building relationship
Mentoring helps the mentees to build a strong relationship in the organization. He gets the opportunity to interact with an experienced employee from the workplace, and this helps in his learning
4. Instant feedback
The mentorship program helps the employees to get instant feedback on their performance, attitude, level of commitment and various other factors
It offers exposure to new ways of thinking and new mindset and ideas
6. Proper guidance
The mentees receive the necessary guidance on professional advancement and development that helps them to overcome weakness and improve their strengths.
An excellent mentoring program is a blessing as it assists the mentees in gaining due recognition and visibility in the organization. They can take the help of the contacts provided by their mentor to increase their circle of acquaintances
8. New opportunities
There are new opportunities for the mentees where they can develop their skills and boost their know-how. Being mentored is a privilege that everyone does not have. The support and encouraged broadens horizons and instils self-confidence.
- Mentoring is a two-way street where the beneficiaries are both the involved parties the mentor and the mentee.
- The mentor achieves personal satisfaction by sharing his skills and know-how with a willing individual.
- He gains recognition as a viable leader and expert, and this boosts his professional credibility in the organization
- While mentoring, the mentor comes to know about the ideas and concepts of the new generation. He gains a fresh perspective that helps him in personal growth
- The mentor gets an opportunity to reflect on his practices and goals and make changes in his life if necessary
- Every individual is different, and when the mentor comes into contact with the mindset of diverse mentees, he can regroup and develop the most suitable coaching and mentoring style
- Mentoring for a mentor is an extension of his professional development record
For the Organization:
- The concept of mentoring is beneficial for the organization as well, and this is why they encourage their experienced performers to take emerging talent under their wing. This keeps the senior employees engaged and energized.
- The critical and essential skills that an employee possess passes down to another employee in the same organization, and it is an advantageous situation for the company
- Mentoring helps to create future experts in specific fields that prove a boon for the company
- Mentoring helps to develop, retain and engage performers within the company
- It helps to boost the morale of the employees
- Mentoring motivates mentees to enhance the level of their performance and boosts the productivity of the company
- The organizations which encourage mentoring have a better chance of improving the leadership qualities and coaching skills of their employees
- Mentoring improves the attitude and behaviour of the workforce in the organization
- Mentoring assist the employees in effectively dealing with internal politics by stabilizing the gossips
- Mentoring gives new employees the necessary time to become familiar with the culture and ethics of the workplace.
The disadvantages of mentoring are as follows-
1. Feeling of resentment –
If the mentoring is not voluntary, then the mentor might have a feeling of resentment because he has to undertake additional responsibilities. This might prove harmful for the mentee as he might be on the line of fire and will have to bear the brunt of the mentor’s displeasure
2. Create conflict
The organization takes the help of several mentors, and this can ultimately cause conflict and create loyalty issues.
3. Issues with dependence –
There is a high probability that new employees in the organization will become highly dependent on their mentor’s support and advice and that it will become problematic for them to walk unaided later on. When such a situation occurs, it is the organization that suffers as it hampers its level of efficiency and productivity.
Moreover, the workers will continue to struggle and without mentor will not be able to handle the pressure of the workplace
4. Additional expenses and loss of time –
Mentorship program costs time, effort and money and is often an additional expense that nobody wants to bear.
Types of Mentors
Finding the right mentor is scary as well as an exciting prospect. It is essential first to look inwards and know what you want because the idea is to find someone that will suit your personal needs and requirements.
Mentoring relationships are extremely personal and dynamic, and the various types of mentors that can prove a blessing are as follows-
1. Peer Mentor
A peer mentor is a co-worker with similar responsibility levels but has the necessary zeal and ability to help other employees who are working with him.
2. Reverse Mentor
In reverse mentoring the mentor is not the senior-most person in the organization, but he is an expert in his field.
3. Traditional Mentor
He is an older or senior individual within the company who has the necessary experience to guide the younger lot in their initial years.
4. Practical Mentor
A practical mentor is a person who you seek knowingly because you know that he might have the solution for your problem or issue. His emotional intelligence and pragmatic advice can prove a blessing in solving interpersonal issues within the company.
5. Coping Mentor
As the name suggests, the coping mentor helps the mentee in finding ways that will relive any stressful situation that he is facing at the workplace. They are good listeners whose pragmatic advice is often sound and practical.
6. Aspirational Mentor
In a company, there is always someone who has the qualities you admire. An aspirational mentor is a person who looks for inspiration so that you can emulate him by listening and watching to move forward in life.
7. Identity Mentor
Identity mentors help the mentee to learn about himself so that he can fit into a specific community easily. His advice and support are unconditional and helpful as he assists in understanding the circumstances of the actual world surrounding us.
Qualities of a good mentor
The qualities that make a good mentor ar as follows-
- Desire to pass on his skills, know-how and expertise
- Willingness to assist others in succeeding
- Willingness to receive and give feedback with enthusiasm
- Willingness to listen with patience
- Desire to motivate others
- Willingness to work with others
- Willingness to learn and pass on the knowledge
- Willingness to engage with others on an interpersonal level
- Commitment to the professional growth of the mentees
- Empathetic behaviour
- Ethical behaviour
- Strong initiative
- No bias
- The right amount of self-confidence to make a difference
- Common sense
- Leadership skills
- People management skills
- Communication skills
- Questioning and answering skills
- Realistic expectations
- Knowledge of a specific field
- Sensitivity towards the mentee’s situation
- Maintaining the levels of objectivity
Mentoring is all about empowering and motivating the mentee so that he can identify the issues and resolve them admirably as per his satisfaction
. It is not about holding his hands and taking him to the end post but showing him that different ways can help him to achieve his goals. Mentoring is not therapy or counselling but building a relationship for future growth.