Mentoring:  A way to excellence


By

KP Kanchana
Faculty HR
ICFAI National Collge
Bhopal
 


"Trust is not a matter of technique, but of character; we are trusted because of our way of being, not because of our polished exteriors or our expertly crafted communications." --Marsha Sinetar

Companies are looking for better ways to develop the talents they owe while simultaneously creating value. Companies can optimize their social capital through a robust system of thought partnerships, which have as their goal shared learning and collaborative problem solving in the service of the enterprise.

One technique for supporting thoughts partnerships and developing leaders at every level is Mentoring. It's a technique in which a person wishing to learn (Protégé) accompanies observes and collaborates with the Mentor, while mentor is employing their expertise on a value producing assignment.

The Definition of Mentoring

Mentoring is derived from a Greek word meaning long term, permanent. It's a relationship between an adult, experienced, a learned, role model, or mentor, to the protégés to offer support guidance and assistance as he undergoes difficult situations, faces new challenges or new work.  A mentor has knowledge and experience in an area and shares it with the person being mentored.

History

The roots of the word "mentor" trace back to the Greek Odyssey. Mentor was the teacher in whose care Odysseus left his son, Telemachus, when he set out on his voyages. Mentor was actually the goddess Athena, in the guise of a mortal man. In its original meaning, a mentor is a teacher.

Types of Mentoring

1.Natural mentoring - Natural mentoring occurs through friendship, collegiality, teaching, coaching, and counseling

2. Planned mentoring -Planned mentoring occurs through structured programs in which mentors and protégées are selected and matched through formal processes.

Why Mentoring

Mentoring can be considered as important for career-building.  Mentors can help new managers to learn the processes in complex organizations. They provide them the guidance as to how to tackle the problems that come on their way while performing and supports protégés during times of personal or social stress and provides guidance for decision making..

Mentors help in the development of the careers of protégés, while providing them the critical points, strategies and guidelines. This helps the protégés to go higher in the ladder of success and helps the mentors to build up their own position and rapport in the organization.

Mentoring programs helps in serving the three broad purposes:

  • Educational or academic mentoring -- helps protégés in improving their academics.
  • Career mentoring -- helps protégés in developing the necessary skills to enter into career or to continue on a career path.
  • Personal development mentoring -- supports protégés during times of personal growth and development and in stressful situation and provides guidance for decision making.

According to Quinton Studer, President of Baptist Hospital, Inc., of  Pensacola, Florida, "the number one thing companies that don't want to spend money on is middle management development." How employees feel about their organization is profoundly influenced by how they feel about their boss. When they have a boss who is respectful, inspiring and appreciative, its hard not to be loyal. Thus, management development is a wise investment for any organization seeking to maximize their ability to attract and retain the best of the best.

HR manager can help their organization to become a talent magnet by helping management. Talent Magnet organizations don't assume that what they are doing is working but is constantly engaged in conversations with their workforce through employee satisfaction surveys, suggestion boxes, company wide meetings, focus groups and informal conversations. They create a culture in the organization where the employees feel safe to voice their concerns.

The roles of the protégés and mentor vary, depending upon the student's level of experience and competency.

1. Novice
-  The protégé is a naïve participant with little or no context for understanding the learning activities. In this case the protégées take the opportunity to do the ground work, research, make network and develop strategies which are shared with the mentor for the instructions. The mentors gains the basic understanding of the knowledge of the protégés, what the protégés knows and what he doesn't know.

2. Experienced – The protégés with some experience should be entrusted with more responsibility for contributing constructively for the organization. The mentor watches the work efforts and keeps a track on the learning needs of the protégés. He evaluates the protégés knowledge and list down the areas of weakness.

3. The Accomplish Person –  The protégé has capability but can still be further refined and developed with additional mentoring. The role of the mentor is more passive. The mentor can guide the protégé by probing and playing the role of a curious friend, identifying what has been missed and what has to be enhanced.

There are no shortcuts for creating high performance organizations if employees at every level of the organizations take personal interest for creating successful outcomes. Expertise is shared as a means to create successful organization. In mentoring both mentor and protégés are accountable for learning. The protégés is responsible for his own personal growth and the mentor is responsible for facilitating success in a climate of excellence.

The success of the mentoring depends upon the mentor and the protégés.

There are certain qualities of a mentor which makes him to gain reputation and makes him effective.

1. The good mentor is committed to the role of mentoring.
2. The good mentor is a model of continuous learning
3. The good mentor is accepting of the beginning teacher.
4. The good mentor communicates hope and optimism.
 


KP Kanchana
Faculty HR
ICFAI National Collge
Bhopal
 

Source: E-mail May 24, 2006

     

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