Dr. Heena Bulchandani
Managers play a key role in contributing towards organizational objectives. They direct, guide, supervise, instruct, motivate and influence employees’ actions and behavior. They perform various management functions such as planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting and budgeting.
Today’s organizations are global organizations as they continuously interact with the external environment, are affected directly or indirectly by political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal aspects that affect an organization. Moreover, global organizations face key issues and challenges pertaining to sustainability, excellence, quality and productivity in order to achieve competitive advantage.
All of this and much more demands managers to move out of their traditional roles and functions and focus on inspiring individual development, facilitate excellence & build and retain talent; manager’s mentoring can augment the organization’s prospect for global success. Mentoring is not an easy competency to develop, managers who are good as leaders may not succeed as a mentor.
Mentoring defined- Various definitions have been provided on this. “Mentoring is a long-term relationship that meets a development need, helps develop full potential and benefits all partners, mentor, mentee and the organization” – Suzanne Faure.
Mentoring is about forging a relationship where a more experienced and knowledgeable individual provides guidance, support and advice to a less experienced individual who is at an earlier stage in their career. (Reference: Clutterbuck, 2006; Klasen & Clutterbuck, 2002; Parsloe & Wray, 2000.)
“Mentoring is a supportive learning relationship between a caring individual who shares knowledge, experience and wisdom with another individual who is ready and willing to benefit from this exchange, to enrich their professional journey.” – Suzanne Faure. (Ref: www.coachingnetwork.org.uk/informationportal/Articles/ViewArticles.asp?artId=54)
Rapid changes have occurred in the workplace such as globalization, technological advancement, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, innovation, excellence and changing employee expectations. All these and much more demand that the employees are nurtured and groomed appropriately in the organization.
Mentoring program serves as an important tool in achieving the organization and employee objectives if the mentoring programs are well developed and aligned with organization practices and culture.
Benefits of Mentoring Program-
- Promotes a more clear understanding of professional responsibilities and expectations.
- Result in improved employee job performance, contribute to faster learning curves, and result in a better trained staff.
- Promote Knowledge Sharing culture.
- Show improved results in Employee Satisfaction indices.
- Increase employee commitment and loyalty.
- Reduce employee turnover.
- Promote a positive image of the organization and reflects employee-centered values.
Benefits to Mentees:
- Promotes a professional relationship that fosters guidance and support during the mentee’s development
- Better understanding as he / she becomes familiar with a new role, increased responsibilities, or a new organizational culture.
- Enhance mentees’ abilities to balance new responsibilities.
- Promotes networking and visibility.
- Enhance competencies of the mentee and strengthen interpersonal skills.
- Reflects the mentee’s commitment to personal and professional growth
- Increased motivation
Overall – The support and guidance provided enables the mentee to develop more holistic insights into their skills and aptitudes and take responsibility for their own development.
Benefits to Mentors:
- Enhances the leadership, teaching and coaching skills of mentors and encourages them to become more reflective practitioners.
- Provides intrinsic satisfaction by helping an emerging professional develop to his / her potential.
- Demonstrates professionalism and a commitment to personal and professional development of self and colleagues.
- Promotes the professional recognition of mentors for their commitment to developing the talents of new professionals.
- Immense satisfaction from helping another person grow.
It is very important that we select the right employees as Mentors as they will serve as organizational ambassadors. The organization should put a criteria for selection of mentors, a criteria that enables the most appropriate people to come on board. Further, a training should be provided to both the mentors and mentees so as to understand the program, process and expectations of the program, to know their role and responsibility. At the end of the program duration, we need to seek the feedback of both the mentees and mentors. Last but not the least, the program should ensure that the mentors are recognized for their contribution to the program.
(Source- The Manager as a Mentor, Michael J. Marquardt and Peter Loan and author’s own experiences)