We are answering some Frequently Asked Questions about corporate mentoring on our blog space. If you have a questions that you would like to ask, please post it in the comments section or contact us.
FAQ: What are the benefits of mentoring?
Mentoring benefits the organization, mentors and mentorees. A successful mentoring program benefits your organization by:
- Enhancing strategic business initiatives
- Encouraging retention
- Reducing turnover costs
- Improving productivity
- Breaking down the "silo" mentality that hinders cooperation among company departments or divisions.
- Elevating knowledge transfer from just getting information and to retaining the practical experience and wisdom gained from long-term employees.
- Enhancing professional development.
- Linking employees with valuable knowledge and information to other employees in need of such information
- Using your own employees, instead of outside consultants, as internal experts for professional development
- Supporting the creation of a multicultural workforce by creating relationships among diverse employees and allowing equal access to mentoring.
- Creating a mentoring culture, which continuously promotes individual employee growth and development.
Mentors enjoy many benefits, including:
- Gains insights from the mentoree’s background and history that can be used in the mentor’s professional and personal development.
- Gains satisfaction in sharing expertise with others.
- Re-energizes the mentor’s career.
- Gains an ally in promoting the organization’s well-being.
- Learns more about other areas within the organization.
Mentorees enjoy many benefits, including:
- Gains from the mentor’s expertise
- Receives critical feedback in key areas, such as communications, interpersonal relationships, technical abilities, change management and leadership skills
- Develops a sharper focus on what is needed to grow professionally within the organization
- Learns specific skills and knowledge that are relevant to personal goals
- Networks with a more influential employee
- Gains knowledge about the organization’s culture and unspoken rules that can be critical for success; as a result, adapts more quickly to the organization’s culture
- Has a friendly ear with which to share frustrations as well as successes.
FAQ: What do you mean by “chemistry” and “compatibility?”
"Chemistry" is an intense, very personal feeling – an initial connection or attraction between two individuals that may develop into a strong, emotional bond. Unstructured and unpredictable, it is the basis for an informal mentoring relationship.
"Compatibility" occurs when individuals work together in harmony to achieve a common purpose. In formal mentoring, that means a more-seasoned person leading someone less experienced through a structured professional-development program in much the same way teachers facilitate learning.
FAQ: Are mentoring and coaching identical?
No. People often confuse mentoring and coaching. Though related, they are not the same. A mentor may coach, but a coach is not a mentor. Mentoring is “relational,” while coaching is “functional.” There are other significant differences.
- Coaching characteristics:
- Managers coach all of their staff as a required part of the job
- Coaching takes place within the confines of a formal manager-employee relationship
- Focuses on developing individuals within their current jobs
- Interest is functional, arising out of the need to ensure that individuals can perform the tasks required to the best of their abilities
- Relationship tends to be initiated and driven by an individual’s manager
- Relationship is finite - ends as an individual transfers to another job
- Mentoring characteristics:
- Takes place outside of a line manager-employee relationship, at the mutual consent of a mentor and the person being mentored
- Is career-focused or focuses on professional development that may be outside a mentoree’s area of work
- Relationship is personal - a mentor provides both professional and personal support
- Relationship may be initiated by a mentor or created through a match initiated by the organization
- Relationship crosses job boundaries
- Relationship may last for a specific period of time (nine months to a year) in a formal program, at which point the pair may continue in an informal mentoring relationship