The value of learning from someone who’s ‘been there, done that’ can’t be understated.
Pennington, NJ (PRWEB) June 27, 2013
Corporate mentoring is a hot topic, as reflected in a recent article in the Boston Globe that featured two executives weighing in on its value as well as its role in helping them be successful. Andrea Zintz, Ph.D., president of Strategic Leadership Resources, which provides high potential leadership development, has been a proponent of mentoring since choosing it as the topic for her dissertation, and she’s just released her thoughts on the value of corporate mentoring program.
“When correctly implemented, corporate mentoring programs can provide a significant benefit both to the parties involved and their organization,” Zintz says. “The value of learning from someone who’s ‘been there, done that’ can’t be understated, especially since the best mentors are often proactive and creative people who are well-suited to serve in this role as models, sounding boards, guides, and other advisory positions.”
Zintz notes that by matching people with a good deal of experience with those who are “greener,” corporate mentoring programs typically seek to offer mentees the opportunity to:
- Become familiar with the organization
- Develop their skills
- Learn how to navigate office politics
In addition, she believes, mentors may end up serving as sponsors for mentees interested in having the chance to stretch themselves by participating in specific projects or on special teams. This supports the over-arching goal of many corporate mentoring programs, which is to build bench strength by readying less experienced employees for higher-level positions.
“One of the most critical components of a corporate mentoring program is the matching process. Most successful pairings are based on commonalities, since people with vast differences aren’t apt to be able to develop the appropriate relationship,” Zintz says. “In particular, the mentee has to want to learn from the mentor, and the mentor must like and feel invested in the mentee’s growth and success. When the opposite is true, meetings may be few and far between, and the relationship will inevitably starve.”
Zintz suggests a good way to ensure strong pairings is to provide participants with some degree of choice as well as an opportunity to get to know one another. After this probationary period, mentors and mentees can choose to move ahead if they find the partnership mutually satisfying.
While mentor-mentee sessions aren’t scripted, Zintz says good corporate mentoring programs will provide some structure for the relationship in the form of mentor and mentee training. The former offers mentors pointers on how to serve productively in what’s often a new role, along with messages to get across, and tools they can access to assist in a successful relationship. The latter ensures mentees understand how to appropriately use their mentors and get the most from the experience.
“The best corporate mentoring programs will have measures in place to evaluate success, which will be dependent on the specific goals the company is trying to achieve,” Zintz says. “For example, interns might be provided with mentors to help them learn the ropes, so gaining skills will be the goal, while other mentoring pairs might be focused on supporting inclusion to reach diversity goals, or preparing employees for specific responsibilities.”
Corporate mentoring programs have constant value, especially when they’re integrated with executive development programs, but Zintz notes they can be particularly helpful when used to:
- Support successful adaptation during transitions
- Foster dialogue about ongoing issues or challenges
- Gain helpful perspectives
Most corporate mentoring programs have a finite timeline, anywhere from six months to a year, but their effect can be ongoing. Research on the impact of successful formal mentoring programs shows that former mentors naturally incorporate mentoring behavior with their direct reports. Additionally, in many cases the mentor-mentee relationship will convert to informal status once the formal period has concluded, with “graduates” adding their former mentors to their developmental networks and continuing to benefit from their ability to provide a gateway to other valuable connections.
About Strategic Leadership Resources
Strategic Leadership Resources is a leadership development firm made up of professionals who know what it’s like to lead organizations. Our counsel comes from years of field experience and best practices. We offer executive coaching, leadership alignment facilitation, and mentoring programs. Although we have developed a number of unique and proprietary approaches and tools, we are not bound by any single methodology or way of working. To learn about more about SLR, visit http://www.strategicleadershipresources.com/