(NNPA) Business mentoring is the collaboration of transferring the experience, skill and knowledge from a proven specialist to a less experienced learner. For the purpose of business, mentoring supports the development of a worker’s skills, career, and personal growth. Often it is structured informally although most Fortune 500 and even small home-based companies offer some form of mentoring programs. Mentoring also enables the rapid transfer of legacy business advantages or cultural aspects cementing professional collaboration that foster greater productivity results.
Successful mentoring compliments Human Resources by improving management through personal career growth development that retains valuable employees. It offers greater access to established internal and external networks, broader personal and professional skills. The novice worker gains advice, and dynamic perspectives from the mentor’s years of experience. This often informal arrangement is cost effective and yields bottom line financial results.
Many types of mentoring exist. They include:
- Informal or natural mentoring, which occurs when a senior decides to take the less experienced worker under their wing for career and personal development. This method is cost effective particularly for small businesses.
- Situational mentoring occurs for a specific circumstance or project goal. These arrangements tend to be shorter-term focused on immediate solutions but can lead to more permanent career counseling measures.
- Positional is a formal provision involving a supervisor mentoring a novice worker. Most managers use this technique in team building efforts to enhance productivity. However, other team members (ex. sales/marketing) may criticize or perceive favoritism if one learner advances more rapidly than others.
- Formal mentoring programs are often used in large companies such as Intel, DuPont, Microsoft, Federal Express, AT&T, among others. This formal program is designed to promote and measure the career development of the learner for greater bottom line productivity results.
Mentors also benefit from these professional relationships strengthening their interpersonal skills, increasing awareness and insight into the business operations. Overall, the business benefits through better recruitment, orientation, and retention improving staff communications with faster learning across the board i.e. stronger organizational knowledge management.
The guidelines of the mentoring relationship should be openly discussed and understood by both parties. The feedback from the mentor to the novice learner should remain constructive and flexible enough for independent thinkers that generally are self-motivated. Successful mentoring efforts are learning tools enabling guidance for the novice worker. It should not be used to limit the innovative potential of the employee. Open dialogue approaches or mutual exchange of ideas through communication between the mentor and novice employee is critical.
The novice worker should be tolerant of constructive coaching from the mentor. The primary ingredients are listening and organizational aptitude with an eye towards future action plan implementation. The learner employee should be proactive in scheduling meetings with the mentor, arriving fully prepared. Such exchanges should incorporate clear objectives, answer relevant questions and lead to implementing new solutions.
The novice will actively follow up on any ideas generated sharing progress updates with the mentor. Both parties recognize the value of time by focusing on improving the bottom line financial results of the business.
Efforts to provide mentoring for all employees is difficult particularly, if it involves formal programs. The broader objectives of mentoring employees is often more effective for small – mid size businesses using an informal approach. Lose guidelines may add the ability to measure bottom line results while achieving career development for novice employees.
Strategic mentoring goals promote learning innovation and cost control awareness. Such career development programs give self-motivated employees a better sense of confidence and self worth through involvement in the organization. The supervisor mentor can efficiently monitor day-to-day conduct and culture adjusting productivity for better results. The successful mentor policy increases employee loyal consistently.
Ultimately, companies investing in such workforce learning programs are encouraging the value of human capital within the organization. This motivates valued employees and draws potential recruitment of high quality new workers. Fostering the knowledge based culture of collaboration translates itself into all aspects of the business from customer relationship management to advanced internal procedures. Loyal employees will independently promote new sales opportunities by speaking highly of the organization.
Regardless of the advanced technology or the size of the business from home-based to Fortune 500, the primary advantage of mentoring is developing people that generate high quality productivity through innovative means. During the lean economic conditions, companies are able to increase market share through internal cost controls and superior business relationships that impacts bottom line performance resulting in lucrative opportunities.
Farrah Gray is the author of The Truth Shall Make You Rich: The New Road Map to Radical Prosperity, Get Real, Get Rich: Conquer the 7 Lies Blocking You from Success and the international best-seller Reallionaire: Nine Steps to Becoming Rich from the Inside Out. He is chairman of the Farrah Gray Foundation. Dr. Gray can be reached via email at
or his web site at http://www.drfarrahgray.com/. •