HR

Mentoring in the company, i.e. the way straight to the goal

We live in constant change – this sentence is actually a truism today. However, can leaders and managers manage it effectively? According to a Gartner study, nearly 30% of HR leaders say that both the management board and line managers do not have the appropriate competences to manage change. Almost half of the respondents also admitted that employees feel tired (fatique) with changes and new challenges. So the question arises: what to do to build a competently strong leadership division and support managers in their daily work? One of the increasingly popular answers is mentoring. Find out what mentor support is and what the organizations that implement mentoring programs “win”.

From this text you will learn:

  • What is the Mentor’s support and what is his role,
  • What does the cooperation with an external mentor look like?
  • What is an internal mentoring program in an organization,
  • What are the pros and cons of each solution,
  • What are the benefits of mentor support: individual and organizational level

Leader Challenges – an endless list

The challenges related to management are enormous, responsibility is often overwhelming, and competences (especially if we are promoted from a specialist position) are insufficient. What does it look like in the daily life of a leader?

Check if any of the descriptions below describe you or the leaders in your organization.

New position and building authority

Do you remember the thrilling thrill of a new challenge? Goose bumps, awakening enthusiasm and typically childish joy at the mere mention of a new position? It is so often. It also happens that less enthusiastic thoughts appear in a moment. You feel overwhelmed and even terrified by the specter of new duties, the need to master completely different tasks, managing the work of the team, and the prospect of developing a position in the new structure. Your self-confidence flies away, but there comes a moment of doubt in your skills and experience. What if they don’t want to listen to you? If you don’t build the right position, authority? What if you can’t handle it?

Conflict management and defining your own role

Another conflict in the team. It is difficult for you to work out a compromise and reconcile different views. You feel that you are losing control of the situation and… your emotions. You need support, clash your perspective with another, learn the opinion of someone more experienced. Do you doubt your position in the organization? You don’t know what your role is, don’t you identify with the strategy? After all, you were the right person in the right place! The management trusts you, entrusts you with responsible tasks, and you cannot find yourself in it and you feel disheartened.

Leader-owner or maybe a successor?

You run your own business and you don’t know whether you are making good decisions and whether the chosen path will lead you to your goal. You get lost in your plans and visions, it is difficult for you to define your future, you do not feel your own agency, and yet you have to keep managing everything. Are you supposed to take over the business and you are overwhelmed by the role of a successor? Nobody has taught you how to be a leader, how to manage, lead employees, win and retain customers, and the company (and all that responsibility) falls on you like a bolt from the blue.

Not sure what to do? I have good news – in all these situations, the support of an experienced Mentor may prove invaluable.

Mentor – guide, sage, or maybe a companion?

What is mentoring? It is a development process carried out in the form of a partnership between the mentor and his mentee, which aims to raise awareness and maximize the potential of the mentee. Both sides benefit from this cooperation: both the student and the teacher. An effective mentor inspires the mentee to look for their own solutions and develop their own way of looking at problems and challenges. Mentor’s support in the professional context is not only a supplement to training or other forms of improvement – it is one of the most effective development tools.

When talking about mentoring, I often emphasize that in this form of development we work on resources, details and constructive feedback. We don’t judge people, and if we want or need to judge something – it’s specific behavior. It is Mentee who is the author and designer of the solution, there is no place for “uncle or aunt good advice”. The goals of Mentee, i.e. the mentee, are realized and it is he / she who brings to the session what he / she wants to work on. In mentoring, we do not try to force the mentee away from reaching his / her goal and prevent a possible mistake. We also do not want to impose our opinions and beliefs. We support our way to ourselves and in appropriate activities, which is not always tantamount to showing the path strewn with roses.

Mentoring – the balance of benefits

The longer I work as an HR consultant and mentor, I can see how mentoring is a powerful tool to support employee development. I believe that each of us knows (it does not mean that we are aware of it) the answer to the question about our values ​​and goals. I also know that you can discover them faster or slower, and get to your destination in a relatively straightforward way, or wander around the hedges. Thanks to mentoring, you can go faster and, in addition, straight to the goal. This formula of development gives amazing benefits. One-on-one strategic work allows for an individual approach to working with Mentee – the Mentor is 100% focused on the goals of the person he is working with. This is a concrete solution because it allows you to get practical tips, helps to set the right path to the goal and allows you to benefit from the Mentor’s experience. Mentoring provides a protective umbrella, because it is not only knowledge and competence development, but also taking care of emotions, the possibility of venting tension in a crisis, looking at yourself from a bird’s eye view. What exactly can you gain thanks to the Mentor’s support?

  • Individualized mentoring process enables faster assimilation of the necessary knowledge, translating it into effective solutions and accurate decisions,
  • The mentor actively participates in the life of the Mentee, using his own experience, success stories and lessons learned from failure. It allows Mentee to look at different options and choose your own solution.
  • Mentoring supports Mentee’s activities – not only at the professional and substantive level, but also at the level of interpersonal competences.
  • Cooperation with the Mentor within the organization supports the attitude of knowledge sharing, promotes and strengthens a development-oriented culture and building proactive attitudes.
  • Mentoring also reduces the leader’s feeling of loneliness. It gives a place for the exchange of thoughts, sparring experiences, sincere and constructive feedback. The mentor offers H2H support – presence, accompaniment, mindfulness and empathy.

Mentoring program: two paths

Mentoring has many names and the choice of the appropriate path depends largely on the needs of the entire organization, but also individual employees / leaders. There are two options. The company may decide to hire an external mentor who will carry out the entire mentoring process, from start to finish. And if there are resources for this, it is worth considering creating an internal mentoring process based on the experiences of employees. How are these paths different and what are the benefits or risks?

Support from an external mentor

It is a solution in which interested parties (leader / employee or organization) turn to a Mentor or a company offering mentoring support. The mentor, as a person from outside the organization, begins the mentoring process by learning about the Mentee’s situation. It collects information, explores and analyzes it in a broad context. He is an outsider, so it is easier for him to keep his distance and not give in to his own prejudices.

Choosing an external mentor has its pros and cons.

Pros:

  • An External Mentor who is not from the same industry or who knows it only partially is an opportunity to look more broadly. Going beyond the usual patterns, getting to know examples from other organizations, fields, bringing freshness and novelty.
  • The fact that he is a person from outside the organization gives comfort to Mentee, who may be more willing to open up and work on his weaknesses without fear.

Minuses:

  • The external mentor is – as the name suggests – from outside the organization. He does not know well the principles of the organization’s functioning, its organizational culture, context, rules. In a word: it is not “inside”. This information must know, thanks to Mentee.

Internal mentoring program in the company

Can the leaders, experts or managers in the organization themselves become Mentors for others? They can! If they are experienced (not only professionally but also in life), they like people and want to share their knowledge, they are a great “material” for internal Mentors. And if, in addition, the assessments show that employees in the organization want to develop and need mentoring support – the ideal solution will be to create an internal mentoring program. In this situation, the external Mentor conducts only a series of trainings for selected internal Mentors – shows them how to effectively work with a Mentee and what to avoid in such a relationship, and Mentee to familiarize them with the principles of the mentoring process. This solution has both benefits and threats:

Benefits:

  • The internal mentoring program allows you to combine the experience of older employees with the enthusiasm and motivation to work of young people. The benefits are mutual: both Mentors and Mentees learn from each other and develop.
  • Valuable knowledge stays in the organization and is constantly “circulated”. It is easier for young people to understand processes in the company when they hear how they were created from people who implemented them themselves. Older people can learn new technologies, for example. The possibility of consulting your actions with a Mentor who knows the industry and company strengthens the sense of security.
  • The organizational structure is flattening: young people have direct access to older, more experienced leaders, cooperate more often and build their position together.

Threats:

  • Lack of clearly defined rules can lead to abuses, favoring “your” Mentees or competition between Mentors. They should not be their immediate superiors – preferably if the Mentor is someone higher or from another division.
  • Sometimes Mentee has a problem to open up one hundred percent to a person from his company. He is not able to 100% enter the mentoring process because he is concerned about the confidentiality of the talks.

Mentoring – a solution not only for the lost

Who will benefit most from the mentor’s support? The list is long, but my experience shows that it is connected by two factors: leadership positions and development orientation.

Mentoring in the company will be especially useful:

  • leaders and managers – regardless of the level in the organization,
  • HR Business Partner in HR Manager,
  • employees who make strategic decisions,
  • people who want to focus on their development, want to consciously manage their career, try to find themselves in a new situation or professional role,
  • business owners who want to clash their thoughts / visions with another, experienced person,
  • successors who have been selected to perform specific roles in the organization.

ROI from mentoring

The mentoring process is not only about personal benefits for Mentee. Organizations that invest energy and budget in building mentoring programs expect specific, measurable results. And the figures show that they are significant.

  • Mentoring helped develop careers 71 percent. employees who shared their experiences as part of the CNBC survey.
  • In organizations with mentoring programs, Mentees are promoted as many as 5! times more often than people who do not benefit from the support of mentors.
  • Thanks to mentoring at the management level, the diversity increased from 9 to as much as 24 percent.

So what does the organization gain? The leverage of growth in the form of a more committed and conscious leader who knows what his strengths and weaknesses are. He develops, his potential flourishes, and he goes further: confidently, in the direction he has chosen before, knowing that when another obstacle appears, he will not be alone with it. What does this mean for the organization? Mentee’s new competences translate into more efficient team management, more effective conflict resolution, the ability to detect them at an early stage and prevent them in the beginning. Going through the mentoring process strengthens our sense of agency, commitment and makes us more identifiable with the company’s goals. Not only the effectiveness of the leader, manager, HR Business Partner, but also the entire team increases. Not everything always happens “by itself”. People need a supportive environment, competences and removing obstacles. This is what mentoring in a company can be. It will not always be an easy path, because no change work is probably like that. Is it worth it? And is it worth asking rhetorical questions? 🙂

If you need and want to take advantage of mentoring to develop leadership potential in your organization – contact us.

WNCL – is a boutique consulting company specializing in strategic HR management. Thanks to his experience and knowledge, he provides business support in achieving the set goals in the area of people management. Designs and implements solutions that help companies of all sizes and from various industries to effectively solve business problems. The foundation of the WNCL brand and its mission is to change the world by implementing the best HR solutions, strengthening the organization and increasing the well-being of employees. The WNCL team consists of Iwona Wencel (founder and president), Piotr Cwalina (partner) and Anna Grzywaczyk (partner).

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