The mark of a good leader is not just by how well he can manage an enterprise, but also how much he can inspire and motivate others to achieve their best selves, how he can truly lead others. Having a good mentoring culture is an extension of that.
Every organisation takes some or the other form of training and development initiatives. A good mentoring culture adds life to these programs. Why? Because in an environment that is intrinsically driven by continuous endeavour to get better, employees are automatically inclined to take learning seriously. Learning becomes self-motivated and thus, more effective.
Now, what does it take to have a good mentoring culture? Willingness. Yes. To achieve excellence in mentoring, leaders and senior managers must be willing to help out their juniors and subordinates, so that there is a formally charted out mentoring program that links mentors to mentees. These mentoring programs must be strategically linked to the organization’s business goals.
Look at it this way: an organization where everyone actively cares about career development will have employees who make conscious efforts to improve themselves. On the other hand mentors, out of achieving satisfaction of coaching genuinely interested people, will take greater interest in mentoring.
Before selecting a mentoring program, it is important to ask specific questions like:
What is the purpose of this mentoring program?
Who are the best people we can have on our mentoring panel?
What goals are we aiming for?
What are our budgetary and time constraints?
How do we evaluate the success of the program?
Besides these questions, it is also crucial that some form of training be imparted to mentors and mentees as a sort of warm up exercise. This goes a big way in setting expectations, roles and responsibilities. For example, mentors must be counseled to be better and active listeners in order that they are able to initiate and maintain a mutually satisfying relationship with their mentees. Moreover, networking should be promoted so that the organisation is one big network of healthy and developmental relationships.
Optimising training with a mentoring culture
Strong mentor-mentee relationships are a great way to deliver the most practical and relevant training to employees. Mentors, who are typically senior, experienced people can appropriately guide mentees about what they need to know besides the mandatory training they receive. And driven by faith, trust and self-motivation, employees do what they can to move up their career ladders, more so with the next-generation LMSs that can efficiently capture out-of-office learning too. The resultant organization is one where learning is seen more as a personality building activity rather than a compulsory one.