Mentoring is a fantastic method of improving career development. It can help employees achieve great results, improving job satisfaction and increasing career opportunities. It can also enable businesses to increase productivity and retention.
Many businesses are now using mentoring schemes to help develop the careers of their employees. It can be hugely beneficial, improving both business performance and reputation as well as enabling individuals to pursue fulfilling and rewarding careers.
Without a mentor, an individual can start to feel lost within their career and perhaps lose some control over their career development. This can lead to a decrease in job satisfaction and increased stress at work. The worst-case scenario may be that the employee leaves the organisation feeling negative about both their employer and career.
The use of a mentor can be such a simple and effective way of preventing occurrences of this worst-case scenario. A mentor can really help individuals to maintain control of their careers whilst improving their performance and skills.
You may be thinking that this sounds similar to coaching but it does differ in that the mentor is a trusted adviser and teacher with experience in a specific field and knowledge of a particular organisation whereas a coach uses an objective process to enable an individual to achieve goals and overcome challenges they face. In fact, coaching and mentoring can really complement each other.
Who should be my mentor?
A mentor must be a more experienced colleague who is willing to share their skills, knowledge and experience to assist the career development of others. In choosing the right one for you, ensure they have relevant experience that will be of benefit to you. It is also important that you feel you are able to trust and respect their advice. Your mentor should not be your line manager as your manager will have expectations of what you should do and may not allow for opportunities to broaden your thinking in an open and honest way.
Another important consideration is the network of your mentor. Do they have a wide circle of contacts and will they be open to introducing you to new contacts? Networking is of course another great way to advance career development.
If your organisation does not have a mentoring scheme, perhaps talk to your line manager about the possibilities of you having a mentor. Discuss some of the benefits as outlined above as well as showing how it demonstrates your commitment to your career development and performance.
Mentoring is a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee and schemes should be implemented in all organisations to ensure success against competitors in this tough economic climate.