In our post-pandemic world of work, managers need to adapt swiftly to new technologies and volatile markets. This means we need to be flexible, able to collaborate and share knowledge with colleagues, and quick to learn new ways of doing things. Mentoring and coaching can help the individual collate, absorb and process new perspectives and ideas.
Mentoring for development
Mentoring, where a senior or more experienced individual acts as an advisor, counsellor, or guide is a key tool in employee development. It helps build resilience in times of change, and enhances self-reliance and self-directed learning.
While mentoring has often been deployed as an internal initiative that can benefit both mentor and mentee, increasingly mentoring initiatives encourage the use of expert external mentors. This is, in part, because internal senior mentors tend not to have either the time or objectivity and independence to provide a sounding board for colleagues.
A mentor from outside the organisation can offer valuable insights and perspectives, while boosting retention and productivity. Mentoring tends to be less formal than coaching, and ideally it is collaborative with both parties having input on topics for discussion. At 10Eighty, we know from experience that in mentoring relationships the learning goes both ways.
The benefits of an external mentoring arrangement
- External mentors can be both independent and objective. They offer a different perspective and experience around the issues facing the mentee.
- There is a risk that internal mentoring programmes may under-deliver if the mentors themselves are very busy and
have other urgent demands on their time. As a result, programmes can lose momentum even after a promising start.
- To benefit fully from the programme, mentees need to be able to establish trust with their mentor. Trust can be harder to achieve in an internal programme, and even where it exists, mentees may still be wary about the confidentiality of
- External mentors can provide genuine and unadulterated feedback without any hidden agenda; so, mentees are far more likely to accept and benefit from it.
If the organisation cannot invest time and resources internally, external mentoring is a viable option. An external mentor brings a fresh perspective compared to an internal one, being from a different company and even industry. In addition, external mentors may provide a new approach and alternatives to the previously considered processes.
In terms of employee development, particularly for those readying themselves for a move into an executive or board level role, a mentor will help them become stronger,
empowered and more confident. In turn, this means they are better able to inspire, motivate and build a stronger team.
Spread the benefits
Employees who benefit from a mentoring arrangement will be better equipped to nurture and help others who are at lower levels of the business as a way of giving back. A successful mentoring programme creates a virtuous circle – cultivating in mentees a mindset that encourages them to work towards the professional development of their team, driving engagement, effectiveness and commitment.
For high-performance employees, external mentoring will afford them a personalised learning path which helps them identify opportunities to develop into future leaders, helping them find fulfilment in their career journey. Importantly, it creates a win-win situation: it aids retention of the organisation’s best people, so you keep knowledge and experience in-house while improving knowledge sharing, morale and communication skills.
Your top performers and those seeking to progress to the next level in their career may benefit from investing in the skills/ aptitudes they need. Mentoring can help with, among other things:
- Strategic awareness – are mentees able to focus on the bigger picture and able to identify new and significant business opportunities.
- Positive competitiveness, which drives the corporate agenda, not just the personal agenda.
- Cultural awareness and sensitivity –that demonstrates best practice and encourages and develops others.
- The achievement of continued excellence, on a larger scale and stage.
- Awareness of context and learning from previous experience.
- Change management and organisational transformation, building the ability to solve problems and set in motion forward-facing strategies.
Make the most of mentoring
10Eighty will launch a mentoring app in Q1 working in partnership with our associate Richard Class. We believe there are huge benefits of adopting a broad and deep mentoring programme which uses external expertise to frame and tailor the structure, combined with levering internal know-how to improve performance.
An external mentoring initiative will afford your organisation a range of benefits:
- Access to a pool of senior, experienced and independent mentors who will bring their combined expertise to deliver an effective programme.
- Experienced mentors with the time and experience to deliver the best results for mentees in a tailored, discreet and confidential mentoring relationship.
- Mentors are carefully selected for your organisation and the specifics of your programme.
- External mentors who are able to build trust with their mentees and act objectively.
- Mentors adept at identifying the developmental needs of their mentees, for example in coaching or in technical training.
- Access to a variety of online resources to support the mentoring via the app.