Lehigh Hanson Canada Region's Commitment to Career Development
Mentoring has evolved. Most people still think of mentoring in a traditional way, as a tool for career advancement that only includes a one-to-one relationship between a hand-matched older mentor and younger mentee.
While traditional mentoring would have been used to groom someone for a specific job over the course of several years, modern mentoring is a collaboration and learning strategy that can help people gain skills and information they need in real-time so they can do their jobs better and learn about opportunities within the organization.
Modern mentoring reduces barriers between people and engages them in a broad, networked manner so that knowledge can flow to the point of need. As a result, networks tend to be informal and flexible in nature and are governed by reciprocity.
Mentors can provide employees with insight into areas of the business that the employee may not be able to see from his/her position, and can help the employee reach his/her goals by advocating for them, and providing opportunities to connect with key decision-makers.
Modern mentoring can have a far-reaching organizational impact, making it a great vehicle for engaging and developing the diversity that makes up our workforce.
Principles of Modern Mentoring
- It’s self-directed. You ask for and share advice and resources when it makes sense for you.
- It transcends groups and organizational boundaries. It can involve multiple mentors and networks.
- It’s flexible. Mentoring topics range from providing strategies for career goals, specific advice for issues, and referrals to additional resources or individuals.
- It puts you in the driver’s seat. Technology allows you to navigate career progression options within your organization, and build virtual relationships. This empowers you to be in control of your learning.
- It keeps you connected. Mentoring can make you feel more connected to others throughout the organization and can allow you to reach out to another person or group of people for support.
Keys to Successful Mentoring Engagements
Here are some ways to ensure that mentoring engagements will be productive and successful:
- Commit. Successful mentoring engagements take effort in order to make them work. Participate only if you can make the time commitment.
- Be responsive. A successful engagement is one in which you demonstrate your willingness to learn from and advise others.
- Be accountable. A strong engagement is built on trust and reliability. If you make a commitment in your mentoring engagement, schedule time in your calendar to accomplish your task to ensure that it is completed as promised.
- Be supportive. Be aware of personal biases and others’ backgrounds when conversing. Challenge yourself to be as open as possible to new people, ideas, and solutions.
- Hold confidences. At the beginning of mentoring engagement, discuss participant expectations of confidentiality. Don’t discuss mentoring conversations with anyone except engagement participants to prohibit unintentionally sharing someone else’s confidential information. Trust that other participants will provide you the same courtesy.
- Appreciate feedback. Offer and hear feedback in the spirit of improving competencies and building areas of weakness and strength. Give constructive feedback, and be aware that feedback is offered as advice or suggestions for self-improvement; it is not criticism.
- Be focused. Ensure the engagement’s purpose and goals are clear. Periodic check-ins for progress against these goals will also help keep things on track.