Is Your Organisation Mentor Ready?
All too often, I see organisations embarking on a journey to implement a mentoring programme or a mentoring culture and they are not ready. They have not looked within to see whether or not their organisation is actually ready for mentoring.
Now I know that you are likely thinking that every organisation would benefit from having some form of mentoring taking place and you are right. The degree or level of success, however, is driven by how mentor ready the organisation actually is.
Lack of corporate support
Let’s look at four reasons why mentoring fails in an organisation. The first is lack of corporate support. You are introducing change to the organisation, and without support from the top, you are destined for failure. We would want our senior leaders to be the mentor role models to drive the programme.
There is nothing more rewarding than to see the growth of a leader who uses the Socratic Method to create a continuous learning and development environment as a result of one on one mentoring.
A senior leader who says they don’t have time to do this mentor thing is setting up your mentor program/culture for failure.
Lack of structure
The second is the lack of structure. Every mentor programme or culture will be unique as it is customised to the organisation and its values. It needs to have some structure around it in order to provide a sense of purpose.
Part of the structure will be answering some key questions such as, “What is the business challenge you are trying to resolve using mentoring?” I have asked that question on numerous occasions and haven’t received an answer as of yet!
The third is training. Like everything else we need to provide some form of training to all the participants in order for them to have the tools to be successful. I understand that we all have busy lives and I can’t spare 1-3 days for training.
We can figure that out but we still need to provide everyone involved with some form of training.
A culture that supports
The fourth is that the culture won’t support mentoring. This is where we recommend an organisational culture assessment.
I have read lots of research where there are assessments that can be done online coupled with some personal interaction. If that works for your organisation, continue down that path, as it is a fit for you and your people.
The “gift of mentoring” is a powerful gift for any organisation.
What I have seen that works is a more personal touch with actually interviewing employees to gain a more indepth understanding of the culture and the challenges that the organisation is having to stay alive from a people perspective.
The assessment process requires that a sample of employees be interviewed to capture some common themes, that are perhaps the root cause of some problems, that are challenging the organisation. This creates the personal touch and the beginning of building trusted relationships with the employees.
Recommendations coming out of this process can be many. They may include the need for training in crucial conversations and effective communications skills on a broader level. It may include a deeper understanding of building trusted relationships and the steps that one must go through. It may require some time being spent in one on one mentoring relationships that may evolve into coaching at some stage.
Most organisations are opportunity-rich organisations where this process would be of great value to them. The one on one professional mentoring with leadership teams can also help fill the leadership talent shortage that we are faced with today. There is nothing more rewarding than to see the growth of a leader who uses the Socratic Method to create a continuous learning and development environment as a result of one on one mentoring.
Engaging your organisation in this assessment process, to determine readiness for mentoring, is time well spent.
Not only will it help lay a strong foundation for mentoring in your organisation, it will also reveal other challenges that you may need to address.
The “gift of mentoring” is a powerful gift for any organisation. Embrace that power and create an organisation that is focused on creating a learning and development environment – Can you afford not to?