The 7 New Ways to Mentor
Short-term. Multiple. Reverse. Two-Way. Informal. Virtual. Companywide.
Mentoring has been revitalized and now comes in seven different forms to serve various purposes.
Following are the seven ways mentoring is being used today:
- Short-term: Mentoring relationships can be very short-term – an hour or a day – or last weeks or months, depending on how long it take to achieve the desired objectives.
- Multiple: People can have more than one mentor at the same time to serve different purposes. One mentor can be a coach for improving function-related skills and another mentor can instruct in soft skills such as how to become more persuasive and knowledgeable about the internal political landscape.
- Reverse: Generation X employees are counseling more experienced managers in areas such as technical skills and how to use social media.
- Two-Way: In exchange for teaching seasoned veterans technical and social media skills, less experienced workers are being tutored in how to sharpen their management, interpersonal, and presentation skills.
- Virtual: Mentoring is more often taking place via webcam, email, telephone, and text messaging. Face-to-face sessions are no longer required. Mentors are now connecting in different locations, time zones and countries.
- Informal: Mentoring can be very informal without the traditional mentor-mentee relationship. Some companies do not even use the term “mentoring” to describe the process.
- Companywide: Mentoring has been expanded beyond the managerial ranks to non-management and blue-collar employees.
Mentoring is no longer only a way for seasoned executives and managers to counsel and develop less experienced employees and newcomers.
Employees of all ages and organizational levels – from senior executives to non-management workers – are now using mentoring to acquire job-related skills and learn how to refine their softer people-related abilities.
Mentoring is generally less expensive than introducing training programs and takes less time to set up. Much of the knowledge gained from training is retained for only a short time. However, mentors can reinforce learning and deliver immediate feedback.
In addition, more organizations are using mentoring to transfer knowledge to younger workers before Baby Boomers retire and to keep employees engaged in their jobs.