Mentoring doesn’t have to be a complicated process or business. Once it is designed to fit a particular need, it can be a very effective and simple method to implement; something that will be easy to use once it’s established. Although it consists of certain processes and procedures, mentoring is actually like a fine art, in that it requires creativity in design and implementation. It’s also a practice that requires flexibility and adaptability, and will require participants to look beyond the mere series of techniques in order to put it into practice more effectively.
Why use mentoring programs
In many organisations, a gap often exists between the actual needs of the individuals and the established practices. Depending on how well the organisation works to fill this gap, the difference may be great or small. The role of mentoring is to close this gap and allow staff, employees, personnel or students to access resources that will allow them to improve their learnings and skills.
Mentoring is also used to increase the quality of the intellectual capital of an organisation, allowing employees to be trained in order to meet set standards of quality in terms of qualifications and technical skills. It is also an excellent tool for improving the standards of service in an organisation. As a recruitment and retaining tool, mentoring is also effective, allowing businesses to attract quality employees by providing new ones with a means to adapt well to their new environment.
The fine art of mentoring
When people view mentoring, they see it as a means to transfer knowledge. However, it is so much more than that. Choosing, designing and implementing a mentoring program often requires inventive solutions in order for it to remain attractive, relevant, updated and useful. It has proven to be a very effective method in improving business processes and has become one of the highly valued issues within many organisations.
The main concern of mentoring is matching, something that requires patience and imagination on the part of the administrator. Having a good pairing between the mentor and the mentee is crucial to the success of the program. If the match is in place, both parties will benefit from a strong, mutually rewarding relationship. If the matching fails, either or both parties will suffer from negative learning or feel frustrated about a system that does nothing.
This is why administrators who wish to implement an effective mentoring system should find creative ways to determine the matching qualifications between the mentor and his protege. Certain factors, for example, such as temperament, personal characteristics, values, philosophies or similar goals can impact the relationship. There is no set standard for matching, which makes it important that those who wish to implement the program should be able to apply a certain adaptability and imagination when determining a successful match.
Keeping the mentoring system fresh
A mentoring program also thrives on being up-to-date, which keeps it interesting. Implementing a mentoring program that is outdated can have disastrous results, encouraging participants to perceive it as ineffective and useless. Like art, mentoring must remain dynamic and appealing, keeping participants’ interests up, which gives them more reason to use the program.
Establishing a successful mentoring program
Mentoring needs to remain relevant and an effective source of motivation. As such, it has to undergo improvements along the way and must be open to changes. The best way to determine the success of the mentoring program is to compare the initial goals of the system to the results. This may be done through feedback and evaluations, allowing participants to comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the program. Without a set feedback system in place, it will be difficult indeed to quantify the efficacy of mentoring within an organisation and thus rate its success.