There continues to be a number of questions and inquiries regarding “mentoring.” There are strong reasons to understand the mentoring process in the context of building a stronger team and achieving effective delegation. It may be helpful to begin by establishing some context for the various rationales for mentoring. As I see it, there are five:
- New employee development
- Personal development (outside of work)
- Specific skill or technique mentoring
- Team building
- Performance issues assistance
In all cases, matching an experienced mentor from inside or outside the business unit, can have a significant impact on the person being mentored. Granted, the mentor has to be committed to the relationship and experienced in the area needing assistance. The “mentee” (person receiving the mentors help) must be open and willing to enter into the process. Where all the right factors come together, very few techniques offer more growth potential than mentoring.
The biggest obstacle to successful mentoring seems to be the degree to which a trusting relationship between the mentor and the mentee forms. This can not be mandated or artificially rendered. Because of the trust-relationship dynamics, mentoring may not always work.