On Mentoring

I attended a conference some years back.

At one point when the speaker asked, “How many of us have mentors?” very few hands went up.

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When the speaker next asked, “How many of us have tor-mentors?” almost everyone raised their hands.

Mentoring, as many of us know, has many benefits to our organizations. These include more highly trained employees, increased engagement, decreased turnover, developed leaders, and the preservation, expansion and transfer of critical corporate knowledge.

The question is: If mentoring is so beneficial, why aren’t we doing more mentoring in our organizations?

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I could not help asking this question after reading Ken Blanchard and Claire Diaz-Ortiz's One Minute Mentoring recently.

I am convinced mentoring can make a significant difference in our lives. We all need mentors. And we can also be mentors.

Unlike a coach who helps us to focus on performance and skill development, a mentor helps us to focus on longer-term issues like values-clarification, work-life balance and big-picture career development. He or she also serves as a role model, a consultant, a broker and an advocate.

For people who want to pursue a mentoring relationship, Blanchard and Diaz-Ortiz provide a helpful M.E.N.T.O.R. framework for both the mentor and mentee to use:

  • Mission: Create a mutually agreed upon mission statement for the mentoring relationship.
  • Engagement: Agree on ways to engage that work for our personalities and schedules.
  • Networking: Expand our network by appropriately taking advantage of a mentor or mentee’s networking connections.
  • Trust: Build and maintain trust with our mentoring partner by telling the truth, staying connected, and being dependable.
  • Opportunity: Create and pursue opportunities for our mentee or mentor to grow.
  • Review and Renewal: Schedule a regular time to review progress and renew our mentoring partnership.

I like how Garry Ridge, CEO of WD-40 Company and co-author of Helping People Win at Work, sums up the mentoring relationship and benefit:

"Life's journey doesn't need to be a lonely walk. Being a mentor is your opportunity to share your learning moments to help someone step into the best version of their personal self..." (quoted in the One Minute Manager)

  • Bernard Low
    Bernard Low
    Head of Learning and Development, Clermont Group

    Bernard is a Learning and Development Specialist and Leader | Facilitator | Trainer | Communicator | ACTA Certified | Certified 7 Habits Client Facilitator | Certified Branding Through People Client Facilitator | LBFalumni. In his current role as the Head of Learning and Development with the Clermont Group, his key responsibilities include, Being responsible for all learning and development initiatives and programs. Developing and implementing a total learning framework that integrates a holistic learning and development journey for leaders and employees. Before joining the Clermont Group, I have worked in the following roles: Senior Learning Specialist with the CapitaLand Group, English language instructor with an international school in China, Senior Research Officer with the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs, and Professor in a Christian college as well as the director of its Centre for Continuing Theological Education.

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