True Mentoring

Mentoring is something in the business world that is talked about a lot.  So what is mentoring?

From dictionary.com:

1. a wise and trusted counselor or teacher

2. an influential senior sponsor or supporter

This is s good start.  I see too much of what I call fake mentoring.  Where the senior manager takes a junior manager he sees potential in and promotes them, maybe even has lunch with them a few times.  It seems very superficial.

A true mentor goes beyond this superficial relationship.  They take a serious interest in the person they are mentoring.  Calls to check up on the mentored to see how they are doing.  They have a deeper relationship with the person.  The senior manager will give direct and honest feedback to the junior manager, whether it is positive or negative.

A mentor guides the mentored through experiences and learning developing their capabilities along the way.  The mentor helps prepare them for what the mentored wants to achieve.

Another difference between fake mentoring and true mentoring is how the mentor is a supporter.  With fake mentoring being a supporter usually means the senior manager always helps the junior manager get their next job or role.  The mentor hands the next job or role to the mentored.  With true mentoring, the mentor supports the mentored by encouraging them to apply for new jobs/roles that would stretch there learning and skills, but have them earn it on their own.  The mentor will be there when the mentored needs support in the new job or role to help them be successful.

There may be a subtle difference between the fake and true mentoring, but it can lead to a significant difference in leadership.  When fake mentoring happens the mentor is seen as showing favoritism and the mentored as not being able to perform the job.  Even if the mentored could do the job there may always be a negative thought in the back of people’s mind.  With true mentoring, the mentor is not seen as showing favoritism but as a person who is developing stronger leaders for the company.  The mentored has to earn the job on their merits which gives them credibility.  In the end, the mentored is a stronger leader and has developed more skills.

How are you mentoring?

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Posted on May 3, 2012, in Development, Leadership, Learning, People and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. As always, I enjoy reading your articles. Keep up the good work!

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