Mentoring At Work - The Path To Productivity

Mentoring At Work - The Path To Productivity​ Luxafor

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a systematically formed relationship based on long-term and voluntary support between an experienced person (mentor) who shares his knowledge, experience and opinions to another person (mentee) who is ready and willing to gain experience from this exchange and enrich his professional skills. Mentoring at work is a reciprocal and collaborative relationship that most often occurs between a senior and junior employee for the purpose of the mentee’s growth, learning, and career development. Often the mentor and mentee are a part of an organization, and there is an emphasis on organizational goals, culture, career choices, advice on professional development, and work-life balance.

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The benefits of mentoring

Mentoring is a safe supportive environment relationship between two individual as a way to transfer specific knowledge and expertise in the name of business interests from one person to another. In this relationship, the mentor volunteers their time to encourage the mentee. Mentoring takes place when the learner is in a new situation, requires information in a transitional or intermediate stage. Mentoring relationships can be limited to a certain project but usually are maintained for as long as necessary or as agreed.

During the mentoring process, the mentee is given the opportunity to develop and gain practical experience, acquire knowledge, achieve goals easier and faster and can considerably improve the necessary professional skills. Mentoring as a method is greatly used to promote collaboration, productivity and business growth in these situations:

  • To promote employee learning in the work environment;
  • To establish better cooperation and interaction between teams;
  • As a way to transfer important skills and knowledge;
  • To integrate new policies, systems and work practice;
  • Provide support in complicated work processes;
  • Provide support if the employee changes workplace or role;
  • To help to introduce and manage new projects;
  • To support the implementation of changes in the organization.
Source: Getty Images

What makes a good mentor?

Mentoring is a great and way in which one person trains or advises another person with useful advice from their own experience. By applying mentoring practice in the workplace, you have the opportunity to manage talent from within the organization – to help people increase their efficiency, improve career growth opportunities, as well as create a more productive workplace. To be a good mentor you need to have a solid experience in your speciality and good social interaction skills. It can be technical experience, management experience, or simply life experience that you can share with others. To be an effective mentor:

You must be willing to help – be willing to spend your time helping someone else and maintain a positive attitude in everything. Learn to see the good side even in a complicated situations to motivate and lift up people who need your advice.

Be motivated and keep improving your knowledge – never stop developing yourself and continue learning. To help others grow, you have to see the value in your own growth. Many mentors admit that mentoring has helped them in their own personal development.

Productive time management is essential

Learn how to better manage your time and become an example to others.

Be confident and assertive – doesn’t mean to get cocky or grow a big ego. Rather, you need to have the ability to be critical and challenge your learners’ view in a way that is not dangerous, but helps them see situations from a new perspective. Being a confident and assertive mentor means communicating with others in a direct and honest manner without intentionally hurting anyone’s feelings.

Be an active listener – be careful to process all the information that the trainees are saying. Watch body language, maintain eye contact, and understand what topics the learner is uncomfortable discussing. Showing that you are listening is a valuable skill in itself. It shows that you value what the person is saying and that you won’t cut them off. It requires patience and a willingness to postpone premature judgments.

Ask the right questions – the best mentors ask questions that make their mentees think. However, it is not as simple as it sounds. As a simple tip for you, if you want to be a good mentor, by asking questions you need to get the mentee to think about what you want to say and come to the same conclusion over and over again. To do this, try asking open-ended questions that cannot be answered with only yes or no. Or ask more direct questions that offer multiple answer options and then analyze together why they chose that particular answer.

Provide feedback – do it in a way that accurately and objectively summarizes what you’ve gone through, but also interpret what the learner said in information that adds value to them. In particular, use feedback to demonstrate that you understand the learner’s way of thinking. This is key to helping them see the situation from a different perspective.

Source: Getty Images

What are the responsibilities and tasks of a mentor?

A workplace mentor can be both a direct manager, a personnel manager, or specifically assigned expert in the field. Therefore there are plenty of responsibilities for mentors in the workplace depending on the situation. Usually the mentor advises the new employee on a daily basis, thus the employee is provided with both professional and human support during the adaptation process.

Most importantly mentor provides an opportunity for the new employee to acquire the necessary knowledge and shared knowledge can lead to better work results and benefit the business productivity. During the mentoring process the mentor embodies and introduces the essence, values and the company itself, its history and other relevant facts. Some of the tasks of a mentor consist of introductory training, knowledge sharing and testing, managing joint work and non-work events, monitoring of the mentorship process, as well as project management, team management etc.

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In some companies mentoring process can look like this:

  1. By mutual agreement the mentor organizes mutual meetings, trainings or learning sessions;
  2. The mentee prepares and asks the mentor unclear questions in advance;
  3. The mentor monitors, leads and manages the mentoring process;
  4. The mentor assigns new tasks, specifies and controls what has been done;
  5. The mentee provides feedback on what is useful and what is needed to improve.

In order for both parties involved in the mentoring process (mentor and mentee) to be clear about their responsibilities when starting the mentoring process, it is worth clarifying these responsibilities. The mentor is responsible:

  • For providing all the necessary information and human support, but not about the other person’s abilities or personal motivation to learn;
  • For a clear agreement and arrangements with the mentee about mutual mentoring process – time, duration, frequency, tasks, etc.;
  • Respecting ethical and confidentiality boundaries during the mentoring process;
  • Mentor is responsible for transferring his knowledge to the new employee as best he can;
  • To feel comfortable and safe being a mentor to a colleague, and if difficulties or doubts arise, discuss them with your mentee or senior advisory;
  • For transferring required skills or knowledge to the new employee according to the best conscience, without manipulating the information.

Mentoring is very important in the process of encouraging and preparing new leaders. It is an important tool for creating and strengthening motivation, developing a sense of purpose, raising efficiency and productivity, achieving the company’s overall and individual goals, as well as improving information circulation and mutual communication.

The bottom line

Remember that mentoring is the practice of sharing and transferring information, expertise, and experience so that mentees can use it and build appropriate trust in the organization. As a mentor, you encourage, nurture and provide support because you have already “walked the path” that the mentee is on. Also remember that mentoring is a structured development, you don’t have to tell the mentee everything you know about the subject; he has to find his own solutions to situations.

Mentoring is a great way to evolve a person’s professional and personal development, as well as help create a more productive organization. This is a mutually beneficial practice for everyone involved as this process is useful for both the mentor and the mentee. Therefore it is important to treat the mentoring relationship with the respect it deserves. Focus the relationship on the learner’s needs, use your experience and active listening skills, add value to the conversation by providing feedback. The goal of mentoring is to provide guidance, give advice to achieve better results using the new knowledge through successful collaboration between people in the workplace leading to productive work results.

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