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Kerrie Mullins-Gunst

Seven Good Reasons Why You Should Set Up a Mentoring Program

by Kerrie Mullins-Gunst

There are numerous reasons why establishing a mentoring program in your organisation may be one of the smartest things you can do, but here are seven good ones:

1. Attract and retain the best people.

Some studies have shown that the presence (or absence) of a mentoring program means more than money to the decision to accept a job offer or remain with an organisation.

2. Modelling teaches more.

Many of the core skills, attitudes, behaviours and ethics of leadership are best learnt by modelling rather than in a formal classroom. Mentoring allows your best people to model good leadership and offer practical guidance to your future leaders.

3. Mentoring encourages excellence.

Mentoring is exceptional for its capacity to encourage excellence both in mentees and in those who mentor. While it might be expected that mentees might acquire insight and wisdom through working with a good mentor, experience demonstrates that mentors also gain from the interaction. Mentors frequently explain that their role prompted them to review and reassess their assumptions and clarify their thoughts as they explain things to their mentee.

4. A well set-up mentoring program enables you to recognise and reward your best people.

By establishing an appropriate selection process for both mentors and mentees and providing the right framework to support this process you can ensure that participation in your program is sought by your best people, rather than perceived as a chore or a burden. Don't take chances with this part of your program set-up as it is one of the critical requirements for its success.

5. Build confidence and self-esteem through personal growth.

Mentoring fosters not only professional growth but also personal growth, and can develop confidence in handling new situations, improve understanding of different approaches to a situation and enhance self-esteem for both mentors and mentees.

6. Improve cross-functional or interdepartmental communication and networks.

Mentoring relationships are not usually set up between individuals with line management responsibilities. By establishing mentoring relationships between people from different areas of your organisation (or industry) greater understanding and improved cross-functional communication readily follow. Some organisations have found this benefit to be one of the most unanticipated yet valuable company-wide impacts of their whole mentoring program.

7. Foster a culture of contribution.

Fundamentally the process of mentoring another always represents a generous gift by a busy person. It is a gift that can typically only ever truly be repaid in kind, over time, when the mentee in turn mentors someone else. As such, mentoring amplifies in its impact by embedding values such as respect, generosity and contribution in the corporate culture. This is arguably the ultimate and most powerful impact any intervention might have.

Quick Tips

There are many more ways that a mentoring program can add value to your company, association or organisation. Here are just some of them:

  • Mentoring is a very effective way to welcome new employees and induct them into your organisation's culture and values or to support recently promoted employees.
  • Mentoring can offer effective support for minority groups or special employees and promote diversity.
  • A facilitated mentoring program can build a collegiate group which is more willing to share their experience and informal knowledge in a productive way.
  • Mentoring can assist in succession planning and the development of new leaders, provide a better basis for promotion and advancement decisions and shift high potential individuals onto the fast career track.

Reprinted with permission. © Copyright Kerrie Mullins-Gunst

About the Author
Kerrie Mullins-Gunst

Kerrie Mullins-Gunst is an expert in how you can lead, manage and mentor your people, and one of Australia's leading female business speakers. For free leadership tips, tools and resources visit www.kmgconsulting.com.au or call on 61-3-9859 3924.

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