Delivering on HR

14. May, 2020

Article:
HR and Mentoring

Many a time, even the most experienced and qualified of leaders confuse mentoring with coaching. It’s important to understand and appreciate the difference to enable us as leaders to utilise these two significant tools to enhance our roles.

In summary, coaching focuses on the development of specific skills of an individual and is generally a short term programme. Moreover, the coach has more authority and is normally in a senior position with more knowledge, skills and experience. Please refer to my article on HR and Coaching. On the other hand, mentoring focuses on the overall development of an individual and is generally a long term programme. It has a more equal relationship and allows the mentee to choose a mentor and can set their own pace and agenda.

It is not uncommon in many organisations to appoint a mentor for young aspiring leaders and new graduates on a management training programme. The objective of such initiatives is to assist these future leaders to understand the values as well as the modus operandi of the organisation and assist them to navigate through various professional and life issues and concerns. In such a scenario, it is important to ensure that the appointment of a mentor is rather critical as this person can guide, steer, advise, and influence these young aspiring and future leaders to be groomed for the future of the organisation.

It was mentioned earlier that the mentee can have a say in the choice of the mentor. How does a new or young person to the organisation know much about who would be best suited to be one’s mentor. In these days of social media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook etc., there is really much information about individuals available. However, many organisations normally assist the mentee to select the most appropriate mentor. This is where HR comes in and facilitates this process. Besides the selection of a mentor, most organisations do have a guide or a documented process either on-line or by way of a workbook to facilitate the process. This will include the type of questions to ask, the areas of discussion and if it revolves around personal questions, that could be rather sensitive, how would the mentee navigate through these. Similarly, for the mentor various guidelines are indicated so that they can play their part effectively without being too intrusive, the type of questions to ask, how to lead conversations and discussions etc.

You can see that the process is not as straightforward as it looks. It does take a great deal of thought and planning to make it work effectively and for both the mentee and mentor to see how it could work in the favour of both parties.

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