By definition there is no “cookie-cutter” approach to mentoring. I’ve worked with and researched many different types and sizes of businesses that have evolved their mentoring processes according to the organization’s and learners’ needs. Their mentoring content is significantly different from each other. I have discovered, though, that all of these businesses have fundamental components of mentoring in common. These six steps must all be present to have a true workplace mentoring system. Clearly, June’s delegating and mentoring system encompasses each.
1. Evaluate people’s strengths, needs and aspirations individually.
We learn uniquely. No two people bring exactly the same qualities to a job. The development process is much more effective and efficient when it is shaped to the individual.
2. Create opportunities to learn on the job.
We learn by doing. Use the workplace as the classroom. Learning is retained at a higher level when just-in-time and directly applied to the work.
3. Define teaching and learning roles.
We learn with clear expectations. Set clear goals and responsibilities for the mentoring process, including content and pace. Review and revise continually to reflect progress.
4. Give direct feedback.
We learn with encouragement. Mentoring is a two-way process. Both people need to exchange feedback, with emphasis on what is working well, openly and continuously to stay on track with each other and the learning goals.
5. Measure learning.
We learn when we build on success. Set incremental measurements, both formal and informal, to give the mentee and mentor frequent, meaningful marks of success.
6. Reward the team effort.
We learn when we feel energized. Imbed a culture of mentoring by recognizing mentee and mentor efforts and successes. Make it rewarding and fun to teach and learn.
How can you start? Just the way June did. Select one person with high potential. Delegate work that will develop that potential into high performance. Mentor him or her, using the six steps of a workplace mentoring system. Watch the strengths multiply. Then ask that person to mentor someone else. Give yourself and the new mentor the training needed to mentor skillfully. Watch your workplace mentoring system grow and strengthen, and with it, your business.
June is not under that palm tree yet, but is getting closer as she delegates to and mentors people like Jen and Tina, and teaches them to delegate and mentor, in turn. Perhaps you will be under the next tree, with your own delegating and mentoring system in place and paying off.