Have you heard of Bill Campbell? Most likely not. However, I am sure you have heard of Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and Larry Page who started Google. Bill Campbell was their mentor for many years. Mentors make a difference. Mentors enable key team members to fast track their all-round development. Benefits to the organisation are more effective team members, strong culture, high staff retention and greater profits.

Mentoring happens in many forms. You may be able to recall people who played a pivotal mentoring role at times in your life. I recently came across a letter from a man who informally mentored me in my first job. He shaped my habits and challenged me to excel. He laid the foundation for my career. In his letter, he was recalling others I knew, that I’m sure he had mentored. His heart and concern for these men shone through the letter.

A good mentor does not tell a person what to do. They facilitate the person to move toward their goals, to change, to grow by helping them to see what needs to change and the solutions. A good mentor asks good questions and listens well.

Mentoring provides a triple win. The Mentees win; the Mentor wins and the organisation wins.
One key benefit of those being mentored is they are able to speed up their professional development and effectiveness. This occurs through the transference of the experience and wisdom of the mentor.

One of the benefits to the organisation, Wilson and Elman’s research found, is that mentoring is a major component to strengthening the organisation’s culture and values. When mentoring is effectively working, the organisation is healthier. The results are greater motivation of the staff, better job performance and higher staff retention.

While informal mentoring may work, structured mentoring is much more effective. I am also of the view that mentoring is more effective when it is given by the leaders of a business to their team members. The benefits of this are that the leader knows the team members, how they work, and is experienced in the business. However, it is more effective where the leaders have been trained in mentoring.

One structure for mentoring is based on the GROW acronym:

Goal: Agreeing on goals that the mentee wants to achieve from mentoring that are also in alignment with the business
Reality: Able to freely share about what is happening in the current situation
Options: Finding alternative ways to move forward
Will: Actions to take and when will they be done by.

I find having a mentoring template or checklist to be effective. The mentee writes down issues to discuss and so does the mentor. With this approach, the session inevitably has to stop due to time constraints, not from lack of discussion.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you have structured mentoring happening in your business?
  2. Do you have a mentor relationship?
  3. Do you know how to mentor?

We all talk about how people are our most important asset, yet few invest the time to multiply the effectiveness of their people.

Peter Ambrosiussen is a partner of Ambrosiussen Accountants & Advisors and an accredited mentor with Mentors & Business Coaches international.

Published by Toowoomba Chronicle www.thechronicle.com.au on Saturday 22 October 2016

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