27 Apr 18 Setting the Example for Mentoring throughout Life
I read a recent article in the Drum, about a business leader’s enthusiasm for mentoring as a general practice throughout the working life – and even personal life. Many of us don’t always appreciate the value of personal development – in the real sense of developing ourselves as individuals in both society generally, as well as within a workplace. But in this article, Carter Murray, who runs a marketing agency, still sees the value of mentoring, even as he has gone up the ladder.
“Ironically, the more I advance in my career, the more I find that mentoring is still crucial to who I am as a leader and to my performance,” says Murray. “Honestly, I always thought that the need for mentoring might diminish as I progressed; now I’ve found the opposite to be true.”
He refers to ‘up and down mentoring’, which is a two-way process and leaders learn from those they lead, as well as vice versa. He also mentions ‘reverse mentoring’ as a way for him to learn about new trends and gain skills from more junior people. “Recognizing what you don’t know, being able to admit it, and finding those who are willing and able to make you smarter are critical ingredients to being successful.”
A customer that uses MentorNet as the technology backbone to their mentoring programme is Edinburgh Napier University. One of their mentoring programmes is an enterprise programme, which connects former students that are now working in industry, with current students who might want to follow similar career paths. They are already creating an example, for students to learn from mentors, to then become mentors themselves and potentially to continue the good work of mentoring throughout their careers.
And many organizations today want to encourage diversity among employees. One of MentorNet’s customers, the Bar Council, is doing just that – encouraging diversity of people that join the Bar in the UK, by supporting and mentoring students all the way from school, thorough university and into their legal roles. A recent announcement from HP announces their starting a mentoring programme which aims to encourage more diversity within the business.
So for many of you running mentoring programmes, the benefits may go well beyond the purposes for which you set them up. They can instil an attitude of learning and coaching and of acknowledging one’s limitations. The concepts shown here may well be used much more in future in organisations wishing to create more diverse, aware and motivated workforces.