In yesterday’s Advisor, we reviewed a few of the benefits of mentorship along with some different types of mentoring put forth by the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Today, we present a few more of OPM’s various styles of mentorship.
This type of mentorship turns the tables—here, a senior employee (whether it be in terms of age, tenure, or position) is mentored by someone at a more junior level. Yes, more senior people can learn from the knowledge of their younger or even less experienced coworkers, usually in the areas of IT and Internet communications. The OPM says the key to success in reverse mentoring is the ability to create and maintain an attitude of openness to the experience and dissolve any barriers of status, power, and/or position.
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This is quite simple—it’s the right help at the right time, when a protégé needs guidance and advice from his or her mentor. Situational mentoring, naturally, tends to be short-term and addresses an immediate situation, but it can evolve into a more long-term connection.
While this isn’t necessarily a given at every organization, supervisors should view themselves as potential mentors and consider mentoring an inherent responsibility of leadership. Frequently, this mentoring is informal and related to day-to-day guidance related to the mentee’s current job. The OPM also notes that as leaders, supervisors should also encourage outside mentoring partnerships (both informal and formal) and allow their employees the time to work on them.
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This is similar to group mentoring mentioned yesterday, but there is more than one mentor working with either one protégé or a perhaps a group of them. Team mentoring allows mentors to work together (or separately, if preferred) to help their protégé(s) reach identified developmental goals. However, if mentors are going to work separately, they need to keep communication lines open in order to share information and ideas.
Tech is invading most aspects of business nowadays, and mentoring is no exception. Virtual mentoring may include the use of videoconferencing, the Internet, and/or e-mail in order to connect with mentees. This is beneficial for those in unique situations (e.g., those who are unable to leave the workplace to meet with mentors or those who live in rural or remote communities), and it may also strike a chord with tech-savvy employees. Virtual mentoring is usually less expensive compared to face-to-face mentoring, and it may also provide a potential protégé with more options when it comes mentors. However, the OPM notes that even with virtual mentoring, it is recommended the mentor and protégé meet face-to-face at least once.
Has your organization employed any other unique types of mentoring? Let us know about it in the comments section.