Learning & Development

The Ins and Outs of Career Mentoring in the Workplace

Research and studies reveal how beneficial career mentoring programs are to mentors, mentees, workplaces, organizations, and even entire industries, so whether you’re interested in improving your current career mentoring program or starting a new one, below is more detailed information about career mentoring that you’ll want to explore.mentoring

Definition

According to BusinessDictionary’s definition, career mentoring is an:

“Employee training system under which a senior or more experienced individual (the mentor) is assigned to act as an advisor, counselor, or guide to a junior or trainee. The mentor is responsible for providing support to, and feedback on, the individual in his or her charge.”

Benefits

According to research parsed by McCarthy Mentoring, career mentoring programs help mentees:

  • Avoid costly mistakes and encourage them to make better decisions overall
  • Become proficient in their current roles faster
  • Earn more money and become prominent leaders and mentors themselves

Challenges

Effective mentor-mentee matching. A mentor who has a strong kinesthetic learning style may not be helpful to a mentee who has a strong auditory learning style, and a mentor interested in marketing may not be helpful to a mentee interested in engineering, for example. So, if mentees aren’t properly paired with mentors who are best suited for their personalities or career interests, then the match will not prove very useful overall.
Motivated mentors or mentees. Mentors should be excited about helping and guiding their mentees, so if mentors aren’t committed or motivated to doing this, or if mentees aren’t ever available to meet or interact with their mentors, then career mentoring programs won’t work; both parties must be motivated to participate in career mentoring programs if they’re to be successful.
Tracking mentoring program results. When different mentor-mentee pairings meet at different intervals and have different goals or communication preferences, it can be difficult to track the results of an entire career mentoring program. So, learning and development (L&D) professionals must have a clear understanding of how they intend to track the results of such programs to ensure their effectiveness and success.

How to Ensure an Effective Career Mentoring Program

If you’re interested in establishing a career mentoring program or improving your current one, here are some things you can do to ensure its effectiveness.

  • Encourage mentor-mentee pairs to set their own learning goals, objectives, and timeliness.
  • Prompt mentor-mentee pairs to establish and clarify their own ground rules and sign agreements or contracts when necessary.
  • Offer resources and support to mentor-mentee pairs, as well as any necessary tools and training they might need.
  • Help mentor-mentee pairs develop and manage their own expectations for their relationship and meetings.
  • Insist that mentor-mentee pairs document their progress and goals in a centralized and organized location and that they track what they do and what they want to do.

As you work to develop or improve your career mentoring program, be sure to keep the information outlined above in mind.