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Managing Mentoring

With the development of the more organic and less formal organisational structures the role of mentors has shifted with these changes. Unlike previously where mentors where seen as formal trainers who taught newcomers the processes and got them acquainted with the cultures and the systems within the organisation. Which required good interpersonal skills and a good knowledge of the activity or tasks the mentee would have to undertake, and be able to effectively relay or demonstrate the tasks or activities to the mentee.

As opposed to more recently where a mentor would have to be more of an emotional counselor and demonstrate more skills than were traditionally required from mentors in the past, such as being emotionally sensitive and sometimes employing diversity mentoring and culture mentoring skills. The term Mentor is derived from Greece. Levinson et al defined the mentor as someone who is ordinarily several years older, a person of greater experience seniority in the world the young man is entering

This shows that not all mentoring takes place on an organisational level and in many instances is less organic and more mechanic within organisations. Mentoring also differs depending on the organisation the mentee is entering and the capacity that they are entering that organisation, mentoring is extremely prevalent in the education and training of young people in this context Murray and Owen define it as a supportive relationship between a youth or young adult and someone who offers support, guidance and concrete assistance

The is an interesting shift in emphasis when organisational mentoring takes the place educational mentoring the focus changes from the personal nature of the mentor and the mentee to the structure and the processes within that relationship. Which really begs the question which mentoring style brings about the best results? but in order to answer that we must analyse what exactly we want to achieve from the mentoring?. What facilitated mentoring does is set out to encapsulate the relationships and influence that develop in informal mentoring and transfer it to the organisational framework.

One of the reasons organisations influence mentoring because it is a cost effective way training and developing, mentors relive the line managers of the responsibility of training the new employees, rather than run induction course managers opt to assign new staff to a mentor which can assist them. Accompanied with the current shift towards more organic organisation structures and more emphasis on the learning organisation, mentoring provides a more all round experience to the mentees by getting them confident with their role with the organisation.

It also improves communication throughout the organisation by allowing mentees to give feedback and learn in a not so formal fashion which helps people feel more relaxed and develops the formal and informal culture of the organisation. From the organisations standpoint mentoring is a cost effective way of training and developing new staff, and it helps retain existing staff by giving them more responsibility. It is argued that with the underlying causes behind facilitated mentoring lying in cost effectiveness, does this underlying tenet prevent a real chemistry existing between the mentor and the mentee.

This is not necessarily the case in all organisations, the Metropolitan police force (a non-profit organisation) have recognised the need for mentoring and have incorporated it both internally and externally to assist them in their day to day work. The Metropolitan Police have started a mentoring scheme for young ethnic officers by pairing them with a mentor from the same background, to help them get prepared for the job and also to act as counselors and to deal with any reservations they may have about joining the force.

This type of mentoring scheme is based more around relationship forming and offering more psycho-social support and is less process orientated. So as I have just highlighted there are some differences in the aims and the goals organisations have when they implement mentoring schemes. There is no clear cut idea as to what the most effective way of mentoring is, it depends on many surrounding factors primarily what do we want to achieve from this relationship. Mentoring schemes are implemented with different intentions in mind, we have talked candidly about mentoring being used to help the mentee fit in and become relaxed.

But mentoring can also be used to promote careers, it really depends on the management culture of the organisation. Reginald Hamilton cites 5 different approaches to mentoring, each approach is best suited to a different desired outcome: ? Sponsorship System Special projects, mentors have vested interest in outcome of the tutelage. Quite a paternalistic relationship best suited for those seeking to promote their career ? Peer Group usually experienced well motivated staff, whose goal is to get the mentee acquainted with the culture of the organisation.

Quite an informal relationship more designed towards networking. ? Self Development usually confidence builders to help young people realise the skills the corporate world requires of them. In many cases the goal of this type of scheme are usually insight and self actualisation. ? Role Model Not planned, but the mentors attitudes and approach are generally passed down to the mentee. The role model is not planned and is a natural occurrence and is best suited for those looking to settle in and eventually promote their careers.

Manager As Mentors this is basically an enhancement of the sponsorship approach, where managers check with mentors on how the mentee is progressing. Again best designed for career enhancement. With the ever increasing emphasis companies are putting on to lifelong learning and being learning organisation being a mentor develops peoples awareness of the situations that surround them. Organisations giving non-managerial staff the opportunity to become mentor also acts as a confidence builder.

For example If management have acknowledged me as being a good member of staff thats why they have asked me to be a mentor to help other members of staff become as good as me. Although mentoring, in its basic form is an informal process and completely homogenic, mentors require training. Mentoring is a one-one relationship which essentially develops into a confidential trusting relationship and transcends just a parent teacher relationship. Mentor and mentee relationships can be very fragile and easily determine the mentees future within the organisation, because of this mentors have to be trained in the necessary skills required.

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