The world unfolding around us requires managers and leaders equipped to enable and empower their teams and organizations navigate faster-paced change and greater uncertainty. Workplaces are changing in fundamental ways, as are the ways in which people engage and collaborate. In such an environment, executives need new competencies and skills in critical areas such as problem-solving; decision-making; driving change; building resilience in diverse, global teams working in hybrid modes, etc. both to innovate and respond to disruptions. The pace of digitalization varies across industries; individual companies within an industry adapt at different rates. Therefore, cross-pollination of ideas and good practices becomes even more important.
In this new business context, organizations need to reimagine L&D programs such as on-the-job training, in-house mentoring and coaching to ensure that they deliver the required outcomes. Having personally benefited from mentorship by some incredibly dynamic and visionary women leaders, I can vouch for the immense value that mentoring programs deliver. I believe mentoring programs with the right external mentors will be a useful addition to your organization’s L&D arsenal. Well-structured and carefully curated programs that draw on the right mentors have the ability to improve specific competencies as well as provide participants with opportunities to learn how other companies or industries are responding to change.
Here are six tangible benefits that you as an executive and your organization can expect from our mentoring programs:
- Facilitate long-term career progression: Organizations become even more successful when they provide their executives the means to attain career and growth goals. When executives are mentored by people who already have experience in those roles, the mentee benefits by getting knowledge and tips that prepare them better. When the mentor is from another organization or industry, they are able to provide a different perspective that is nonetheless useful in stimulating new ideas and encouraging new ways of doing things.
- Support in a new project or new job: A mentor with direct experience or knowledge of a similar project or work area can assist rapid assimilation of the context, risks, success factors etc. In turn, this supports accelerated delivery, personal skill development and enhanced performance.
- Remove barriers to career development: Sometimes, when an individual’s “strengths” are overused, they could become “blockers” or “derailers” to career growth. Often, people have “blind spots” around their behaviors. Objective and constructive feedback from mentors can “hold a mirror”, making it easier for executives to take corrective actions. In turn, this will help unblock their career paths and put growth back on the rails.
- Increased self-awareness, self-discipline and self-confidence: The habit of periodic conversations with mentors where executives have to report back on progress and lack thereof instills a greater degree of self-awareness and self-discipline. As they see themselves making tangible progress in the desired direction, they grow in self-confidence and self-esteem.
- An expanded personal network: An obvious but nonetheless important side-benefit of external mentoring programs is that they afford your executives opportunities to make professional and personal connections outside your organization- and build relationships that remain productive even after formal conclusion of the mentoring program.
- Boost to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Mentors and mentees can be matched so that executives appreciate first-hand the value that DEI can bring to their own personal and professional lives, and hence, their organizations. In my experience, this immersive experience is usually far more effective than DEI training alone.
I hope I have got you to think more thoroughly about using external mentors for your organization. I’d love to hear your thoughts and maybe have a quick chat as well: write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.