Although it is considered possible for a line manager to also be a mentor to the people that he or she manages unlike a line management relationship such as this, mentoring relationships tend to be voluntary on both sides, and often with a third party. Unlike a typical coaching relationship, mentoring relationships are usually unpaid activities.
The idea behind mentoring relationships is that of a legacy based one – the more successful, senior partner, the mentor, wishes to pass on some of what they’ve learned to someone else who will benefit from their experience.
Some businesses run formal in-house mentoring programmes that match mentors with learners. It is not unusual for new members of staff to be ‘adopted’ by the more experienced ‘old hands’. However, less formal mentoring relationships can also work well, even if they start of their own accord.
In my opinion in-house or organised mentoring programmes will have four key elements along the lines of:
- improving performance
- sharing knowledge
- improving knowledge & understanding
- career progression
Formal mentoring relationships are often entered into with a defined time limit, or a desired result. Having such a framework in place can be easier for both parties to understand and adhere to the process for the benefit of both the mentee as well as the business. For example, a mentee may agree to work with a mentor for a period of months, or until they finish their probation, pass a benchmark or even achieve a promotion. The mentor and mentee may decide to continue to work together, especially if the relationship has been productive and helpful to both.
Needless to say, mentoring is of obvious value in terms of legacy or succession planning.
Blog written by CMI Southern mentoring champion, Dan Carey
Daniel enjoys a career in business improvement, management development, and productivity, helping both business owners and managers in aspects of business administration, business growth, knowledge transfer and best practice. He is a member of the Chartered Management Institute’s Southern Regional Board and has the responsibility for championing mentoring.