As leaders work on their own career development, they sometimes lose sight of their need to serve as a mentor and coach for others. If you have experience in a role that someone else would like to learn more about, the benefits of mentoring and coaching are often worth the time investment—for you, the mentee, and the organization. Whether you create a company mentorship program or go about things more informally, fostering your employees’ growth is a hallmark of great leadership that pays immediate and long-term dividends—in terms of skill development, productivity, and morale.
While group training programs are extremely beneficial, employees sometimes have difficulty retaining the knowledge gained in a classroom setting. Mentoring is a more personal form of training that allows the mentee to ask specific questions about the skills they need to thrive in that exact moment. A leader’s first-hand knowledge is also priceless because there are situations or processes unique to the organization that an employee will encounter that they won’t find in any book or manual. These meetings benefit the mentor as well, because teaching is a skill, too, and one that improves with practice. When we teach, we often instruct others on what we most need to know (or relearn) ourselves. We become more conscious of our own actions and considerations, not just how to relay what we know to new and different audiences. So, in short, mentoring sharpens the skills of both the mentor and the mentee.
Productivity & Adjusting to Company Culture
If you are mentoring a new member of your team, they may have plenty of questions about day-to-day life at your company. After all, you can only learn so much about a company’s culture by looking at its website. Adjusting to a new environment isn’t always easy, and behavior that may have been acceptable at a mentee’s previous workplace may not fit at their new one. Even the most well-written employee handbook can’t illustrate company processes and procedures as well as a personal conversation. As the new employee settles into their role, they will learn more about what’s expected of them, but there will still be moments of frustration and guesswork. Simply by inviting and anticipating question, you can make their jobs much easier. Feeling comfortable in a new work environment is the fastest way for someone to improve his or her performance. The need for mentorship will gradually decline, of course, but your coworker’s appreciation for it likely won’t.
It’s important to give constructive feedback to a mentee and let them know when they are doing a good job. When an employee feels like they are improving their skills, they are more likely to feel engaged and fulfilled on a daily basis. Business leaders understand how detrimental turnover can be, so boosting employee morale is a great way to retain talent. Consider your own ideal boss: they are likely someone who serves as a supportive figure rather than an intimidating one. Become the person people turn to for guidance.
The Challenges of Mentoring and Coaching
The benefits of mentoring and coaching are manifold. Everybody likes feeling like an important part of a team, and mentoring is a great way to get an employee more involved at work. As time goes on, the mentee will become more productive and confident in their abilities. There will be times, though, when mentoring can be challenging. Maybe you feel like you’re just not getting through to the mentee. Or that it’s taking up too much of your time. Or maybe you need to coach someone on a situation you’ve never faced yourself, and you feel overwhelmed. At CO2 Partners, we know the power of in-depth coaching, and we are available as your own personal mentors in leadership. If you feel like you need a helping hand to lead at your company, check out our executive coaching services. We coach you to become a better coach yourself, so become a source of inspiration at work with a little help from CO2 Partners!