Mentoring – Guest Post by Donna Messer

Mentoring is increasingly being recognized as important in career and small business development. It has been acknowledged that companies thrive when they have some form of mentoring as part of their growth. The trend toward mentoring has grown dramatically throughout the world and today, many companies automatically assigning a mentor to new employees.

The following provides a brief overview, understanding and insight into just exactly what mentoring means when it comes to career and small business development.

Is there a difference between Coaching and Mentoring?

The two terms seem to be increasingly linked and are often used interchangeably.

Coaching: we see a business, corporate or executive coach in much the way we see a sports coach. This person sets specific goals and objectives, sees what you need to do to achieve them and works with you on target setting professional and personal development, expansion of your skills base and offers practical and relevant advice and guidance.

Mentoring: a mentor can almost be seen as a wise, experienced friend or favourite aunt or uncle type person. A mentor leads by example and is a role model. They might be very good at helping you see the big picture and understand the politics of the organization you work for.

The key is that whether you use a coach or mentor, you get access to unbiased support and guidance.

Benefits of Mentoring

When you work with a mentor you benefit in many ways:

  • Have a safe place to offload
  • Develop skills you already have
  • Learn new skills
  • Gain insight into yourself and the people you work with
  • Get unbiased, confidential support
  • Gain fresh perspectives on your issues
  • Get advice, suggestions and options

Mentoring Theory

You can’t pigeonhole people or impose a template of how mentoring should look.

A good mentor should:

  • Maintain confidentiality
  • Excellent listening and responding skills
  • Non-judgmental
  • Objective outlook
  • Advises rather than tells
  • Has the individuals best interests at heart
  • Makes no promises about outcomes
  • Has a high degree of integrity

Using a Mentor

  • Meet with them on a regular basis
  • Rely on them for guidance, not answers
  • Be honest
  • A mentor isn’t a dumping ground

Donna Messer is a coach, mentor and motivator she can be reached at www.connectuscanada.com

To see one of Donna’s recent mentoring success stories, check out this recent article in the Toronto Star

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