Mentoring is a specialized development initiative that is different from the usual performance management system. It is a deliberate transfer of existing experience, mindset, skills and knowledge within the organization linked to organizational goals. If successfully implemented, it leads to the strengthening of learning and people values in an organization’s culture. Many world-class corporate and social organizations have established mentoring schemes and credited mentoring as a major reason for improved people performance.
Mentoring is used for orientation of new hires, development of talents & high potentials and development of management executives.
Similarly, mentoring is different from coaching. Coaching can be further differentiated by:
Workplace Coaching which focuses on current performance and is practiced by a superior with direct subordinates interacting on work-related matters and goals.
On the other hand, mentoring focuses on future performance emphasizing individuals’ developmental needs, especially in the soft skill areas, between people from different functions. While different, mentoring and coaching are complimentary; both contributing to the growth in human capital of the organization.
Key Methodology: The mentoring program proposed is a formal structured one as opposed to a loose informal arrangement. A structured mentoring program is characterised by the following:
1. Clear, measurable developmental goals are set.
What distinguishes formal from informal mentoring is the setting and achievement of developmental goals between the mentor and the mentee.
2. Partnerships are specifically arranged.
In formal mentoring programmes, the coordinator or a team matches mentees and mentors either manually or with the help of computers. Prospective participants apply, are screened, and are linked with each other. Usually, the mentors and mentees are from different reporting lines.
3. The partnerships are temporary.
Unlike informal mentoring relationships, which can go on for years and even decades, the mentoring relationships are designed to be short term. Each pair achieves specific goals and then ends or transitions into a different type of relationship. Each program cycle typically lasts 6 to 12 months.
4. Intentionally, the mentee receives most of the help.
The spotlight stays on the mentee through out the entire length of the relationship. The focus is on the mentee’s goals and development, not the mentor’s. However, mentoring is a two-way street, and the mentor gains a great deal from the experience.
5. Pairs may or may not have “chemistry.”
Unlike relationships that just happen over time, these are formed for specific purposes. Consequently, a pair may not feel much “chemistry” at first. Research indicates that chemistry is nice to have but not necessary in formal mentoring. What is required is expertise on the part of the mentor, mutual respect, and genuine willingness to share. In many formal relationships, friendship and “chemistry” eventually occur.
6. Partnerships are monitored and supported.
Usually coordinators informally monitor and keep track of all the partnerships. They phone, e-mail, or meet participants now and then to see if partners are meeting and how they feel about their arrangements and offer appropriate resources. Participants don’t share their confidential conversations with the coordinator.
To successfully setup and implement a structured mentoring program, your organization will require a logical process. But people are ultimately responsible for the execution of any process. Thus, it is vital that your mentors and mentees are trained to perform their respective roles within the program.
DistincTions has created its own proprietary and specialised suite of structured mentoring solutions that have been applied with the following organisations to train and consult their executives in mentoring skills and processes.
The lead consultant is a specialist in mentoring and has conducted numerous mentoring workshops, seminars and talks in Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand both in-house and in collaboration with Singapore Institute of Management, Hong Kong Management Association and Thailand Management Association respectively.
He has helped the following organisations set up their in-house structured mentoring initiatives and trained their mentors and mentees:
– Temasek Holdings (Singapore)
– TNT Express (Singapore)
– Comfort Delgro (Singapore)
– Bank of China Insurance (Hong Kong)
– Mattel (China)
– UL (Asia)
– Far East Organisation
– Pfizer Singapore and Malaysia
– Marsh Indonesia
– International Enterprise Singapore
– Prudential Assurance (Singapore)
– Philips SSMC
– Rhodia Asia Pacific
– National Library Board
– National Park Board
– Housing & Development Board
– Building and Construction Authority
– A*Star (Singapore)
– Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports
– Singapore Tourism Board
– National Computer Systems
– Tsao Foundation
– ABB Industry
– China Light & Power
– Hong Kong Jockey Club
– Hong Kong International Airport
– Leighton Asia
– AON Asia
– Fairwood Holdings
– Hsin Chong Construction
– Shui On Construction and Property
– Cerebos (Thailand)
Distinctions Asia provides various tools and solutions, such as WorkPlace Big Five personality tests, to meet your organization’s consulting and training needs.
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