Mentorship – my experience, your success!

Part of the learning progression of every professional is the deft shift of understanding and belief as to why people stay with an organization. Early on, there is a strong assertion and conviction that people follow the money and stay or leave for that reason alone. As we mature, we know and admit we are wrong. A multitude of factors influence the decision to stay or leave, but we come to realize that one of the strongest reasons (if not the strongest) is the relationship with people we have in an organization.

Friends – yes. Peers with like-minded objectives – yes too. Managers who build our capabilities and help us climb the career ladder with learning, recognition and enjoyment – a double yes to that! But above all, it is the time and effort our mentors spend sharing their knowledge that bind and convince us of the closeness of our professional home to our hearts.

Personally, I have been very lucky in having senior leaders spend valuable time with me, sharing their personal and professional experiences that helped them climb their summits. They helped me recognize and determine my strengths, gave me brutally candid but constructive criticism that lent a whole new dimension to career support. My reminiscence holds a fervent prayer that every earnest and diligent professional gets the same good fortune.

That brings me to the question of leadership responsibility (nay, obligation?) to mentorship. How many of us as seniors voluntarily take on this happy activity? And how do we approach it – right from the intent, content and execution?

Intent. This goes beyond focus and objectives. One must have both an intense belief and a passionate urge to make a positive difference in the lives of one’s mentee(s). And yes, it is really about your mentee – you do draw upon your experience, wisdom and foresight, but please, the mentee is the star.

Content and execution are best tackled simultaneously. You could be in either a casual mentor-like role, or a formally assigned mentor.  The ‘modus operandi’ changes in both scenarios, but the pleasant burden of responsibility they carry is no less.

Spontaneity is an awesome friend when it comes to mentorship. Keep your conversations spontaneous. Reflect on your experience to tickle the possibilities and help her apply your wisdom to her challenges. Reenergize him with the confidence and belief that he can rise above his situation.

Your mentee is the prime character. Understand him, connect with her – build a relationship with trust. Today’s business environment is rife with generational and cultural divides from across the world. Trust will be the critical bridge.

Help them understand how the bigger organizational picture can map with their work ethic, values and expectations. Subtly and non-invasively, get to know their moral compass – what matters most to them, to what beat of the drum do they march, both in their career and life priorities? Help them pin their work to where they are in their lives today – this will help chart their next steps with enthusiasm and conviction.

Every encounter is a whisper of a mentoring opportunity. Keep both the obvious and the subtle channels of communication open. Make them feel comfortable opening up. Yours is not to solve or solution – yours is but to reflect their dreams, ambitions, capabilities and experiences as meaningful feedback that they pluck from your tree of perspectives.

And then, you realize, while the physical time frame of your mentoring assignment could be finite, its spirit and essence can extend throughout a mentee’s career.

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About Janaki

As an individual, I love life, friends, books, music, movies, travel, meeting people. I believe that one is only as old as one feels, and that one can find at least one redeeming feature even in the person one dislikes intensely. As a professional, I have, after a 25+ year corporate stint in people management, taken a shot to placing an independent signature in my passion of guiding people and potential to performance and organization success View all posts by Janaki

4 responses to “Mentorship – my experience, your success!

  • Damu

    Fully agree Janaki. Well written article.

  • Ilango Djearamane

    Excellent Article Madam. Fact has been revealed in your article. Expecting much more facts from your experience in the upcoming articles.

  • Somasajeevan T K

    Content Intent and execution is a great concept in mentoring. I am a lucky person in that i got best mentors for me all the time and i was and am a good mentor according to my mentees feed back….they are now present and successfully running their businesses career and life GLOBALLY. . It is by far innate and is in the mentor himself . Plus if you get exposure and life teaches you then you can be a good mentor. never take up MENTORSHIP if you are not committed ,patient stressed out . There is no dialogue today between two people mainly between the manager and his employee. Monologue is not dialogue. There has to be content context connect and communicate….Janaki s beauty is that she jsut puts it there not more not less just mention it and leave and no stress or force on her writings….simplicity is her USP and i had the great opportunity of mentoring her some time….

  • MM

    Having played the role of a mentor and mentee, at different points through my career, i fully endorse your views on the power of Mentorship. However that being a reason why people will stay on in an organisation, is a dated phenomenon. Nothing stops me from nurturing the relationship beyond the boundaries of a particular organisation. And with the array of social networking tools available today, i wont even miss their in-person presence!

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