January is designated National Mentoring Month so what better time than the start of a brand new year to take a look at ways in which you can make improvements to your mentoring skills.
Mentoring, which was once something that might only have been found in much larger companies, is much more commonplace nowadays, and is something that many companies are actively looking to not only have in place but also improve all the time. There have been a number of studies on the subject and the biggest takeaway from these is that those individuals who are mentored are in fact more likely to be promoted than those who are not, and those who mentor are also more likely to be promoted.
Consider being more “virtual”
If there is one thing that we have all learnt from the pandemic it is that a lot of things which we thought could only be done in person, or work that could only be done in an office, can in fact be done virtually. This opens up a huge wealth of opportunities that employers are now beginning to tap into in order to help improve working conditions for employees. Mentoring is one of these things that can also have great results when done virtually. It is no longer necessary to have both mentor and mentee working in the same office space, now the best matches can be made from within your organisation regardless of location, offering the best mentoring experience to everyone.
Mentorship should never be looked at simply as a one-way street. Whilst it is true that the mentor will be offering lots of helpful advice and support to their mentee throughout the entire process there is also much to be gained by reverse mentorship. This can come in the form of feedback from mentees to mentors and can provide valuable ways in which both communication and leaderships skills can be improved.
Build skills for the future
As we have already mentioned the workplace has changed significantly in the last couple of years and whilst many of those changes introduced during the pandemic were only put in place out of necessity, and were certainly not meant to be permanent solutions, employees for the most part want at least some of them to stay. A vital part of mentoring will be identifying those skills that are most important to the company you work for and helping to build them in your mentees. It will be important to see where there have been new skills developed as a result of changes like working from home, and more frequently remote working when people have begun to return to the workplace and using these to the best possible advantage.
Diversity and inclusion
With companies being ever watchful that they are implementing improved diversity and inclusion policies it is important to ensure that these are carried over into any mentorship programs that are being run within a company as well. An improved coverage from any mentorship program can only mean good things for the future of any company.