When you think of the role of mentoring, do you see it as being part of your leadership training program? Does your organisation have a continuous learning environment? When you provide training to your employees is there a means to follow-up to see if they have implemented what they learned – were there changes in behaviour?
A lot of questions and you might be surprised at some of the answers. Let’s take a look at an organisation that I observed.
They were a growing organisation that was merging/acquiring other smaller organisations as part of a central service model initiative. The personnel were not as much at the forefront of everyone’s mind as the end result was. Various people found themselves in leadership and management roles and in most cases with little previous experience. The solution – well of course, let’s send them off on some expensive leadership and management training.
So, after an extensive training regime they complete the training and then are told, “You have been trained as a leader and a manager, now go forth and lead and manage!” Now does this sound familiar to you or perhaps not? After a period of time, we would assume that we would see some behavioural changes in how they deal with people and how they lead by example. In some, where that budding talent of leadership was hidden, there were changes, but in others there was no change.
In a continuous learning environment there would have been a feedback loop and perhaps more appropriately an assessment done to see if what they had lea rnt in the training was being used in the work place. In this particular situation such was not the case. In most cases even if we were minus the feedback loop/assessment process having a mentor assigned to each new manager/leader to assist them in their professional growth would have been a positive step to the entire leadership training process. As part of the mentoring process we cannot loose site of the personal growth perspective as that has a huge impact on the professional growth as well. Imagine the return on investment this organisation would have seen had they implemented the mentoring process!
One easy way to remember the value that mentoring can bring to an organisation is this simple equation:
Manger/Leader = Mentor
Employee = Mentee
Don’t get me wrong mentoring can exist in other situations. Mentoring can play a role in all our lives and more than likely has – just not in a formal structured way. This illustration is to show that mentoring does have a place in leadership training. Mentoring as part of the leadership training process will assist in providing assurance that the organisation will see a return on its investment.
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