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Three years ago, research carried out by software company Sage found that one quarter of UK businesses highlighted a shortage of information on mentoring as a barrier to its widespread adoption. It also revealed that a similar proportion of respondents (22 per cent) believed a “lack of proof” that mentoring could help businesses to grow, hindered its uptake.
Anecdotally, it appears that since then the potential of mentoring is more readily recognised but in Rialto’s experience this powerful intervention is still frequently under-used by many organisations. While it has emerged from the shadow of coaching (with which it was often confused), it still needs to raise its profile, which is why we are pleased to celebrate today (27 October 2017) as National Mentoring Day.
The day was founded by Chelsey Baker, an award-winning business mentor in her bid to promote recognition and celebrate mentoring all its forms. Baker’s aim is to encourage interactive discussions, events, social media activities and facilitate “shared vision and synergies” for everyone involved in the industry and to showcase the benefits of both being a mentor and being mentored.
The day is also designed to encourage events and networking to take place across the business world. Baker’s overarching goal is for mentoring to be accessible and available to any business, individual or group that needs it.
Of course, mentoring isn’t only confined to a role in business but also in schools and colleges, the voluntary sector, communities, sport, prisons and government. It is a force for good and can bring many benefits to society as a whole. It has also evolved from the traditional format of learning from an elder and more experienced person.
Reverse mentoring, reportedly popularised by GE’s Jack Welch, is increasingly used and valued by organisations. This sees younger members of staff mentoring more senior people and has been put to great use in areas such as social media.
It is not an exaggeration to suggest that mentoring changes lives, careers as well as the success paths of organisations. And at a time of so much uncertainty and change in the world, mentors have never been more important. Whether to act as a sounding board or source of reassurance, a mentor can make a huge difference to an individual’s self-esteem and confidence as well as self-awareness and this can contribute in spades to improved performance.
Mentoring fits well with the shift towards individuals and organisations being more prepared to share knowledge, build ecosystems and generally take a more collaborative approach to how they operate. In so many ways, the case for mentoring is a no-brainer and an ultimate win-win if conducted properly. Why wouldn’t it make sense to formalise a relationship from which both sides can potentially gain so much: the mentee in terms of learning and the mentor in terms of satisfaction and fulfilment?
So that just leaves me to wish you all, Happy National Mentoring Day, and to encourage anyone reading this who hasn’t considered it as a worthwhile option either as a mentee or mentor to explore its benefits.
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