I’ve been asked numerous times by my business partners what the difference was between mentoring and coaching. While coaching is short-term, performance driven and task oriented; mentoring is relationship oriented, long-term and development driven. Coaching is used when an organization is seeking to develop its employees in specific competencies using performance management tools and getting the immediate manager involved. Whereas mentoring is used by organizations to more completely develop its employees in ways that are additional to the acquisition of specific skills and competencies. The mentor is not the immediate manager. In fact, the mentor can be a person outside the organization.
It could be pretty lonely once you get at the top. Who do you turn to for support when you become “satisfied” and lose the source of motivation that helped you conquer the 1st place?
A Mentor Is the Person To Go To
Many organizations have implemented mentorship programs and have found that a supportive atmosphere can improve employee morale and loyalty, thereby helping to reduce turnover and boost productivity. High employee turnover costs organizations thousands of dollars in the form of recruitment and training of replacements.
A Multigenerational Workplace
A mentor can help a new employee adjust to the culture in an organization. Gen Ys may not be accustomed to an organization’s practices and acceptable behaviors. The mentor can provide the Gen Ys with information on the corporate culture, organizational structure and procedures that will help the Gen Ys settle into their role in the business. Organizations who assign a mentor to new employees during the adjustment period to help them get up to speed on company procedures and policies, experiment a much higher retention rate than organizations that don’t invest on mentorship.
A mentor can uncover and deal with blind spots and denial and provide the mentee with a fresh perspective on how to handle challenges related to work. From time to time, we all need a reality-check to be sure that we do not allow ourselves to confuse our denial maps with the actual territory.
Organizations can align the goals of the business with a mentoring program to gain a competitive edge. For example, the mentoring program can target new employees in product development when the goal of the organization is to bring new products to the market. Developing employees in weak areas of the company can also benefit the business’s organizational goals.
While a mentorship relationship may be informal, some may feel like they want to have a deeper, long-term partnership. If so, here are some tips for being a good mentee:
- As a courtesy to the mentor, be sure to do your homework in advance and outline your expectations, especially regarding how frequently you hope to meet or chat.
- As a mentee, first ask yourself what you hope to gain from your mentor. Be authentic. After all, the more authentic the more you will benefit from your mentor and the less lonely you will feel once you reach the top.