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Re-thinking Mentoring

I believe in the value of mentoring. I have been both a mentee and a mentor in formal and informal programs. I have been part of the HRPA York Region Mentoring Committee for a few years, assisting in the development and execution of programs for our members and new graduates of partnering post-secondary schools. There…now you know where I stand.

However, before you anticipate this to be the typical “feel-good” post about mentoring, I’ll warn you that it isn’t. As I mentioned, I believe in the concept, but I also believe that most things need to be re-engineered or at least revisited when the environment around is changing. The concept of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” never really sits well with me. Status quo never, ever leads to innovation and creativity.

Recently, at an event for which I was a co-organizer, there were two speakers that made me stop and think about how we view, or execute mentoring. Both were equally impactful, and I encourage you to watch the two 5 minute videos and form your own opinion.

The first speaker is Tania DeSa. Her topic: Mentors Are Overrated. She speaks about “sponsorship” versus “mentorship”, where sponsors truly advocate for the person. She speaks about commitment and accountability. Watch this…

Mentors Are Overrated | Tania DeSa  | DisruptHR Talks from DisruptHR on Vimeo.

Dave Wilkin of Ten Thousand Coffees challenges us to think about Un-Mentoring, where everyone is a teacher and everyone is a student. We need to stop thinking about mentorship as “finding your Yoda who gives you advice every step of the way.” To me, that makes complete sense. If you had to choose whether to be a mentor or a mentee, I’m sure you’d have a difficult time choosing…because most of us want to be both. Having access to a diverse group of people to align all of our conversations is a great way to re-think mentoring. Watch what Dave has to say…

Learn How To Un-Mentor | Dave Wilkin | DisruptHR Talks from DisruptHR on Vimeo.

If you participate in mentoring programs, either formal or informal, in your workplace or associations, I challenge you to think about the needs and outcomes. What is it that you really want to achieve or gain from this endeavour. Is the relationship providing you with what you really want or need. I’m not suggesting that we do away with the title of Mentoring, but rather think how it can evolve to align more closely with the ever-changing world of work around us.

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