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Mentoring--Valuable for you, your company, and the mentee

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« Outsourcing--When it works, when it doesn'tIt's all in the Risk »

Mentoring--Valuable for you, your company, and the mentee

03/02/10

Mentoring is a practice that seems to come and go depending on the business cycle. When things are good, more people profess to be interested in "giving back" and helping others. When things are not so good, mentoring takes a back seat to pretty much everything else.

But there is always value in mentoring and it is one of those activities which has benefits for everyone involved (and those not involved). When you take time to help someone better understand the business, their role, the culture, or the world, everyone benefits. "How?" you may ask? Here are some of the ways:

How do you benefit?

  • You may not have to explain the item again to the same person, saving you time in the future
  • This person may be able to pass along the knowledge to others (a knowledge web)
  • By explaining something, you may better understand the issue yourself (teaching is the best route to learning)
  • You have a sense of accomplishment

How does the mentee benefit?

  • S/he learns something new, which empowers that person
  • S/he is more capable at their job
  • S/he may bring a fresh viewpoint to the issue, which can benefit decision-making

How does the company benefit?

  • Employees see the benefits of mentoring and continue the process (creating a mentoring culture)
  • Employees may engage in mentoring outside of the company and thus encourage others' interest in the company
  • As employees move on to other companies, they take a mentoring culture with them which can lead to stronger relationships between companies over time.

Mentoring is not a "time waster" and can produce benefits far greater than the investment. Make mentoring part of your daily routine--mentoring doesn't have to be formal to be effective.


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Don shares his experience and ideas about how to get the most value from your IT function. Note: The views and opinions expressed here are those of Don and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of his clients or employers.

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