Why Mentorship?

Mentorship can be one of the most valuable retention and engagement tools for an organization. Mentoring encompasses the skill and art of helping someone improve their performance and reach their full career potential. Mentoring can include teaching, advising, giving feedback, offering suggestions and wisdom, to asking questions and listening.  Unlike coaching, which generally takes a more non-directive approach (asking questions and listening) with the  person solving his or her problems, mentoring is more directive, since the mentor is usually imparting knowledge on a less experienced person. Mentors, unlike coaches, are usually in the same profession, although not always, depending of the subject matter of the mentoring.

Like coaches, great mentors help minimize the “noise” and distractions that are getting in the way of someone’s ability to figure out what’s going on and what to do about it. Great mentors know how and when to ask the right question at the right time, when to give feedback, when to advise and how to get the mentee to focus their priorities for career growth.

However, there are a few cautions if you are a mentor:

1. Mentors have to let go of the belief that their job is to have all of the answers.
Mentors will not have all of the answers and should not be expected to make personal, career, or other decisions that only the mentee should make. We all like to be advice columnists when it comes to other peoples' problems. The problem is, when you don’t give employees the opportunity to think and solve their own problems, they don’t develop. Instead, they become dependent and never reach their full potential. Mentors should impart their knowledge and wisdom but only the mentee can make the right decision for their life.

2. Mentors have to believe that every employee has the potential to grow and improve.
If the mentor doesn’t believe that the person has the potential to grow and improve, there is no need to mentor.  

3. Mentoring takes time.
Yes, it’s quicker and simpler to tell and give advice, but mentoring does take more time and patience upfront to help the individual understand the reasoning behind the advice and counsel given, so they can absorb that understanding and incorporate it into their own thoughts and actions.

4. Mentors must be effective.
You can’t just throw a switch and be an effective mentor. You need to have a framework, and it takes practice. Mentors can use the GROW model as their framework to provide a road map for just about any mentoring conversation.

  • G = goal. “Tell me what you want to get out of this discussion?”
  • R = reality. “So what’s actually happening?”
  • O = options. “What options exist or should be considered?”
  • W = what’s next. “What are you going to do about it? By when?”

Mentoring is an important investment in people that has a higher ROI than just about any other management skill. As people learn, they develop, their performance improves, they are more satisfied and engaged, and the organizations they work for are more successful.

Please consider being a mentor or being mentored to improve the HR profession, which we all share.  GSHRM has some very seasoned members of the profession that can give back to those early in their HR careers.  Contact Kelly Scheib at kellyscheib@tindallcorp if you are interested in being a mentor or being mentored. It could be a life changing process for you.

Thank you, for your involvement in GSHRM,

2017 GSHRM President