Currently, where companies are focusing on culture, better recruiting processes, and learning and development, why is there a stigma on ‘mentors’? There are many reasons why people don’t become a mentor. For example, Steve Browne states in “What’s a Mentor and Why Don’t More People Mentor?”,
• It takes too much time
• It’s contrived
• A lack of an existing relationship
• The role isn’t clear
Mentoring can be beneficial for both the mentor and mentee. A mentor/mentee relationship does not happen overnight, it takes work! This is probably why more companies aren’t using this type of training.
“It is a learning and development partnership between someone with vast experience and someone who wants to learn. Mentorship experience and relationship structure affect the “amount of psychosocial support, career guidance, role modeling, and communication that occurs in the mentoring relationships in which the protégés and mentors engaged” as stated on Wikipedia.
Many companies have a mentorship program, but they don’t seem to be working that well. Some feel that a mentor needs to be a supervisor or upper management to be affective. Not true. A mentor can be another person in the department who simply has the experience and knowledge. Another falsity is that the mentor must be older than the mentee. Again, not true.
The mentor/mentee relationship should have a mutual respect in learning from one another. The relationship is to further a person’s personal development, and not their mental health. As Browne states, “Mentoring is not a psychology session. It should focus much more on professional development and lessons learned than trying to repair something.”
Although there seems to be some negative connotations floating around, the mentorship relationship can be a positive experience.
I’d love to hear what your company does with their mentor program, or if they don’t have one how you feel this could benefit? Leave a comment and let me know!
Shelly Wallace Johnson, aPHR