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Are you (tor)mentoring your people?
TORMENTORING, v: Giving guidance
that is so painful, the recipient suffers mental
anguish.That may be a funny, made-up
word but sometimes when
managers try to mentor their
people this is how workers
Did you know that 71 per
cent of Fortune 500 companies have a formal
This is according to the Association for Tal-
Oftentimes managers balk at the notion of
developing a mentoring program, mainly be-
cause they think it has to be a time-consuming,
In reality, you can develop a simple, yet
highly effective mentoring programme that
will benefit your organisation and your team
in a number of ways. This month participants in
Crestcom's Bullet Proof® Manager programme
developed their mentoring skills.
Here are the six steps to developing a men-
toring programme that will help grow your
employees into accountable, responsible in-
1. Set aside time
Mentoring does not need to be an overly
time-consuming activity. A meeting once
every other week, for 30 to 60 minutes is all
you really need to cover the important elements
of your mentoring session. Just make sure you
establish that time frame and block it out on
Your mentoring sessions should never move
or be postponed for any reason (short of illness,
etc.) Your team needs to know that you are
committed to their growth and development,
not that they will be cast aside every time a
sudden "fire" pops up.
2. Establish values
Your mentoring sessions are your opportuni-
ty to discuss the organization's values with your
key employees, and how their responsibilities
fit into those values. This is also a great time to
help them clarify their personal values.
Establishing the connection between your
team's personal values and the organisation's
values is a key element to influencing account-
ability and responsibility in your team, thereby
3. Discuss accountability
You definitely want to discuss accountabil-
ity and responsibility during your mentoring
sessions. Make sure there is an understanding
that when they make a mistake, they need to
take responsibility for it. Your employees need
to understand how their actions affect other
people, that their actions don't just affect
them, it affects the rest of the team.
4. Role-playing exercises
Incorporating role playing exercises into
your mentoring programme may sound dif-
ficult, but it can add some fun and provide
real learning opportunity. Think about key
scenarios that the employee may face that
provides opportunities for learning.
Examples could be team conflict resolution
or working with an upset client. Role-playing
exercises help create a higher level of respon-
sibility in your organisation, not to mention
reinforcing the right way to handle tough sit-
5. Develop a career plan
Ask your employee: where do you want to
go? Where do you want to be five years from
now? What are your career goals? These are
important questions for all employees to have
answers to, but even more so for the millenni-
al workforce who are increasingly looking to
move up the corporate ladder quicker and be
recognised by employers.
6. Share your experiences
What has gone right for you as a manager
and leader? Where have you fallen down and
what would you do differently?
Don't just share the good experiences, but
share the bad ones too. Show people how you
have learned from your mistakes, and how they
can learn from theirs. That's part of the men-
7. Consistent questions
A key skill in mentoring is the ability to ask
the right questions and resist the temptation
to give the answers the mentee may be seeking
in order to deal with a difficult situation.
Here are some questions that can help the
mentee to think for himself:
• What has been working for you?
• If you were to do this again what would
you do differently?
• What did you learn about yourself this
And ask these questions consistently, every
time you meet.
By asking consistent questions you can
help your people to focus on the right things
and develop them to move into positions of
responsibilities as it becomes necessary. In
other words, prepare for succession.
Succession planning is a critical area of con-
cern for many organisations, especially those
started by entrepreneurs who have grown over
the years and are looking for planning for their
Also, engagement and retention of employ-
ees has become an ever more difficult chal-
lenge. Organisational leaders are increasingly
becoming aware of the leadership skills gap in
their teams. Mentorship programs are a great
way to fill this gap.
Through a formal mentorship programme for
your "high potentials" your organisation can
grow talent in-house and meet the challenges
as transitions occur in different positions. You
can tap into your mentorship pool to promote
or move cross functionally to fill the gaps.
Many company leaders and human resources
managers recognise that their organisation's
leadership skills gap continues to grow, but
most do not have a plan for how they will solve
this critical issue.
Focusing on your leadership pipeline through
a formal mentorship programme can help fill
the gaps in the areas you need to develop talent.
But the key to mentoring someone is to re-
member it is not about you but it is about them.
As Steven Spielberg said, "The delicate bal-
ance of mentoring someone is not creating
them in your own image, but giving them the
opportunity to create themselves"
Mentoring engrains key areas of values,
personal responsibility, and accountability.
So spend time in mentoring your team to so-
lidify organisational values, clarify their own
personal values, and coach them on how to
handle scenarios and plan their career path.
Your commitment to mentorship will result
in a more impactful, productive, loyal, and
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