The Power of Mentorship – For you and your business

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Featured Columnist, Whistler Question on August 23, 2012

Mentorship is a hot trend, and although traditionally defined as “a developmental partnership through which one person shares knowledge, skills, information and perspective to foster the personal and professional growth of someone else,” it can be adapted to suit today’s business world.

To simplify it, I like John C. Crosby’s quote that, “mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”

Generally, there are three types of mentorship relationships:  one-on-one mentoring, peer or group mentoring, and lastly, corporate mentoring programs. One-on-one mentoring is usually more of an advisory role, whereby the mentor shares their experience and wisdom.   The mentor is quite often an expert in a field, industry or perhaps an internal resource in a company.  Their role is to share best practices that have worked for them.  This role differs from a coach, in that the mentor offers answers whereby a coach asks questions that can potentially challenge individuals to change their behaviour.

Peer or group mentoring and corporate programs have similiarities, in that they consist of several people coming together to share experiences and knowledge, at the same time challenging each other’s assumptions.  Added advantages are the chance to have a sounding board, as well as creating alliances and meaningful networking opportunities.

A couple events exist locally to learn more about mentorship and the value it brings to both individuals and organizations.

In September, BC Human Resources Management Association (BCHRMA), the certifying body of the Certified Human Resources Professional designation is holding an informative roundtable on the importance of mentoring programs.  Jen Glavas, owner of Summit People Solutions and Chair of BCHRMA’s Sea to Sky Roundtable felt companies would benefit from gathering information on how strong mentor programs can engage employees, and consequently reduce turnover.  Jen expressed that, “effective mentor programs are a great way to succession plan in an organization, and perhaps even more importantly, teach new employees both hard and soft skills.  It’s really that emotional intelligence piece that results from relationship building.  It creates a win-win for both employer and employee.”  Email her at jen@summitpeoplesolutions.com for details on September’s Roundtable.

Lastly, Lighthouse’s Mentor Network is set to launch new mentoring groups after a successful first program last year.  Focused on uniting women from non-competing businesses, the participants benefit from gathering and sharing best practices and ideas to move more quickly to successful results.  Jump over to the mentor section of our web site for details and to register for an online information session that will walk you through highlights of the program.

There is no doubt that strength comes in numbers, and mentoring could very well provide you with the support to navigate the challenges of running your business or determining your career path.

As Principal of Lighthouse Visionary Strategies, Cathy Goddard offers small business consulting, learning workshops and engaging Open Forums.  She is the founder of Lighthouse’s Mentor Network, providing multiple mentor groups to local professionals.  Cathy writes this column for the Whistler Question newspaper and can be reached at cathy@lighthousevisionary.com or 604.905.8660

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