These same concepts apply outside of a formal mentoring environment. Take the aforementioned executive roundtable format; that same scenario can be transformed by incorporating level-appropriate content and basic facilitation. A roundtable discussion with a clear topic and agenda along with a few prepared questions and open Q&A time will ensure there is two-way dialogue. Attendees equipped with conversation starters are also more apt to ask questions once the dialogue ensues.
“By infusing mentoring module and seminar/webinar content into a mentoring conversation, mentees can more easily apply thought-provoking concepts to the reality of the workplace,” said Dan Sax, human resources director and a mentor in an internal mentoring program at InterContinental Hotels Group. “With these tools, I find it easier to relate specific stories from my own experiences that demonstrate how the concepts apply to actual events in the office. It creates a jumping off point for great conversation.”
Senior leaders sharing their insights and perspectives through mentoring is a key component for successful leadership development. A mentor-mentee partnership can help to accelerate the mentee’s growth, provide unique insights for the mentor and help to build a pipeline of high-performing leaders. But far too often, this critical transfer of knowledge and cultural awareness is managed informally with moderate success.
Structure and content increase senior leader and high potential engagement, whether in casual group formats or one-on-one mentoring. Formal mentoring approaches provide a format for a senior leader to share knowledge and experience with an individual looking to take that next career step.
For mentoring relationships to be successful in today’s highly demanding workplace, mentors and mentees need structure in their relationships. Without a framework, both parties can be left with a feeling of unfulfilled potential.
In business, quality leadership is paramount to success. Yet, according to DDI’s 2011 Global Leadership Forecast, only 18 percent of HR professionals said their company had enough talent to meet its future leadership needs.