April '20

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8 THE SHOP APRIL 2020 8 THE SHOP APRIL 2020 individual exhibiting a specific workplace development need. Maybe the person's sales or evaluation skills need improvement." Once that skill is improved, the coaching initiative is usually over. Mentoring, in contrast, is a longer-term effort intended to help individuals engage more successfully with their workplace environment. It often serves to assist a mentee's climb of the career ladder. As such, it tends to promote a spirit of loyalty in the business organization. Coaching and mentoring make different demands on the person being trained. "A coach will ask questions such as 'What do you think your next step is?'" says Star. "The idea is to empower the coached indi- viduals to come up with their own solu- tions. A mentor, on the other hand, might make a more direct statement, such as 'This is what you need to do.'" Select the right candidates for each ini- tiative. "If you try to mentor someone who needs coaching, they will not learn," says Star. And the opposite holds. "If you try to coach someone who needs mentoring, their needs will not be met, and they will feel frustrated. Their job satisfaction will deteriorate, and they won't stick around." TEACH SUCCESS So, what specific skills should your men- toring program teach? Start with the vaga- ries of company culture. "Businesses are like playing fields," says Frankel. "There are rules, boundaries and strategies that have to be employed if players—in this case, employees—want to be successful. Most often these are not things that are written down, but rather things that people learn from observing and working closely with colleagues." Not knowing the rules of the game can be dangerous. New employees—and even some seasoned ones—might not realize they are going out of bounds until their careers or reputations have been damaged. Examples? Weiss offers one: "A mentee might ask 'Is it appropriate for me to bring up a certain topic at the next employee meeting?'" Getting the right guidance on such a matter is important, says Weiss. "If you fail to speak up about a crit- ical matter at the meeting you might be regarded as unobservant. But if you make the wrong statement, or the right statement at the wrong time, people may feel you lack sensitivity to the work environment." Here are some other common mentoring topics: • How should a newly promoted indi- vidual deal with old friends who have suddenly become subordinates? "While new supervisors cannot hang out with their former peers, sometimes it is not clear what interactions they should have," says Weiss. "A mentor can help the newly promoted individual sidestep the old familiarities without being rude." • Who are the influential players in each department? What is the best way to approach each, given their personal management styles? • How are decisions made in the orga- nization? Is there a common process by which new ideas are vetted? What is the best way to introduce a new idea without ruffling feathers? • How, and with whom, should a mentee network to get ahead? What players have the ears of the top people? • What steps should a person take to improve his or her professional stance? Earn a higher degree? Teach workshops? Solve a workplace problem? Maybe mentor others? SHARE EXPERTISE So, what makes a great mentor? Before anything else, the individual must have expertise worth sharing. "Great mentors have something to offer because they have achieved success in their of Mentoring Benefits The Mentoring is a longer-term effort intended to help individuals engage more successfully with their workplace environment. Mentoring tends to promote a spirit of loyalty in the business organization.

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