The "Common-Sense" part of Common-Sense Workplace Mentoring


This post is excerpted from "Common-Sense Workplace Mentoring," Chapter 2.

By definition, there is no cookie-cutter approach to mentoring. Each of the businesses I've studied has evolved its mentoring process according to the organization's and learners' needs. The mentoring content of each is significantly different from the others. I have discovered, though, that all of these businesses share fundamental components of mentoring. I call those The Six Building Blocks of Successful Common-Sense Mentoring. 

  1. Evaluate people's strengths, needs and aspirations individually. We all learn uniquely. The development process is much more effective and efficient when it can be shaped to the person. 
  2. Create opportunities to learn on the job. We learn by doing. Learning is retained at a higher level when just-in-time and directly applied to the work.
  3. Define teaching and learning roles. We learn with clear expectations. Review and revise continually to reflect progress.
  4. Give direct feedback. We learn with encouragement. The parties need to exchange feedback, openly and continually to stay on track with each other and the learning goals.
  5. Measure progress. We learn when we build on success. Create incremental measurements to give frequent and meaningful marks of success.
  6. Reward the team effort. We learn when we feel energized. Install a culture of mentoring by recognizing mentee and mentor efforts and successes.
Have you experienced these elements of mentoring? Which have been most valuable to you? What other elements do you believe are fundamental?

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