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Five Traits to Help Identify Mentors in Your Organization

An effective mentoring program provides a wide range of business benefits:

  • Facilitated onboarding. Mentoring speeds up the process of bringing on new hires as well as redeploying existing employees into new lines of work.
  • Increased employee satisfaction and retention. Research has shown that employees who participate in mentoring programs have higher job satisfaction and reduced turnover.
  • Improved employee productivity. When employees are mentored, they can get answers to common problems quickly – without wasting time on rediscovering or re-inventing solutions.
  • Effective career growth/succession planning. Mentoring programs help employees reach their full career potential, grooming them to fill key roles as part of an organization’s succession plan.
  • Knowledge management and retention. Mentoring promotes effective knowledge sharing, to reduce the risk of losing critical skills and knowledge when employees leave.

Obviously, mentors can play an important role in ensuring your company’s continued success.  But while identifying a budding protégé may be straightforward, identifying a potential mentor can be more complex.  Whether that person is you, one of your managers, or an outside expert, a mentor should possess the following professional and personal attributes:

  1. Senior-level business experience. To provide guidance, the expert should have several years experience working in senior corporate positions.  At a minimum, the expert should be a professional peer to the protégé.
  2. Interpersonal and political “know-how.” The expert ought to be proficient in handling all sorts of complex interpersonal dynamics within the context of office politics.  To be an effective trainer, the expert must be able to help the protégé navigate the tricky political waters of his organization.
  3. Integrity and confidentiality. Professional development involves discussing high-level, strategic, off-the-record information, as well as sensitive personal issues.  Honesty and discretion are essential when broaching these confidential topics.
  4. Organizational and personal insight. The expert must have an in-depth understanding of the company’s objectives, needs and hierarchy.  Equally, he must also appreciate the protégé’s strengths, weaknesses and goals.  To achieve professional development goals, the trainer must align both the company’s and the protégé’s interests.
  5. Flexibility and ingenuity. When egos, ambitions and agendas collide, sparks fly.  What works for an organization one day may be thrown out the window the next.  An expert trainer must be able to shift gears, develop solutions on the fly, throw out tactics that prove ineffective and come up with new ones – fast.  He must be comfortable dealing with uncertainty to navigate a corporate environment rife with change.

A.R. Mazzotta Professional Development and Coaching Services
As a premier Connecticut employment agency, A.R. Mazzotta offers a variety of HR resources – including coaching for executives, key staff and work teams – to assist your company through the entire employee cycle.  Contact us today to learn more.