By Anja van den Berg
Top talent needs more and better mentoring than they’re receiving.
According to a topical study, the supply-demand imbalance is severe: while more than 75% of professionals want to have a mentor, only 37% have one.
Moreover, most mentors don’t have as marked an impact as they could: their attention are mostly narrowly focused on career advancement.
Most of the research concentrates on how mentorship is practised in the workplace and how company-wide programmes are administered, says Rick Woolworth.
Woolworth is a cofounder of an organisation with a mission of mentoring emerging leaders.
He adds that there is a remarkably small pool of analysis or advice on how to mentor the person as a whole. Mentorship studies seldom include discussions about behaviour, values, relationships, parenting, finances, and even spiritual life.
Mentoring the whole person takes more effort, more time and more thought. However, the holistic approach is dramatically more effective in helping people fulfil their true potential.
A valuable area to explore is the mentee’s innate gifts, aptitudes, personality characteristics and passions. Essentially, as the mentor, you should unpack your mentee’s psychological toolkit. Help them achieve self-awareness by taking advantage of personality assessment tools. These include Myers-Briggs, the Enneagram personality assessment, and Johnson O’Connor’s aptitude tests.
Effective mentors develop a storehouse of probing questions on various subjects. Often a mentee can help himself overcome a difficulty once he starts thinking about alternatives. Probing questions is an ideal way to teach him how to fish. On-point questions can enable him to identify any hidden issues and come up with a course of action on his own.
Examples include the following:
- What keeps you up at night?
- Can you see yourself being stimulated and fulfilled on your current career path for the next five years?
- What do you do to “reboot” so that the busyness and tech overload in your life does not result in burnout?
- Who has been most influential in your life?
- What did you love doing in high school?
- What would you have done differently in your life if you had the chance?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your marriage or romantic relationship right now?
- How was your relationship with your parents?
- Were you raised in a particular faith or religious tradition?
Of all the ways you can spend your time, mentoring has one of the highest returns on investment, Woolworth emphasises. “It enables you to take everything you have learned and pay it forward, shaping the next generation of leaders.”
By mentoring the whole person and not limiting your exchanges to career matters only, you will have an even more significant impact on your mentees — and everyone they influence ─ for years to come.
Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2019/08/great-mentors-focus-on-the-whole-person-not-just-their-career
Olivet Nazarene University: https://online.olivet.edu/research-statistics-on-professional-mentors