One of the most effective ways to guide and train staff on the job is to incorporate a mentorship or coaching programme within your business.
You might think you have to be an expert in your job to be a mentor, someone who has been there and done it all, someone who has the highest qualifications and accolades, but that’s actually not the case.
A mentor is someone who has a certain amount of experience, discipline, experience, and someone who has the right character to train, encourage, and motivate another employee. A mentor doesn’t have to be a member of management, and a mentor doesn’t have to be the person who has been in the job the longest, it is simply someone who has the right personality and skills to encourage another person.
As a manager, choosing the right mentor to help guide a new employee, or perhaps a young employee who needs to gain more work experience, really comes down to assessing the employees you have and their personality traits, as well as the amount of experience they have.
Of course, a mentor needs to have a significant amount of experience in the job they’re doing, but it doesn’t have to be the most out of the entire office. The person who has the most experience might not have the right personality traits to be a mentor.
The main personality traits of a high quality mentor are:
- Someone who is able to motivate others
- A role model
- A hard working person who leads by example from their office chairs
- A good communicator who can explain well
- Kind and understanding
Patience is key when acting as a mentor or coach to another employee, but being approachable and able to communicate well is also vital.
Check out this video which explains in more detail about mentorship and how to mentor/coach effectively.
Mentorship is a good way to cut down on expensive staff training, and is also a far more effective and hands-on way to learn. Having a mentor or a coach means that employees have someone in-house who they can go to if they’re struggling or they’re not sure how to do something. That means they’re less likely to make mistakes, because there is always someone they feel comfortable asking, and their mentor will understand their specific strengths and weaknesses, tailoring explanations to their needs.
Within the contemporary office environment, mentorship is becoming more and more common, especially with mentoring as part of a team. In this case, the employee feels they are not alone, they’re not struggling to pick up the ropes of a new role which they don’t quite understand yet, because they have team members and a mentor around them to guide and advise. This boosts morale and confidence and ensures that they are up to speed far quicker, compared to someone who is left floundering, with an instruction manual and a one day training course to their name!
Arranging your office tables to ensure that employees are seated close to their mentor is a good idea, to avoid having to get up and walk over, therefore affecting productivity and disruption within the office. The mentor and mentee should also have regular catch ups, so questions can be asked and feedback can be given.
What is the Difference Between Coaching And Mentoring?
We should touch on this, because whilst they’re very similar, there is one subtle difference. Mentorship tends to go on for much longer than coaching and is more informal in nature, i.e. on the job. However, coaching is more formal, with a programme usually arranged beforehand, and lasts for a shorter amount of time.
Despite the differences, both are useful for helping new and young employees find their feet, as well as helping to boost the confidence of someone who may be struggling for other reasons.