When I present Mentoring as one of my services, it is not always understood, at least not at first. Often confused with coaching or training, many think mentoring is confined to sport dressing rooms or the kind of experience a seasoned Chairperson or CEO informally passes on to a budding senior manager. Yet, in today’s modern corporate environments, mentoring has taken on a more formal place in building company culture, particularly in succession planning, change management and growth.
What is mentoring in corporate environments, anyway?
In practical terms, mentoring can vary from supporting individuals take life changing career decisions, to preparing promising employees for their next big promotion or shifting responsibilities when the company is undergoing a change. At a higher level, it also serves as a very vital sounding board for Chairpersons and CEOs, who often find it hard to open up to their professional peers, and would rather have an external advisor or consultant, trained in the art of mentoring.
A BRAIN TO PICK
Usually with years of experience of working within corporate environments, mentors can offer general or industry specific advice related to management and operations, sharing best practices and tricks of the trade, based on their experience.
AN EAR TO LISTEN
More than simply unloading our issues onto someone else, very much like a confidant or friend, when vocalizing our inner thoughts and struggles, we get a step closer to understanding our reality and blockers. Mentors provide a challenging environment to look at an issue from different angles.
A PUSH IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Through a series of questions and prompting, mentors can guide you to realise certain realities and consequently challenge your perspective of the world, edging you closer to the solution.
Getting out what you put in
Mentoring is no walk in the park. Often mistaken for emotionally fueled consolation sessions over cups of tea, mentoring is hard work. When confronted by a series of questions, mentoring causes you to dig deep into the reasons behind your thoughts and actions, enabling you to get to the root of the problem.
The problem initially put forward is seldom the actual problem and there are many layers one needs to go through before getting to the source of what is causing the situation, example: in feeling ‘stuck’ or experiencing irresolvable conflict at the workplace.
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The Art of Questioning
NLP Master Practitioners such as myself, are trained to elicit solutions through questioning. Mentors hold the torch while the mentee does all the hard work in figuring out what the issue is and how it can be resolved.
Besides exploring what is wrong, we seek to get to the bottom to what is causing the problem and how the mentee has failed to resolve it in the past. We also look into what a successful outcome would look/feel like for the mentee and going forward, what would confirm that the issue has been resolved?
Whilst the mentor may hold the answer to the solution, they should resist dishing out as their reality or one’s character or method of going about things may differ to the person in front of them. We all have our different ways of going about things, and there may be 101 ways of solving that one problem. The mentee must therefore go through the right journey to discover ways of how to get to his or her final destination.
It is therefore the mentor’s role to shake the mentee’s current perspective of the world, to identify new ways of looking and going about matters.
Nadia is an NLP Master Practioner and has over the years supported many C-suite members by providing an optimal sounding board, to unravel their issues and find new ways of looking and going about things in their business.