Good business investments provide a return and professional development programs should be no exception. Particularly during times like these when market uncertainty and business challenges are stark, making strong, effective leadership even more essential.
So it’s little wonder the authors of the Harvard Business Review article “Why Your Mentorship Program Isn’t Working” support the case for professional, structured mentoring to achieve the business objectives these programs set out to deliver.
For more than 20 years our mentoring programs have done just that – using specialist design, structure and tools to produce better leaders, which translate to stronger performance at an organisation level, and higher engagement and productivity at the individual level.
The evidence for mentoring is clear. As the article states: “People who have strong mentors see more rapid advancement, higher salaries, greater organisational commitment, stronger identity, and higher satisfaction with both job and career. They also obtain personal benefits, such as better physical health and self-esteem, ease of work-life integration, and stronger relational skills.”
At IAG, mentees in the 2017-2019 mentoring program run by McCarthy Mentoring, 86% reported improved decision-making, 90% said they felt more confident in their leadership capabilities, and 90% relayed an increased ability to better manage challenging workplace situations. At the same time, all mentors from across the Group’s executive and leadership teams found they’d strengthened their mentoring skills.
Yet effective mentoring rarely happens on its own – matching the right mentor and setting up both parties for success is cited as a critical component of the process, and it is something in which we invest significant time and energy.
Participants need to respect and trust their mentor and be open to insights and feedback for effective change and strengthened capability.
Mentors also need to be up to the task. At McCarthy Mentoring, we’re privileged to work with more than 100 mentors, all carefully vetted, who are some of Australia’s most respected leaders working across a broad range of industries. They draw on extensive experience as executives and board directors to test ideas and offer guidance from outside the organisation. As with the program at IAG, we also work with senior executives from within organisations to provide them with the training, tools and resources to be effective mentees.
The strategic matching of mentees with mentors is rigorous and our reputation has been built on its success. This involves gaining a comprehensive understanding of the needs and goals of the mentee, through interviews and analysis of insights gained from assessments, peer and manager feedback. The appropriate mentor is then chosen for their relevant skills, experience and personal qualities that will enable growth and change for each participant.
Finally, it’s important both mentors and mentees are supported with training, tools and resources to clarify roles and maximise outcomes. It’s a professional relationship, with reciprocal benefits for both mentor’s skills and learning from talented emerging leaders and mentee’s growth and development.
For organisations, when done well, mentoring is a powerful way to engage, retain and develop talented leaders at a time when you need them the most. Executive mentor, Susan Forrester AM describes the mentoring relationship this way:
“You need to meet regularly, you need to commit to it. It’s about agreeing to certain goals and areas of focus, and doing the homework. If you just turn up for a cup of coffee and a chat, you know– there’s plenty of other things you could be doing.”
Other relevant articles by McCarthy Mentoring: Well Structured Programs Increase ROI