What is mentoring in the workplace and mentoring and coaching

What is mentoring?

Mentoring  in the workplace is the process of monitoring a new employee by a more experienced professional. Thus, a mentoring process occurs when new employees have mentors responsible for assisting their technical and psychosocial development within the organization.

Mentoring means mentoring or tutoring in Portuguese and corresponds to the process of teaching someone .

The person responsible for mentoring receives the name of mentor , a person who will encourage the development of a professional at the beginning of their career or a new position in a certain corporation.

Mentoring is an employee development tool and consists of an experienced person from one company helping another less experienced.

Mentoring projects are normally prepared by the companies’ Human Resources department .

They usually happen when a company employee is replaced, whether for reasons of retirement or a dismissal , for example.

Thus, the employee who will be absent or terminate the contract will be able to transmit his knowledge to his substitute. In this way, the new person will be able to carry out the tasks effectively. v

Mentoring phases

Among the authors who deal with the topic of mentoring, Kram (1983) argues that the application of mentoring should be divided into four distinct phases:

  • initiation — beginning of the relationship between mentor and mentee. It is at this stage that the mentor defines the structure of the learning process;
  • Cultivation —it’s time to cultivate the relationship through mentoring. Here we talk about the skills and subjects that will be covered during the mentoring process;
  • separation — after a satisfactory amount of information has been absorbed by the mentee, the moment of separation comes;
  • redefinition — this is the moment when the relationship evolves to a level of equality, in which both contribute and develop their work with equivalent skills and abilities.

What is a mentor?

We can say that the mentor is a guide , a master , someone who has vast professional experience in the field of work of the person being helped.

The mentor is usually someone who is in the same company and area as the employee in training, but who is in a higher position.

He serves as a kind of role model for the new employee, someone to project their growth to.

Therefore, he will be responsible for this choice himself, or he may be guided by HR to make the best decision regarding the person to be mentored.

Mentoring includes conversations and debates about subjects that are not necessarily related to work. This process allows for the learning and subsequent career development of the younger professional.

How important is the mentor?

The mentor needs to be someone with a wide professional background , as he has already gone through several situations that have provided him with a deep learning experience, in addition to increasing his repertoire and developing professional skills to face complex situations and conflicts in his area of ​​expertise.

With this background, he is able to help less experienced professionals or those starting their careers, making all their experience available for them to learn from those who have already lived in similar situations.

This is a great way to increase your chances of success by solving problems in a shorter amount of time.

What is the role of mentoring?

In the business field, mentoring has gained popularity in recent years. That’s because organizations have seen mentoring as a more effective tool than other training programs .

Mentoring uses the potential that exists within the company, such as the wisdom of more experienced employees, driving innovation and creativity among employees. As a result, the company becomes more competitive.

However, mentoring is not just beneficial to the learner. The mentor receives great motivation, feeling that he is contributing to the professional and personal development of a colleague and, at the same time, he is equipping the company for a promising future.

The focus, then, is on the diversity of professionals with experience and experience to work as a mentor to its internal audience in new roles that demand training and learning acceleration.

What is the difference between mentoring and coaching?

Mentoring and coaching are two activities that are related, although they have some different nuances.

But, before understanding the difference between these two concepts, it is necessary to know the definition of coaching .

1-What is coaching?

Coaching is also an English term that comes from the word “coach”, which means “coach” in Portuguese.

The concept of coaching, then, corresponds to a methodology that uses its own tools and principles to help people achieve their goals in a certain period of time, in a structured and action-focused manner.

2-Who is the coach?

Coach is, then, the coach, the coach. Two of the main skills that a coach needs to have are the ability to pay full attention to their coachee (equivalent to being mentored) and knowing how to listen without judgment, opinions, “guesses”, inductions and conclusions.

In the case of coachingthe coach does not need to have experience in the client’s field of work . In some areas of coaching, the practitioner may not even give any advice or solutions to specific problems related to the client’s career, just practice active listening.

Thus, then, the coach has no opinion and even gives tips on what your customer needs to do to reach your goals .

Your role is to use appropriate tools to facilitate your customer‘s reflection process.

Main differences between mentoring and coaching

If, on the one hand, coaching is a process that helps people to act, optimizing their potential , while trying to get out of their current state to reach their goals, mentoring is directed towards professional and personal guidance .

In this case, the mentor has a high level of experience, with theoretical and practical support to assist a less experienced person.

We can say, then, that the coach uses questions as his basic tool, while the mentor uses dialogues , with the aim of transmitting their knowledge and giving guidance related to the work routine .

In coaching, the focus is on action and the achievement of results, involving the present and the future. In mentoring, the objective is focused on career development , covering the past, present and future.

Regarding the purpose of the program, we can say that coaching is linked to the results to be achieved. Meanwhile, mentoring is concerned with actions aimed at the professional and career spheres. 

It is also worth saying that the coach must be certified to work with clients . In the mentoring process, the person in charge does not need to have a specific certification.

However, he needs to meet the requirements and have experience and knowledge in a specific area.

Finally, mentoring is a process that does not have an established time for its completion, whereas, in the case of coaching, the process has a beginning, middle and end, and it can last between 3 to 6 months.

What are the advantages of mentoring for companies?

Mentoring has been widely used by organizations as a human development tool . Here in Brazil, however, few organizations are aware of the value of this resource.

Therefore, we will list below some of the main benefits that mentoring can bring to your company, follow it!

1-More agile trainings

The organizational routine is very intense and hectic. As a result, it can be difficult to give enough attention to new employees joining teams.

No matter how highly qualified professionals are sought, each company has its own flows and requirements.

Mentoring in companies emerges as a possibility for faster learning. In this way, training is provided when necessary for each employee to carry out their duties.

In addition, mentoring makes it possible to manage talent and accompany each new person applying their knowledge in practice , allowing the mentee to be part of this experience .

2-leadership development

The role of leadership and people management has been discussed and improved year after year in companies.

Gone are the days when the boss was just that authoritarian figure who coordinated the collaborators, the so-called autocratic leadership .

Today, managers increasingly need to understand and show mastery over the activities carried out by their sector of activity. They need to become mentors .

The mentoring in business has exactly this goal . The idea is to make managers and directors examples to be followed by their employees, transforming them into possible mentors for their specific areas of knowledge.

3-Employee self-development

Mentoring in companies ends up impacting the organization as a whole. Even though mentoring often involves just one mentor and one mentee , this flow of empowerment ends up influencing other areas to want to know more about or have their own mentors.

The need to know how to guide someone — and how to do it the right way — ends up becoming an example, making the mentor seek to go deeper into points where he does not have much knowledge, promoting self-knowledge .

When you realize that other people are going in search of this self-development , you end up influencing yourself and being indirectly stimulated to also go in search of improvements.

4-Cost reduction

By investing initially in training professionals to become mentors, you create a continuous flow of knowledge.

In the long term, investments will decrease, as new employees will have the necessary training and learning within the company.

In this way, an organizational culture of constant development is created in the internal environment without the need for ongoing costs.

What are the benefits of mentoring for the mentor?

While many people may think that mentoring is only beneficial to the mentee, know that the mentor benefits from the process too—a lot!

We rarely find people commenting on the benefits of mentoring for those taking on the mentoring task, but there are great benefits.

By supporting the mentee, the mentor gains:

  • a feeling of self-efficacy and the ability to help — by noticing the results of their support, the mentor has increased self-esteem and develops his self-efficacy;
  • personal fulfillment —by helping the mentee, the mentor increases their personal satisfaction, feeling gratified by supporting someone else’s growth;
  • friendship — in a true mentoring relationship, the mentee also becomes a loyal friend of his mentor;
  • base of allies — the mentoring process makes it possible to create a base of people who are loyal to the mentor, who will be accessible to assist him when needed;
  • organizational recognition — many organizations recognize, in different ways, the work of managers who act as mentors to other employees;
  • challenges — by stimulating the development of the other, the mentor meets the need for challenges and to have something new in his work and in his personal life;
  • learning and updating — when relating to the other, the mentor gains the chance to expand their technical and cultural background, improve their social skills and update themselves with information and new knowledge;
  • chance to leave his legacy — the mentor sees in the built relationship an opportunity to leave his legacy for future generations and, with that, achieves a greater sense of completeness;
  • reinforcement of the role of manager and citizen — by developing the other, the mentor is able to satisfy his desire to contribute both to the organization and to society;
  • preparation for succession and promotion — as a result of his empowerment, it becomes possible for the mentor to leave a successor in his place and soar higher by achieving promotions in his career;
  • networking — by helping others, the mentor expands his network of contacts and relationships.

What are the benefits for the mentee?

In a mentoring relationship, the mentor provides the mentee with professional and psychosocial benefits .

When it comes to professional benefits, we are talking about obtaining advantages in organizations, while psychosocial support affects each person in their individual sphere.

These two functions, combined, give people the tools to face the challenges of each stage of their professional and personal life, in a more complete way.

The mentoring benefits for the mentee are derived from the support (or support) they receive from the mentor. This support can basically be of two natures: technical-professional and psychosocial .

Technical or professional support includes:

  • protection — the mentor seeks to reduce unnecessary risks to the mentee, warning him of possible behaviors that could compromise his reputation;
  • coaching assistance —here, the mentor acts as a coach, he shares information, provides feedback and clarifies performance goals, and suggests activities to achieve those goals;
  • sponsorship — situation in which the mentor appoints the mentee for specific tasks, projects, career moves, and promotions;
  • challenging tasks — the mentor provides opportunities to work on new projects, issues, and situations that challenge the mentee capacitates ability and contribute to their development;
  • exposure and visibility — the mentor creates ways to increase the person’s visibility and exposure for future opportunities.

On the other hand, psychosocial support corresponds to the following factors:

  • counseling — at this point, the mentor encourages the mentee to talk about their fears and anxieties, helping them to clarify their career goals;
  • development of their role — serving as a model for the mentee, the mentor helps in the search for desirable attitudes, values ​​and behaviors, pointing out successful professional behavior not only for himself, but also for other specialists;
  • friendship — the mentor can interact informally on and off the job;
  • acceptance and confirmation — the mentor welcomes the mentee, accepting it without judgment.

It should be said that not all mentoring processes and relationships are the same. There may be variations in the different relationships between mentors and mentees , after all, people and companies differ.

Some mentoring processes are marked by high professional support and little psychosocial support, and vice versa.

However, the key for someone to acquire the characteristics of a mentor is that they offer both technical-professional support and psychosocial support for their mentee.

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