Everyone is familiar with traditional, one-to-one mentoring. In fact, it’s been around for centuries. However, the notion that a company’s most senior staff should enjoy exclusive rights to one’s mentoring should, at best, be outdated.
In Modern Mentoring, author Randy Emelo argues that rather than subjecting one’s employees to overpriced and time-consuming learning, managers should instead embrace a more collaborative approach: peer-to-peer mentoring.
Assuming that everyone has something to teach and learn, any employee can coincidentally take on the role of mentor, advisor and learner. Within modern mentoring, organizations can arrange diverse groups of employees, bypassing the limitations of a one-man knowledge pool and making way for a much larger resource of information and learning options.
Unlike conventional mentoring, which helps a select few, modern mentoring enables a wider reach within organizations, allowing every staffer to take part and benefit from self-directed learning.
“Modern mentoring is about helping people come together so they can learn from one another.”
Succeed at Mentoring 2.0
Yet, to reap the benefits of peer-to-peer learning, it’s vital that organizations apply a new mentoring mind-set and develop a modern mentoring culture. To help achieve this, Emelo lays down the following guidelines:
1. “People are driven by individual imagination, desire and personal experience” – Keeping in mind that an individual’s learning motive is personal can help motivate employees.
2. “Focus on competencies and interests” – Structuring your mentoring program according to your staff’s professional capabilities and enabling them to access mentors or information effortlessly, will boost their learning curve.
3. “Be inclusive, not exclusive” – Invite everyone to learn by creating an open access to knowledge so that every employee may benefit.
4. “Keep your purpose simple” – Don’t overcomplicate mentoring but rather focus on its main purpose: helping employees share and “learn from one another.”
5. “Advocate for andragogy” – Andragogy is “the art or science of teaching adults.” Organize your initiative so employees, not managers, are in charge of your company’s adult learners.
Knocking Out Obstacles
Peer-to-peer learning is especially effective when it comes to self-directed learning. Yet, Emelo is no stranger to the difficulty that is uprooting a company’s mentoring program. Not only does he stress the importance that is managerial backing, he also acknowledges the opposition one might face in uprooting a long-standing mentoring strategy.
The solution? Selling modern mentoring as “learning collaboration.” With modern mentoring still in the minority, chances are that many senior managers will have firm views about what constitutes good mentoring and a change in either workplace culture or learning will not necessarily be met with applause.
Still, if you prepare to demonstrate the effectiveness of a more modern approach to learning, explain that more broadly-based mentoring can boost employee’s engagement and performance while including everyone at your firm, you might just win your case.