It’s no surprise that great leaders inspire their people to want to mentor by demonstrating that themselves. We find that our most successful programs really come from the top where we have the CEO or the top leader actively participating in our mentoring programs. That is where we see the greatest adoption and the same holds true for inspiring people to mentor and to pour into others. It certainly makes sense that it is the Chief Executive Officer who sets the tone for whether the company has a “mentoring culture”.
By demonstrating that particular skillset themselves, a leader inspires others to do the same. I would argue there is no better way to teach someone how to be a leader than to teach them how to mentor. It all really starts from the top in terms of setting the tone for the culture as being one where people are willing to share with others to really pour into others on their team and be focused on one another’s development. This mentoring culture truly allows the team to feel free to seek out information, to connect with others, to garner perspective and wisdom, and to shortcut their learning.
In starting a mentoring program, the most important piece is making sure that people really understand what is being asked of them. You have a plan in place for training, for matching, for scheduling, and for the ongoing engagements of the participants in the program, as well as addressing how to how to measure outcomes. If you are extending the time and resources to develop such a program on your own, you, of course, would want to make sure that you have a plan in place for measuring success. The most important piece, however, is really making sure that people understand what is being asked of them, the time commitment of those types of things, but also what a successful mentoring conversation really looks like. This can all be accomplished with the fully administered program that Engage Mentoring can provide.
The hallmarks of having a mentoring culture include people’s willingness to share their knowledge with others and that everyone has a comfort level with going out and getting the information that they need. When we see a mentoring culture, many times people are raising their hands in meetings. They are willing to take on additional responsibility and they are confident they can get the information they need to accomplish their tasks. And at all levels of the company, people really understand what it means to pour into others and be focused on the development of others.