Don't Put Mentoring in a Box
This first chapter set the foundation for what to expect from the duration of this book. Innovative, fresh, and a ground-breaking approach to fostering mentoring in your organization. The title of the book has thus not let me down! Emelo begins by challenging our preconceived notions of how traditional mentoring has been facilitated within organizations, and the barriers and limitations this approach has had for learners.
I was first drawn to this book, when I heard Randy Emelo at the annual ATD Chapter Leader Conference, where he shared with us his deep experience in rolling-out successful mentoring programs for many organizations globally. I was drawn to his approach to fostering an open, flexible, and self-directed approach to mentoring and learning. So I purchased the book and I'm ready to implement modern mentoring approaches to the organization.
Emelo begins immediately by challenging traditional approaches to mentoring programs. His first call of action is to alter the terminology we use. Rather than mentor, he uses the word advisor, and instead of mentee, learner. This immediate shift in terminology will help guide senior leaders to alter their perceptions of traditional mentoring programs, and will be more open and motivated to hear more about this new approach. So some of the major learning outcomes for me regarding how to challenge the traditional style of mentoring and its challenges:
Change the focus from having a handful of leaders be leaders selected as mentors to mentee lower-level employees. Broaden the scope by focusing on sharing knowledge and insight across all levels. As Emelo advises, no more "top/down and face-to-face" interactions that are driven by organizational needs. Change this to a many-to-many and across all level connection that is driven by self-directed learning needs.
Food for Thought
How challenging would it be in your workplace to gain leadership buy-in to a new modern mentoring approach?
Have you encountered challenges with a traditional approach?