I recently heard ‘We’re restructuring so mentoring can’t possibly work until we’ve decided on the new structure, the organizational culture, etc.’ This from an organization that already had a successful mentoring programme in place! Part of the argument was that there needed to be better definitions of mentoring and coaching!
Mentoring has been around for a long time, the ancient Greeks created the word. Today, mentoring comes in a variety of forms – from informal to highly structured. Few object to it, but many underutilize it.
Why Solution Focus Mentoring?
‘In Solution Focus we always make the most of what’s there’ – Olympia Mitsopoulou
It’s that simple. Waiting for the right plan to emerge may be necessary during a crisis. However, will there ever be a ‘right time’?
A good mentoring programme is based on delivering corporate outcomes, not just individual mentoring outcomes, for example:
- Increased organizational effectiveness
- Learning how to function in a matrix organization
- Dealing with constant change
- Enhanced decision making capabilities
- How things work in the organization
- Where to go for resources
- Career development
- Etc., etc.
The obvious outcome is personal/career development for the mentee. But what about personal development for mentor?
‘Reverse mentoring is one of the biggest benefits cited by participating mentors. They get to know what’s going on in the organization’ – Olympia Mitsopoulou
Yes, it’s best to formally design and structure the whole process, but don’t forget to use mentoring in a situational way, i.e., making the most of what’s there.
Mentoring is one of the most effective uses of Solution Focus:
- It’s a tool to help people change their attitude and behaviour by building on existing resources
- It’s compatible with Millennial attitudes (they prefer not to be told what to do)
- The mentors learn new tools that they can utilize in other people’s situations
- Both mentors and mentees learn to look at people in their resources, not their problems
Three Solution Focus questions to ask about establishing or growing a mentoring effort that achieves collective impact in your organization.
- What is already working that you would like to see more of in your organization?
- What have you noticed that already works in your current informal or formal mentoring work?
- Suppose you had a successful mentoring programme what would be different or better?
The thank you for the thinking in this post goes to Olympia Mitsopoulou who is a Solution Focused practitioner who has designed mentoring programmes and trained the mentors and mentees to accelerate organizational diffusion of knowledge capital (sometimes called internal wisdom) and best practices.