Mentoring 1

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What mentoring means: Mentoring is simply the development of rapport involving a more knowledgeable mentor and a less knowledgeable protégé. A mentor is the one who boosts the career of a protégé and projects expertness, candor, affability and communication skills. A protégé (or mentee) is a person who is guided, supported and protected by an experienced mentor.

How mentoring works: Mentoring can happen informally or through formal programs, and between individuals or through a group. The motivation for creating a formal mentoring program often comes from minority professionals who find themselves excluded from informal mentoring, resulting in the inability to advance as rapidly as others. Mentoring can empower minority professionals with the tools they need to advance their careers. Since mentors tend to mentor those who are “like them,” they often do not think about reaching out to those who are “unlike them.” They may fear the unknown or be unaware of the need. Therefore, to expect that all employees will find informal mentors is not realistic.

Group mentoring occurs when a group of people engages in a mentoring relationship to achieve specific learning goals, according to Dr. Lois Zachary. They do this through three methods: facilitated group mentoring, peer-group mentoring and team mentoring.

Facilitated group mentoring occurs when a group works like a reverse focus group. The somewhat homogenous group (the protégés) invites a mentor to serve as a facilitator. The group asks the facilitator questions surrounding a preselected topic for the session and the facilitator can challenge the group members based on the conversation. The facilitator may have some planned questions to ask the group.

Peer-to-peer mentoring is a much like a self-help group, where the peers ask each other questions and offer suggestions on how to respond to problems or issues. The group also selects topics for its meetings and uses the collective wisdom of the group to meet key objectives. The group should not be used as a griping or complaining group.

Team mentoring involves individuals already working in a team or a group. They determine mutual learning goals and then invite a facilitator(s) or mentor(s) to help them learn the particular skills or knowledge while supporting each other and learning from each other.

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