What makes a good workplace mentor?
Are You Mentoring Your Apprentices?
Supporting, or mentoring, your apprentices as they learn is, or should be, a given. You do it because you want your apprentices to grow, become a part of the business, help them develop their career paths to benefit themselves and your company. However, have you thought about the benefits to the person (and your company) actually doing the mentoring?
Mentoring is all about listening to your ‘student’, helping them identify solutions to problems, how to develop along their chosen path. It’s not an easy job for sure but it doesn’t just help to improve the apprentice.
Good mentors share of themselves, their experiences and methods that work for them, all the time guiding the apprentice along. In return, the mentor is able to constantly reassess and develop their own listening, questioning and communication skills. At Flexible Training we always encourage the use of mentors and those we have spoken to tell us how the experience has helped them in their daily business lives especially in areas such as team management and dealing with customers.
Self-reflection (we’re not talking ‘navel gazing’ here) is an important part of mentoring. It’s a two-way street. After a session, mentors are encouraged to write down their thoughts and ideas to help them develop their management experience. Don’t forget, an apprentice may very well bring new skills and ideas into the workplace. You could learn from them!
A clear mentoring structure also shows to the apprentice that the company has a plan for them, a pathway forward. Having an experienced apprentice become a mentor is an excellent way of showing this, as well as building confidence in the mentor themselves.
You take on an apprentice because you want to grow your business, to help someone develop their skills and benefit your company. By making sure you have a good mentoring program in place, you’re doing much more than that. You’re offering both sides the chance to grow, share experiences, improve trust and respect between employees. Who knows, you could be nurturing your next CEO!
If you’re unsure about what a good mentoring program looks like, why not give us a call? We can help you understand what is required so you can make the most of this very important process.