Before we start this we would like to reiterate our belief that developing and evolving as a leader is an ongoing process. Since managers manage and lead their people it is but crucial that they have a mentor too.
Who are Mentors
Mentors are people who have already walked the path before. Therefore, mentors guide not only through their wisdom but also through their experience.
Managers are often on outlook for mentors. These individuals are usually someone whose judgment and wisdom is trusted and respected by the manager. However, managers often look for mentors who share similar experience and have worn similar hats in their career.
Mentor and mentee share a personal developmental relationship in which the experienced person mentors the mentee in light of his experience and wisdom. Unlike the leadership coaching where usually an outsider is hired by the organization to coach the leader the mentors are usually the ones the leader respects and admires owing to their professional wisdom.
Mentoring process is defined as a communication process in which the information, support, wisdom and experience is passed on by the mentor to the mentee. However, it is pertinent to mention here that the process of mentoring is carried out over a sustained period of time and by no means stretches to a few sittings.
The mentor and mentee share a relationship though it may revolve solely around their professional lives as mentee feels inspired by the mentor and look up to the mentor for guidance, support and advice.
Today, organizations have started to see the benefit of mentors for their leaders to broaden their professional horizons and help them evolve into effective leaders.
How Mentoring and Coaching Differs
Mentoring and coaching are entirely two different disciplines of leadership growth and evolution. While coaching may be termed as more formal and more structured the mentoring process is less informal and less structured.
Similarly, while coaching seeks to improve certain specific leadership areas of the leader mentoring is more comprehensive.