How to Mentor Online
Over the past 15 years, I have pursued a dream for a new way of mentoring. I have pushed for a modern mentoring approach where everyone in an organization is involved in the practice as both learners and advisors. I have advocated for the creation of personal learning networks where each of us builds a team of learners and advisors whom we lean on and lead forth as needs dictate. I have pushed for people to see beyond one-to-one pairings and look at how we can advance ourselves more quickly with groups of people we connect with, share with, and grow with.
I’m thrilled to say that many companies and leaders have caught on to this approach toward mentoring and have sought ways to make it a reality. In light of this, I wrote a book called Modern Mentoring (ATD Press), in which I provide a framework for modernizing the approach we take on mentoring that brings it into the 21st century. I also incorporate real life examples of modern mentoring in practice from leading organizations such as Xerox, Hewlett-Packard, Sodexo and AT&T, sharing the tactics and successes companies have had with this new way of doing mentoring.
I am grateful to the leaders at these organizations who had the awareness to understand that there was a problem to solve, and the courage to tackle it with a revolutionary approach. The need for mentoring has not decreased over the past few decades when it really started to take hold in corporate settings; however, the need for a fresh approach to mentoring has been desperately needed for some time. My goal is to give that to each reader of Modern Mentoring.
We need to do away with the barriers that surround the current or traditional corporate practice of mentoring. We must force ourselves to ditch the spreadsheets, forget the limited populations we designate as being special enough to participate, and abolish the idea that any of us could broker relationships that have productive learning value for every single employee in our diverse workforces.
To release the transformative power of mentoring from the narrowly conceived box in which mentoring currently resides, leaders from all areas of an organization—business units, HR, talent, learning, and diversity—must embrace a new mindset about mentoring.
I hope you’ll join me in the mentoring revolution. I truly believe we can make a difference.