Lois Zachary is a world-renowned expert on mentoring and leadership. She is president of Leadership Development Services, a consulting firm that provides leadership development, mentoring, coaching, education, and training for both corporate and nonprofit organizations.
Leadership Excellence has named her as one of the "100 Best Minds" in the United States in the area of organizational development. Zachary has written hundreds of articles, columns, and books about mentoring, leadership, and adult development and learning.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE FUTURE OF MENTORING?
We really need to elevate the practice of all mentoring--formal and informal.
One of today's more popular practices-and one that we're going to see more of-is group mentoring. That's because we don't always have all the mentors that we need to be able to do it one-on-one. Since the need for mentoring is accelerating and the demand is growing group mentoring has become a viable option.
But I don't think it's a case of either/or when it comes to mentoring. The operative word is and. We can exponentially accelerate learning and development when group mentoring is combined with face-to-face mentoring when formal mentoring is complemented with informal mentoring.
I think we're going to see even more variation in the types of mentoring people will be engaging in. We have an ever-increasing amount of business-to-business mentoring. And then there is mosaic mentoring the idea that we have multiple mentors, often simultaneously, throughout our lives. Anybody who is in a leadership position will tell you that they've had multiple mentors-informal, formal, group, reverse.
A word about reverse mentoring: We have a whole generation--the Millennials--which has a wealth of technical knowledge and a way of looking at the world that needs to be understood and harnessed in the workplace today. Reverse mentoring by Millennials is a proven strategy for educating the older segment of our workforce.
WHAT TIPS CAN YOU OFFER TO MORE SEASONED EMPLOYEES WITH RESPECT TO BEING MENTORED BY THEIR JUNIORS?
If we focus on learning and what people need to learn in the workplace, I don't think it matters who we learn it from. The focus should to be on growth and development: What are the gaps? Who has the experience, wisdom, or expertise? Who can help us learn what we need to know?
If you're going to be mentored by your juniors, you will become more connected to what is happening in the workplace as you create and build those relationships. Mentoring conversations offer a really great opportunity for aligning people, process, and knowledge. …