iii) Mentoring As A Calling

It has been suggested (Rose-Anne Manns, 2008) that around 60% of people know "their calling" before they turn 20, but it takes another couple of decades to fulfil their dream. A typical progression involves completing education followed by experimentation with a variety of roles to build experience, then specialisation. In their 40s they start to think about how to achieve their calling. This is linked with early parenthood and getting personal finances under control. However, there can be a dark side to this, as a driving force for a calling can sometimes be used to justify dysfunctional behaviour.

Some suggested steps in defining and pursuing a calling include

"...1. Clarify your strong skills - what gives you most joy, and what environment do you feel most comfortable in?

2. Healing and health - do you need to make peace with the past before moving on? Feeling that you have to prove something can impede your progress

3. Options - brainstorm with other people

4. Information - seek out what you need to make a decision; look for jobs, people and situations that inspire

5. Commit - discuss your decision with affected partners

6. Enact your decision - be mindful to sustain it without moving into the "shadow side..."

Annie Stewart has quoted by Rose-Anne Manns, 2008

. Most effective mentors have a background in a similar type of organisation to that of the mentee's current workplace and/or a knowledge of behaviourial science or a related discipline. On the other hand, having a mentor who comes from a different background can be useful:

"...Someone who comes from a totally different perspective from me, opening my mind to things I hadn't thought before..."

Catherine Dickson has quoted by Rachel Lebihan, 2006

"...someone from outside can have a more free-ranging view of the situation..."

Andrew Mohl as quoted by Sally Patten, 2007

NB Andrew Mohl (ex CEO, AMP) regularly used an executive coach from outside the organisation; the coach would visit once a month. He sees it as a strength rather than a weakness to seek help, and as an integral part of the continual learning process. Furthermore, he feels that it is a waste of time to coach a person who thinks that he/she knows it all.

. Externally and internally sourced people will mentor differently. The external source will tend to be more objective and have less political or historical baggage than an internally-sourced mentor.

. Mentoring requires an understanding of the dynamics of the triangular relationship between mentor, mentee and organisation. Usually the mentoring is done outside the employee-boss relationship, with the mentor coming from outside the organisation as it allows for more frank discussions on relevant issues.

. Mentoring is an important way to have brutally honest conversations. Furthermore,

"...more broadly, it introduced programs to stimulate more creative, innovative thinking among staff. In talent management and succession planning, it included shadow succession planning for key roles..."

Andrew Mohl as quoted by Narrelle Hooper, 2007c

. Research has shown that people who are mentored have a definite advantage in career progress compared with those without mentors. There is a positive relationship between mentoring and promotion, and between mentoring and compensation. Mentoring has been linked to increased confidence as shown by

"....- increased career satisfaction

- greater job involvement

- low turnover intentions

- more power in the organisation

- increased job satisfaction

- improved career planning..."

Maria Gardiner, 2002

. Mentoring has provided a way of making better use of older workers and reduced the chances of marginalizing them in their final years of service. Asking older workers to transfer their wealth of experience is very motivating for them and usually beneficial to all. This ensures that young people have someone more experienced to turn to when needed; simultaneously, the younger people's ideas and enthusiasm can rub off on their mentors.


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