Women2Women - Spring 2018 - 34

Work2Life

Mentoring in the Workplace
By Kelly Hancock

I

will always remember my first year as an
elementary school teacher, and the accompanying feeling of uncertainty about many of
the tasks that needed to be accomplished on
a daily basis. Even though I felt well-prepared
due to my schooling and practicum experiences,
there were always new challenges and plenty
of opportunities for growth. One workplace
tool that helped me immensely through that
time was the guidance I received by meeting
periodically with a seasoned school teacher,
my mentor.

Mentoring, in its many formats, is often utilized by workplaces to nurture and grow their
people. As a result, overall workplace efficiency
and productivity will then improve as well,
according to Mary Abbajay, in The Working
Life: The Importance of Workplace Mentors.
Heather Uczynski, executive coach, business psychologist, and owner of Leading
Edge Business Consulting in Leesport, said,
"Mentoring specifically has to do with helping
a person to learn a specific job and to get
accustomed to the organizational culture."
According to Uczynski, 60% of college and
graduate students indicated in a survey that
mentoring is a key factor in job selection
and 71% of Fortune 500 companies offered
professional mentoring programs.
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, named by
Fortune as the third Most Powerful Woman in
Business in 2014, and named on Forbes' The
World's 100 Most Powerful Women list from
2008 to 2017, credits mentors for her successes
in the world of business. "If I hadn't had mentors,
I wouldn't be here today. I'm a product of great
mentoring, great coaching," she said.
Maya Angelou, the late author and poet,
mentored Oprah Winfrey. "She was there for
me always, guiding me throughout some of
the most important years of my life," said
Winfrey. "Mentors are important and I don't
think anybody makes it in the world without
some form of mentorship," she continued.
Mentoring can take place either formally
or informally, depending on the individual or
34 Women2Women Spring 2018

organization. Examples of informal mentoring might be an inexperienced entrepreneur
periodically speaking with a trusted person
at designated times to help them launch
their new business. Or a new employee may
choose to work with a mentor to navigate
the uncharted waters within a company in
a safe and non-threatening environment.
Formal mentoring usually takes place when
the workplace initiates the mentoring process,
such as in Pennsylvania schools, where
new teachers are assigned a mentor who
guides them on things like expectations,
the culture and school systems. This type of
learning tool both supports and encourages
the beginning teacher, and as a result, their
students, families, and communities will
also benefit.

Following are additional benefits for an individual who
is mentored, also known as
the "mentee":
* Builds confidence
* Provides a safe place to discuss concerns
* Allows them to focus on their job, knowing
that their concerns will be addressed in a
safe environment
* Bridges the gap between what an employee
knows and doesn't know, without waiting
for formal intervention
* Increases employee skills and knowledge,
including soft skills such as communications and leadership skills
* Allows employees to ask questions and
seek career advice from an individual who
has experienced similar issues in the past

"Mentors are important and I don't
think anybody makes it in the world
without some form of mentorship"



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