Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 9

GUEST EDITOR
KACIE WALTERS

MENTORING: 4 KEYS TO
MAKING IT A MEANINGFUL
LEARNING EXPERIENCE
When we were in school, we typically
had a guidance counselor help us select
classes and manage college applications.
If we went to college, we had an advisor
help us navigate programs and disciplines,
understand completion requirements
and begin thinking about a career path.
However, when we join an organization,
that individualized support disappears
unless we have rock star leaders or
dedicated career services teams.
Often, we expect our manager to help
us identify priorities, make connections,
highlight opportunities for professional
development and, even, help direct our
career paths. Some managers excel at this,
but many do not.

MENTORING SHOULD
BE APPROACHED WITH
RIGOR, PLANNING AND
ROLE DEFINITION.
So, where do adults turn to for continued selfdiscovery and professional development?
Securing a formal mentor is a good place to
start. A mentor can be someone inside your
company who is in a position or department
that you aspire to break into, an external
expert who has achieved what you desire
to, or even a former manager. Over the
course of my career, I have heard people
say they want to be a mentor but have no
idea what to do, what to say or how to shape
the relationship. Many have said something
along the lines of, "I have had coffee a couple
of times with my mentee, but then we didn't
know where to take it."

For mentoring to be meaningful, it
should be approached with some
rigor, planning and role definition.
While some aspects of a mentoring
relationship develop naturally, the
relationship must have a defined goal
to be meaningful. Here are four tips for
making your mentoring relationship a
meaningful one:
1. Define Purpose and Parameters. At
the very first meeting, after getting to
know each other, define the purpose
of the relationship. While this may
seem a bit forced, having a clear
objective benefits both the mentor
and the mentee. Possible objectives
include networking, determining career
options, identifying skill gaps (and
how to fill them) and coaching on
specific skills. Then, determine how
often you will meet, how the mentee
would like to receive feedback, and
how the relationship can benefit
both parties.
2. Create an Action Plan. Creating an
action plan is critical in achieving a
meaningful mentoring relationship. For
example, forming a list of people and
professional development opportunities
to broaden one's professional network.
If plotting a career path or change, an
action plan could mean identifying
assessments, informational interviews
and shadowing opportunities. If
looking to fill skills gaps, it could mean
determining how formal learning,
projects and outside forums can
help. Having an action plan creates
accountability and gives you and your
mentee something to follow up on.

3. Weave in Stories, but Not Too Many. As
a mentor, it is always tempting to share
life experiences and lessons learned.
While sharing stories is an important
way for the mentee to relate to and
learn from you, try not to dominate
the conversation. Share stories to help
crystallize a point and share actionable
advice. After telling a story, ask your
mentee what he or she learned and how
they can apply it.
4. Debrief and Conclude. Much like a
project, debriefing and formally closing
the relationship helps solidify what was
achieved and what may still need to be
done. I have heard from many mentees
and mentors that they just stopped
meeting, as calendars got busy and the
relationship simply faded away. Openly
discussing when the relationship
should come to an end, and then having
a meeting to conclude the relationship,
brings closure and helps each party
identify what they can do differently in
future mentoring relationships.
Mentoring is not an exact science. It is a
human relationship that can benefit from
having structure to ensure both parties
get what they need from the connection.
Through personal guidance, meaningful
mentoring can help mentees learn more
about an organization, career path and,
even, themselves.
Kacie Walters is the vice president of
strategic programs in enterprise learning and
development at Northern Trust. She has 20
years' experience in the fields of learning,
organizational development and knowledge
management. Email Kacie.

T R A I N I N G I N DUSTR Y MAGAZ INE -FORMALIZ ING INFORMAL L E ARNI NG 2 019 I W W W .T RAI NI NGI NDU S T RY .C OM/ MAGAZI NE

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https://www.trainingindustry.com/magazine

Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019

Thinking More Broadly About How Adults Learn
Table of Contents
Mentoring: 4 Keys To Making it a Meaningful Learning Experience
Formalizing Informal Learning: Tinker Dabble Doodle Try
The Accidental Learner
Percolating Builds Depth
Coaching is a Cop-Out
Close More Deals With Story Selling
Partnering for the Power of Knowledge: How Can Knowledge Sharing Foster Collaboration Among L&D and Employees?
Organizational Resiliency: a Function of Leader Adaptability and Versatility
Rules of Engagement for by Laura Francis Mentoring Reverse
Steps to Formally Make The Informal Part of Your Content Strategy
The Play's the Thing': The Power of Story-Based Learning
Fujitsu’s Experiment With Peer Coaching Pays Off
How to be Authentic When Collaborating on Multicultural Virtual Teams
Making the Case for Informal Learning at Work
Formalizing Informal Learning to Improve Performance
Making Learning Fun Again
Investing in the Future of the Worker, Not Just the Future of Work
Company News
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Cover1
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 2
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Thinking More Broadly About How Adults Learn
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Table of Contents
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 5
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 6
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 7
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 8
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Mentoring: 4 Keys To Making it a Meaningful Learning Experience
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 10
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Formalizing Informal Learning: Tinker Dabble Doodle Try
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 12
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - The Accidental Learner
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 14
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Percolating Builds Depth
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Coaching is a Cop-Out
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 17
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 18
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 19
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Close More Deals With Story Selling
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 21
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 22
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 23
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Partnering for the Power of Knowledge: How Can Knowledge Sharing Foster Collaboration Among L&D and Employees?
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 25
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 26
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 27
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 28
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Organizational Resiliency: a Function of Leader Adaptability and Versatility
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 30
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 31
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Rules of Engagement for by Laura Francis Mentoring Reverse
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 33
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 34
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 35
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Steps to Formally Make The Informal Part of Your Content Strategy
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 37
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 38
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 39
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - The Play's the Thing': The Power of Story-Based Learning
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 41
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 42
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 43
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Fujitsu’s Experiment With Peer Coaching Pays Off
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 45
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - How to be Authentic When Collaborating on Multicultural Virtual Teams
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 47
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 48
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 49
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 50
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Making the Case for Informal Learning at Work
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 52
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Formalizing Informal Learning to Improve Performance
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 54
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Making Learning Fun Again
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Investing in the Future of the Worker, Not Just the Future of Work
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Company News
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Cover4
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