Formalized versus Instinctive Mentoring

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Formalized versus Instinctive Mentoring
Erdohegyi Gabor , Management Consultant, Hungary

Successful mentoring is always instinctive. Mentoring cannot be a kind of duty only. It needs strong commitment. As for quality there is a great difference between the performance of an appointed mentor (who's just doing a job) and a natural mentor (who's born to be a mentor and has a strong commitment). Therefore formalizing mentoring is useless unless the mentor is not a natural one with strong commitment (and of course with all relevant special skills and capabilities). Officially organized mentoring can provide good solution in certain cases but real success will only be achieved if the mentoring relationship between two or more people evolves freely by itself based on mutual interest.

Formal and Informal Mentoring
Chris Hayward, England
Mentoring can be addressed formally and informally. But as many contributors have noted, there is little to be gained unless the interpersonal relationship is one of mutual respect and need.
I have often found mentoring to be as much benefit to myself as a mentor. An anthropological take is to view mentoring as a form of enculturation where outsiders become insiders and learn the rules and customs and importantly tacit knowledge is shared in order to become a full member of the new group.
The vast majority of organisations would benefit from understanding how formal and informal mentoring can impact positively and negatively on organisational culture and therefore on business outcomes.

Formal Mentoring Success
Dolva, Coach, Australia
My organisation has embraced mentoring strategically - it is something we all do and something that is part of our ongoing staff development process. It works well - everyone has at least one mentor.
- All mentors are formally trained to mentor as we see it as a special skill.
- Staff satisfaction and retention increases, people feel valued from the start, new staff assimilate quickly and we can focus on the mission of the organisation.
- New staff generally become mentors within a couple of years. Good mentors create good mentors.

Different Levels of Mentoring
Erdohegyi Gabor , Management Consultant, Hungary
Sure there are different levels of mentoring. As Dolva says, formalized mentoring can be an important factor of corporate development for the senior staf members. In this instance it's a kind of specific daily routine of their job/title. This is what I call "(formalized) routine mentoring" (very useful idea and practice for assimilating and gaining loyalty/commitment from new hires). This kind of mentoring can be learnt and tought.
However, instinctive mentoring is different from formalized/routine mentoring.

Mentoring Can not Be Formalized
Michel Lavergne, CEO, France
Essentially, mentoring can not be formalized as a process, as the foundation is trust and freedom of choice. It is a spontaneous relationship happening between 2 people.
1) It is an informal process. The mentored person chooses the mentor and the mentor accepts the role or not, depending on the will and the potential of the mentored to develop himself.
2) The mentor provides disinterested advices, aimed at helping the mentored to develop himself.
3) Finally, mentor capabilities are rare. Not everyone has the legitimacy nor the attitude to do it effectively.

Different Levels of Mentoring (2)
Erdohegyi Gabor , Management Consultant, Hungary
I agree with Lavergne.
Instinctive Mentoring (whether organized or natural) is the "artist level" of mentoring in the ideal case.
Spontaneous Mentoring, Natural Mentoring, Unofficial Mentoring, Informal Mentoring, Unorganized Mentoring differs both in its features and life stage characteristics (i.e. the subject and goal of mentoring, the way mentoring starts, how partners are selected, nature and quality of relationship, the way it's evolving and has an end, if at all, etc.).
These two fundamental lines/types of mentoring, therefore, require/allow different characters/personalities, affinity to, set and level of mentoring (and professional) skills.

Mentoring - Formalised / Informal
Dolva, Coach, Australia
Very interesting discussion thread. I agree with Lavergne and Gabor above. Our organisation uses integral training methods that engage individuals with their 'ego' and values.
It is possible to teach most people basic mentoring skills (those that are informal): the ability to help, faciliate and guide others. Sure - there are different styles - and that is OK. I have met very few people that have no skills in mentoring - just different personal styles.

Routine Mentors
Erdohegyi Gabor , Management Consultant, Hungary
Those basic level or „routine mentors” are usually business related. They introduce new collegues into the organization and help them find and develop their appropriate positions in the corporate society, culture, processes, accounts/clients, etc.
Once the mentee is in its place their mentoring ends. In terms of time and influence this type of mentoring is specific, pragmatic, very much goal oriented and temporary only.
The activities of „mentoring artists/gurus” are different.

Gurus or Artists of Mentoring
Erdohegyi Gabor , Management Consultant, Hungary
Artists / Gurus of Mentoring are committed thus specialized to detect, select and grow only a few (talented) real „(super) stars” of the profession, industry, history, etc.
This is a combined role of an exclusive holistic teacher at professor level who parallelly teach the mentee, as and when required. Not only for a particular science or profession, but on career building, networking, communication, oratory and acting, even philosophy, psychology, etc. as a guide, personal project director, coach, maecenas, marketer and networker.
The „(super) star” mentee becomes a „product” of the mentoring artist / guru. Their very special relationship with the mentee almost never ends (although there are some well known exceptions in history). At the most, this relationship both in human and professional aspects may change / evolve over time.
In terms of time and influence, and in relation to such a particular mentee, (unlike routine mentoring) this type of mentoring is always holistic and persistent.


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