More than ever before, organizations, large and small, are looking outside traditional mentoring paradigms to raise the bar on the practice of mentoring by creating a mentoring culture.
A mentoring culture continuously focuses on building the mentoring capacity, competence, and capability of the organization. A mentoring culture encourages the practice of mentoring excellence by continuously:
- creating readiness for mentoring within the organization,
- facilitating multiple mentoring opportunities, and
- building in support mechanisms to ensure individual and organizational mentoring success.
In a mentoring culture, eight hallmarks build on and strengthen each other. All are present, at least to some degree, however they manifest themselves differently depending on the organizationâs previous success with mentoring. When each hallmark is consistently present, the mentoring culture is fuller and more robust. As more and more of each hallmark is found in an organization, the mentoring culture becomes progressively more sustainable.
The Eight Hallmarks of a Mentoring Culture
- Accountability. Accountability enhances performance and produces long-lasting results. It requires shared intention, responsibility and ownership, a commitment to action and consistency of practice. Accountability also involves very specific tasks:
--defining roles and responsibilities,
--monitoring progress and measuring results,
--gathering feedback, and
--formulating action goals.
- Alignment. Alignment focuses on the consistency of mentoring practices within an institutionâs culture. It builds on the assumption that a cultural fit already exists between mentoring and the organization and that mentoring initiatives are also are tied to goals larger than just initiating a program. When mentoring is aligned within the culture, it is part of its DNA. A shared understanding and vocabulary of mentoring practice exists that fits naturally with the organizationâs values, practices, mission, and goals.
- Communication. Communication is fundamental to achieving mentoring excellence and positive mentoring results. Its effects are far-reaching; it increases trust, strengthens relationships, and helps align organizations. It creates value, visibility and demand for mentoring. It is also the catalyst for developing mentoring readiness, generating learning opportunities, and providing mentoring support within an organization.
- Value and Visibility. Sharing personal mentoring stories, role modeling, reward, recognition, and celebration are high leverage activities that create and sustain value and visibility. Leaders who talk about formative mentoring experience, share best practices, and promote and support mentoring by their own example add to the value proposition for mentoring.
Read on to learn the next four hallmarks of a mentoring culture.