How do we establish a mentoring relationship? What do we do when we identify a knowledge or performance gap in a colleague? This is a sensitive issue. Pointing to a gap is more likely to lead to a productive process when mutual trust is a pre-existing condition.
When we mentor a colleague, we rely on our relationships as peers and our shared values. We deploy a range of context-specific approaches.
We use sophisticated strategies to provide support while respecting silo boundaries, personal pride, and limitations circumscribed by institutional culture.
When we establish a mentoring relationship, we take a careful, considered approach, respectful of the other person’s experience and context.
Developing mentoring is easier in smaller teams.
Because the concept of “mentoring” implies different levels of experience, we emphasize mutual support between peers.
One recurring gap is the lack of knowledge or experience in the organization or industry. Those of us who have a long affiliation feel a responsibility to induct “outsiders” to the values and practices we share.
We feel responsible to our colleagues, whether or not they are our direct reports. Our ability to collaborate is improved when we help others address gaps.
Photo: Under the Bridge (Kim Hill/flickr.com)