When I think of the title of this article I see it following two streams. Tools for success could apply to what you and I need to be successful on a personal and professional basis. It can also apply to organizations and programs that we are attempting to put into place and are hoping will make a difference.
On a personal level the introduction of mentoring skills at a very early age would have a huge impact on our development. When I reflect on the research that I have done recently a major reason that mentoring did not work on a personal level was that mentors and for that matter mentees did not have the tools to be successful. They lacked the understanding of what it takes to build a trusted relationship and to maintain it once it has been developed. They were quick to tell people what to do to “fix” the problem rather than guide them to the answer. They were not very good at listening and active listening was not even in their vocabulary. How much stronger would your personal relationships be if you only had the tools to build those relationships. How much more effective would you be at communicating how you feel to your partner or how their actions make you feel if you only had the tools? What if those tools had been introduced at an early age and you had all those years to fine tune those skills. What if those tools were provided to you at various stages as you progressed on your journey through the educational system. Mentoring would have become a way of life! More importantly effective mentoring would now be part of your life as you were provided the tools to be successful. The skills are transferable from personal to professional and professional to personal. Those skills however are like any other that we may possess – they were honed through some form of training and then real life experiences.
On a professional level one of the main reasons that mentoring initiatives fail in the workplace is because of lack of training. We are quick to implement a mentoring program because we know it is the right thing to do, however we do not provide the participants with the tools for success. We can then say that we attempted to implement mentoring and it didn’t work so we will move on to something else or perhaps not do anything at all. Participants are left with a bad taste in their mouth about mentoring when such is not the case. When I think of all the different places that effective mentoring can make a difference it saddens me that we would not want to provide the participants with the tools for success. That would be like taking any person and putting them into one of the trades and say fix this car or build this house. Without the proper training we are setting that person up for failure. As that message spreads we then wonder why we cannot get people to join those professions.
If you invest in your people – provide them with the training and the mentoring you will have them for a long period of time. If you create that culture of learning and development – a mentoring culture you will have created that work place that everyone wants to be a part of. Your turn over rate of employees will lessen – the good employees will stay. Productivity and profitability will increase. Disengagement in the workplace will be something you laugh at as it will be almost non-existent in your organization. Embrace the “power of mentoring” and provide the tools for success. Can you afford not to?