May 9, 2017

Change Mediation – a Mentoring Role

Doug Lawrence





Back in 2016 which seems like a long time ago I wrote an article on change management and the role of a mentor as change mediator. I have attached a link to that article for your reference. What I have observed is that the landscape both on a personal and professional basis has not changed much in how we deal with and address change. I have started to do a series of videos on key mentoring topics and will add this particular topic to that list. In the meantime though, I wanted to share some observations.

Let’s first explore our personal perspective. I am spending time with a number of individuals in a mentoring relationship. I am discovering that there is always lots of change taking place in their lives. My role as their mentor is to help them navigate through all that change and guide them to a place of happiness. My role is not to pass judgement. My role is not to discard their feelings and emotions. My role is not to have a preconceived bias regarding the person I am spending time with. My role is to understand or learn the impact that change is having on them as an individual and to ask the right questions to guide them to a solution. Part of our journey will be helping them to a place where they believe in themselves as the journey does start with them. For some mentors this can be something that they are not comfortable with. In most cases I have seen where this type of mentoring relationship falters it is usually due to the mentor not having some form of training. What I have also observed is that the mentor is dealing with their own challenges and as such struggle with guiding someone else. This is truly a role of a mentor – to guide someone through personal change. I act as a change mediator in this situation.

Let’s now explore this from a professional or work perspective. Organizations today are constantly evolving. We are being forced to work smarter and in some cases with less. We struggle with a lack of leadership in a large percentage of organizations. Mergers and acquisitions are taking place all around us. Sure we have change management teams that are tasked with ensuring that the change takes place with hopefully minimal disruption. Disruption to who though? In a lot of the situations that I have been involved in one things that is often overlooked or has very little attention paid to it are the people that are involved in or impacted by all this change. Change can be a daunting experience especially if you don’t deal with it very well. The role of a trained mentor is to be that bridge between what is taking place, the people impacted by change and management who are driving change. The change mediator (mentor) can skillfully navigate through all this turmoil and provide that safe place for employees to share their concerns. All too often we allow our feelings to be bottled up inside of us and we don’t express or deal with them. The longer we internalize the greater the chance we have for illness to invade our bodies. Our productivity begins to decline, we become irritable with others, and bad behavior that should remain at the office follows us home and is displayed in full force on our arrival through the front door of our home. This does not need to happen this way.

A trained mentor can bring value to your change initiatives acting as the change mediator and providing your employees that impartial, non-judgemental, person that can work with them to better understand the change and why it is taking place. Change is evident. You can allow the change to control you or you can take control back and leverage the “gift of mentoring” and a trained mentor as your change mediator. “Can you afford not to?”



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