3 Places to Look For Mentors Outside Your Organization
I've written previously about the importance of mentoring in the workplace and the benefits that can be gained from a mentoring program. In an article titled Top 5 Benefits of Internal Mentoring, I outlined the benefits that can come from mentoring within your own organization.
But what if you are in a smaller organization that doesn't have the resources or the personnel to create a mentoring program? There are ways in which you can benefit from mentoring, even if it is not from an employee of your own.
Think about the individuals that you can reach out to for assistance: Professional associations, community board members, and formal mentor organizations are just a few options.
Lee Harvey, former Director of the Centre for Research and Evaluation at Sheffield Hallam University, defines professional associates as "a group of people in a learned occupation who are entrusted with maintaining control or oversight of the legitimate practice of the occupation."
These individuals, who have proven themselves in their fields, will mentor employees from a number of organizations for the simple fact that the want to remain engaged in the business. You can begin to identify potential mentors by contacting specific professional or industry associations that a specific mentee in your organization can benefit from.
An example is the Institute of Managerial Accountants. They would be a great resource for internal accounts looking for a mentor.
Community Board Members
Community Board members differ from professional associates in that community boards are organizations that utilize volunteers from the area to help advise the leadership of not-for-profits. These are both learned and experienced people who have an interest in volunteering already and mentoring is another opportunity for them to share their knowledge and expertise.
Formal Mentor Organization
Mentor organizations are the "best of the best," so to speak. These organizations provide a structured mentoring program utilizing both volunteers and paid professionals that act as a consultant for third party organizations. Instead of volunteers who want to remain active, this is usually a for-profit organization that you can hire to mentor others in your organization. Through formal mentors, results are usually more consistent and marginally better than the other options.
Whether you choose someone from your profession, your community, or a professional, mentors can provide your organization with a number of benefits. By the same token, it is worth looking into allowing your top performers to mentor for local organizations, just as an athlete would cross-train, because individuals in the corporate world could benefit learning from and teaching at other organizations.