In our ever more connected world, it can feel like you have every answer at your fingertips. A quick search online can yield results in any number of fields. But is that the best way for your teams to find answers to their burning questions?
What if you could create a way for individuals to connect to colleagues quickly in order to share skills, knowledge and experience, while also benefiting from building their networks and creating a better employee culture?
Well, this is why you need a flash mentoring program.
What is flash mentoring?
Flash mentoring, as the name suggests, is all about speedy one-off mentoring sessions. The focus is on learning a key piece of information or skill from a knowledgeable mentor. This type of mentoring encourages brief but impactful knowledge sharing, without making a long-term commitment to the relationship.
What are the key benefits of flash mentoring?
Flash mentoring is an important part of your mentoring toolkit. Due to its speed and flexibility, it allows participants to get stuck into a mentoring session quickly and reap the benefits that mentoring has to offer.
It can be a real game-changer for getting more people involved in your mentoring programs, as individuals seek out mentoring sessions quickly and without the pressure of investing in a long-term relationship. It’s also a great way to foster continuous learning in your organisation.
This has benefits for both you and your people that include:
- Encourage knowledge sharing: Your employees are an invaluable source of business and industry-specific knowledge. Flash mentoring creates a formalised and fast way to build a culture of knowledge sharing.
- Break down silos: Flash mentoring can be used to break down silos in a business by connecting people inter-departmentally. It helps employees to widen their networks and understand different parts of the business in short, time-efficient sessions.
- Less administrative burden: As sessions are scheduled on a one-off basis, a key administrative benefit of a flash mentoring programme is that it is easier to manage. Participants no longer need to be matched for regular sessions but can slot mentoring around other commitments.
- Complements other programmes: Flash mentoring also works well with other types of mentoring such as group or peer to peer mentoring. It can provide people with support and a sense of community even after short one-off sessions.
For mentees and mentors…
- Share skills: If you need to quickly up skill in a certain area, flash mentoring is a great way to find someone with the skills and knowledge you need, in a flash! Similarly, you may have a skill that your colleagues would benefit from that would make your life easier for them to know.
- Build networks: Flash mentoring opens the door to meeting new colleagues. After a session, you may find yourself returning the favour and offering up knowledge on your area of expertise in return.
- Find project-specific support: When you are stuck on a project or need one-off support on a specific subject, flash mentoring can help. You may need expertise in problem-solving, developing a strategy or digital skills, and find that a flash mentor can help you out at speed.
- Meet potential new mentors or mentees: Flash mentoring can be a great way to try out a mentor relationship without the pressure to commit. You may find you click with someone through flash mentoring and want to develop that relationship further.
The challenges of a flash mentoring program… and what to do about them
As with any new mentoring program, there may be challenges that arise. With good preparation and forethought, you can overcome these challenges and set up a program that achieves your goals.
Here are some key challenges to look out for:
How do you ensure that participants get enough value from short one-off sessions?
Answer: Providing support for both parties on how to prepare for sessions, how to structure their time and how to follow up afterwards can help participants to get the most value from short sessions.
What about mentors, will they get as much out of the sessions?
Yes, although it is worth noting that mentors may need to prepare more in advance for sessions in which they are sharing specific hard skills. Mentors can decide what areas they are happy to work on and re-use materials for different mentees to make it easier.
They will also still benefit from the relationship by developing leadership and teaching skills and can learn from the perspective and experience of the mentee too.
Is it harder to form a connection in a flash mentoring session?
It may be. Some people may find they benefit more from a long-term program where they build stronger relationships. However, flash mentoring will suit people that benefit from short, targeted interactions and are not looking for long-term relationships. It depends on who you are and how you connect to people.
Is flash mentoring the right choice for your business?
There are many different types of mentoring to choose from. While they all provide a whole host of benefits, flash mentoring brings a specific set of benefits that make it an excellent addition to your mentoring program.
If you need…
- To increase skill sharing in a simple, easy to schedule way
- To break down silos and introduce employees to colleagues inter-departmentally
- To provide project-specific support and problem-solving expertise, at speed
- To increase participation in your mentoring program
…then a flash mentoring program could be just what you’re looking for!
To find out more about flash mentoring and access program templates and checklists, download our latest e-book below.