peer learning FAQs
Answering your top frequently asked questions
on mentoring and peer learning.
Find out the answers to the top frequently asked questions about mentoring, coaching, peer learning and our software below.
Let’s start with the basics…
Mentoring Definition: The act or process of helping and guiding another person to support their personal development.
In short, mentoring is the act of supporting, advising and guiding another person, or people, for the purposes of personal growth. A mentor uses their knowledge and personal experience to help a mentee to develop. Find out more in our article What is a Mentor.
A reverse mentoring program, for example, can be a great way to educate senior leaders on the issues faced by marginalised groups. In this type of mentoring, the junior employee acts as the mentor to someone senior.
This is just one example of how the types of mentoring can be used. We’ve put together a full guide to the different types and their uses.
The benefits of mentoring are wide-ranging for both the mentor, mentee and the organisation that’s running the program. Both parties can expect to improve their self-confidence, communication and leadership skills, and are both more likely to receive a promotion.
Organisations will benefit from greater productivity, the breaking down of inter-departmental silos and fostering a more inclusive working environment. But these are just a few examples! To find out more take a look at our guide to mentoring benefits.
Although they are similar concepts, mentoring and coaching have some key differences. In mentoring, the mentee leads the sessions, not the mentor, driving their personal development by setting the agenda. Mentoring is also free and ongoing, centred around building a relationship for personal growth.
Coaching, however, is driven by the coach, who is paid to provide learning in a particular area. Coaches are qualified and accredited by a reputable source, whereas mentors do not need to be professionally trained. You can learn more about the difference between mentoring and coaching on our blog.
Peer learning in the workplace is when colleagues come together to teach each other key skills and knowledge. This includes through mentoring, lunch and learns and shadowing.
It’s effective because everyone learns from the exchange. The ‘teacher’ consolidates their learning and the ‘student’ learns in a relaxed, equal environment.
Sponsorship is similar to mentoring with one key difference. The goal of a sponsor is to use their power and influence to actively open doors for their sponsee.
This means that they will vouch for their sponsee and help them gain access to progression opportunities, wider networks and even promotion. They will also offer guidance and advice, similar to mentoring, but with a stronger emphasis placed on what the sponsor can do outside of sessions to help the sponsee develop.
Allyship is when a person works in solidarity with someone else from a marginalised group in order to help take down the systems that challenge that group’s basic rights.
The purpose of an ally is that they use their position and power to create a safer workplace for everyone. An ally can be from the same or different background to the person they want to help, so long as they are committed to challenging systems and supporting those around them.
Next, let’s look at the questions
that organisations are asking…
Starting a mentoring program involves some careful planning. Luckily, we’ve put together this step by step guide to designing your mentoring program to help you.
You’ll need to consider factors such as the size and ambition of your program, as well as understand what you hope to achieve through mentoring. With proper preparation you can prevent problems later down the line, so make sure you invest time in the planning stages!
If you’re considering starting a mentoring program, you’ve likely come across mentoring software, such as Guider. There are different types of mentoring software but they are all designed to facilitate the organisation and management of effective mentoring programs.
This includes matching mentors and mentees, scheduling sessions, and tracking progress. If you want to scale your mentoring program effectively, mentoring software is essential. You can learn more about mentoring software on our blog.
Here at Guider, our mentoring software works using a sophisticated matching algorithm with a 96.5% matching accuracy. Users input their information and are matched with several potential mentors, giving them the power to choose. They are then able to communicate, book meetings and find additional resources through the platform, which also provides real-time metrics to help hit your success criteria.
To find out more about how Guider’s platform works, take a look at our guide.
Mentoring software is incredibly useful if you want to; run workplace mentoring programs at scale, reduce the number of hours needed to maintain your program and provide a better user experience that gets your people on board with mentoring.
We’ve gone into more detail on when to invest in mentoring software on our blog.
There are many benefits to starting a workplace mentoring program. At Guider, we firmly believe that mentoring is a must-have, not just a nice-to-have.
When you consider the uptick in productivity, employee satisfaction and personal growth of your people, as well as the reduction in employee churn and better retention rates, the question is really why shouldn’t you start a mentoring program?
Find out more on the cost of not doing mentoring.
A mentoring program can benefit your organisation in a number of ways. Recruitment, retention, employee engagement and company culture are the key areas to consider. Mentoring can also be used to support diversity & inclusion initiatives, as well as to develop future leaders and support employee wellbeing.
To find out more about the wide-ranging benefits of mentoring for organisations read our guide.
Finally, if you’re an individual looking to become or find amentor, you may have some questions too…
It might surprise you to know that anyone can be a mentor. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be of a certain age, experience level or position to be a good mentor. In fact, there is so much to learn from people of all ages and experience levels that it’s important to keep an open mind.
While many people can be good mentors, there are some key characteristics that they share. Including; listening skills, a strong interest in others and giving good feedback. These are all skills that you can learn and develop in order to become a great mentor and can look for in others.
We’ve written a guide to the top characteristics of a good mentor to learn more.
The ultimate objective of mentoring is personal and professional development. But, this can happen in a number of different ways such as; building confidence, knowledge sharing, developing leadership skills, or career planning.
It’s up to you to set the goals and objectives in your mentoring relationship and come up with a plan to achieve them. If you need additional guidance, we’ve put together a handy guide to goal setting.
Absolutely. Both finding a mentor and becoming one can boost your chances of promotion. This is because mentoring is a great way to develop your communication and leadership skills, as well as work on other specific knowledge areas that you need to progress in your career.
While this isn’t the only benefit, it’s a really common reason for people to seek out mentorship.
It’s not just mentees that benefit from mentoring. The mentor will improve their leadership and communication skills, improve confidence, learn from the different perspectives of their mentee, and are more likely to receive a promotion too. There are further benefits to the mentor’s mental health and wellbeing, with mentors reporting lower levels of stress and anxiety than those that don’t mentor.
Finding or becoming a mentor can be tricky, but there are good mentors out there we promise! The first place to look is within your current workplace. Is there a company mentoring program that you can join? If not, try contacting HR directly, who may be able to facilitate a match for you.
Outside of work, you can find mentors by reaching out to your network of colleagues and friends, joining industry networks or events, or looking for an external mentoring program. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people that you admire. For further guidance on how to approach mentors, we’ve put together a handy guide.
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