Building a Mentoring Culture in Your Organization

There are a ton of benefits to establishing a culture of mentoring within your organization. This post will share those benefits with you and explain how to cultivate the mentoring culture within your organization.

Learning is a two way street

Within any organization you have your mentors (the ones who give information) and the mentees (the recipients of information).

When you create a culture of mentorship, mentees will feel more protected and welcome in your organization’s culture if they have good mentorship.

At the same time, mentors benefit from solidifying their wisdom and establishing their expertise through generosity and teaching.

Mentorship accelerates learning.

In a culture with mentorship, information flows freely throughout the organization.

You just need one really good mentor knowledgeable in an area, and everyone will benefit from that knowledge. Having a quality mentor elevates everyone to the highest common denominator.

You want knowledge to flow from the highest point instead of individuals being hyper-focused in some areas and left out of others.

Define mentorship roles

One way to bake culture into your organization is to have mentorship become a specific role.

One of the many advantages of a role based system like Holacracy is that you get to be explicit about the roles that you care about.

In addition to someone’s various other roles that they take on, mentorship can become one of them.

For example, let’s pretend you create the role of a Design Mentor in your organization. The explicit purpose is to focus on those junior designers who know less. Accountabilities are clearly spelled out and inspire the mentors to give feedback, guide, and suggest resources.

Once you have a role, you can add goals and metrics for success. Think about metrics such as surveying junior staff. Or, setting the goal that a junior position will learn at least one new skill within their field each month.

Mentorship creates a healthy feedback culture

Another important aspect of mentorship is to create a healthy feedback culture.

Feedback is a skill, and it needs to be acquired, honed and practiced. Your team needs to give it the time and focus it needs to become really good at it.

The more you increase the flow of feedback in your culture, the quicker things go in terms of mentorship and learning.

The biggest impediment to learning is the lack of humility.

We’ve become a culture of know-it-alls. In our society, it is somehow wrong to admit ignorance. But how can you learn if you pretend to know everything?

Not knowing is the freedom to be open to knowledge and new experience.

Starting from the most powerful position in the organization, you can set the tone for humility by admitting ignorance when ignorance is true and invite teaching with humility and alertness.

Everyone can mentor everyone within the organization. Even the most powerful positions in the company have something to learn from others.

By creating a tone of mentorship, you create a safe place for others to be humble and admit when they need help.
This speeds up progress, innovation and communication within your organization.