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Benefits of Mentoring Relationships Both mentors and protégés can benefit from a mentoring relationship. Research suggests that mentors provide career and psychosocial support to their protégés. Career support includes coaching, protection, sponsorship, and providing challenging assignments, exposure, and visibility. Psychosocial support includes serving as a friend and a role model, providing positive regard and acceptance, and creating an outlet for the protégé to talk about anxieties and fears. Additional benefits for the protégé include gaining knowledge and skills, higher rates of promotion, higher salaries, and greater organizational influence.110 Mentoring relationships provide opportunities for mentors to develop their interpersonal skills and increase their feelings of self-esteem and worth to the organization. For individuals in technical fields such as engineering or health services, the protégé may help them gain knowledge about important new scientific developments in their field (and therefore prevent them from becoming technically obsolete). José Yanes served as a mentor for several employees at Ford Motor Company.111 He found that serving as a mentor helped his own personal development by helping him improve his own communication skills and work harder at building trust with other people. Protégés can also help mentors learn about how to use social media such as Twitter and Facebook and to understand the needs and motivations of younger employees.112 This is especially the case in reverse mentoring programs. Reverse mentoring refers to mentoring in which younger employees mentor more senior employees. For example, UnitedHealth Group pairs senior executives with emerging millennial leaders.113 UnitedHealth hopes the program will help the executives see the business differently as well as better understand the latest uses of technology and social media and how to create a workplace that will attract, retain, and motivate millennials and Generation Zers. page 431For example, for a high-level leader for at UnitedHealth, quality of care was primarily related to patient outcomes. But as a result of his monthly meetings with his millennial mentor, he realized that her generation was also concerned with the speed of access to care and customer service. Through her participation in the program, the millennial mentor gained access to a high-level manager with whom she normally would not have contact. Also, although she is a younger and less experienced employee, the experience improved her self-confidence by showing that her ideas are important and can benefit the company. Mentoring can also occur between mentors and protégés from different organizations. For example, the creators of the Bumble dating app have created Bumble Bizz, which allows users to search for prospective mentors and network with other professionals.114 Users create a professional profile including their career goals and can choose to complete a skills inventory and provide a digital résumé, samples of their work, and a digital photograph. When two users swipe right on each other’s profiles they can chat using text. Mentoring programs can also help encourage women and minorities, who tend to be underrepresented in leadership positions, to develop management skills and move into management positions.115 Accenture has set goals to increase the percentage of female employees in managing director positions by 2025. To help reach this goal the company developed a four-year sponsorship program. Each year 30 women participate in the program. Each woman gets two sponsors on the company’s leadership team who serve as mentors and advocates when managing director positions become available. Eighty percent of the sponsored women have received more responsibilities in their current positions or have moved to higher-level leadership positions.

Question: Mentoring programs benefit both the mentor and the protégé – given this, should all high potential employees be both a mentor and a protégé? (Note: think about the pros and cons).

 

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