A recently published survey of CIOs pointed to mentoring as the most effective talent development technique currently in use.
Two articles, "Mentoring or Coaching/Consulting Found to Be the Best Leadership Development Tactic" and "CIOs Say Mentoring Works, Classes Don’t" refer to the same study. To quote the first article "In fact, mentoring or coaching was the only leadership development technique that was rated highly successful or successful by half of the surveys of respondents."
While I'm personally pleased to read that mentoring is the top tool it's interesting to speculate why that is the case?
I believe mentoring is more impactful than other talent development techniques such as taking courses because:
- Mentoring is a 1:1 activity. A mentee gets a lot of personal attention - usually much more so than in a class.
- Mentoring does not have a set "lesson plan". This encourages broadness of learning as the mentoring relationship can cover a multitude of topics.
- Mentoring is a confidential activity which creates an atmosphere for deeper connection and learning.
- Mentoring allows for networking which is key to growing one's sphere of influence. Influence being a critical skill in leadership.
- In a mentor the mentee will (usually) find a champion for their advancement. Not that the mentor is necessarily public in their support. But having that type of champion, in other words someone that believes in you, can give someone the necessary confidence boost they need to advance towards their goals.
This is another great data point to support having a formal or even informal mentoring program at your company and to participate in that program if you aren't doing so already.