Mentoring and coaching have been buzzwords within management for many years. However, traditional mentoring methods are not as efficient or successful as they were in the past. Here are some foundational pointers that might help you with mentoring in your organization.
Many, but not all, veteran project managers think that the younger members of our “tribe” aren’t interested in being mentored because they already have a mentor named “Google.” Oxford professor Karl Moore wrote in Forbes magazine:
“We believe that Millennials are typically more interested than previous generations in finding a mentor. They have grown up with the notion that one must constantly seek the advice of another, and social media has put this notion on steroids.”
So how do you start?
1. Understand their motives. Millennials will seek mentoring for a variety of reasons. Growing as a human being is a big part of that, but they also are naturally curious. It could be that they are just looking for someone to help them better their hobbies, which in turn, benefits their personal life. Once you’ve accomplished that, you might be in a stronger position to help them increase their knowledge in other areas.
2. Be the “Search Engine Enhancement.” Because they have access to quite a bit of information at their fingertips, you want to become the filter they can use to weed out the bad from the good. Just think about how the Internet can serve up bad information, as well as good bits.
3. Involve food. Having coffee and just building relationships with people has led to mentoring and coaching opportunities. Plus, it also becomes a two-way street!
No matter what, get started. Work with your senior management to start mentoring programs such as “brown bag lunch talks.” Or take that project that is full of Generation X’ers or Millennials, and just be available in general. Being the bridge to the next generation is one of the keys to your success as well.