Focus on Mentoring

Mentoring involves working with your most talented employees to help them advance (ignore them and they may find someone else!).

Benefits include:

  • Faster learning curves
  • Increased communication of corporate values
  • Retention of top talent
  • Increased loyalty
  • Improved communication and sense of team
  • Increased productivity
  • Creation of innovative environment
  • Acquisition of key allies for the future


The process involves the use of many coaching techniques, but goes above and beyond helping an employee (“protégé”) to do his/her job well. Mentors share their experience and wisdom over a longer period of time to develop others to do what they do so well.

A mentor is:

  • A role model (lives the organization’s values)
  • A coach (clarifies the way the company operates and encourages the “mentee” to avoid traps that might derail them)
  • A broker (makes your contacts available to the mentee)
  • An advocate (becomes a cheerleader; helps them into the spotlight)

Keep in mind – You can either serve as a mentor to employees yourself or take steps to help them find their own mentors.


In developing a strong mentoring relationship, you should ensure that you understand what makes a good mentee, as well as what qualities you should have to be an effective mentor.

A Good Mentor:

  • Has strong interpersonal skills
  • Maintains good contacts inside and outside the organization
  • Openly recognizes accomplishments of others
  • Demonstrates proven management skills
  • Has knowledge of field
  • Makes themselves available
  • Shows a desire to mentor (without guarantee of success!)

A Good Mentee:

  • Has a track record of success
  • Shows initiative
  • Is loyal and committed to company’s values
  • Has a results-orientation
  • Enjoys and willingly accepts challenge
  • Takes responsibility for career path and growth
  • Values feedback, and welcomes suggestions for change

You should also keep in mind that:

  • It must become part of your schedule – meet once or twice/month
  • Use thought-provoking questions in discussions of how best to handle specific issues faced by mentee
  • Don’t hold back giving constructive criticism
  • Share your successes and your failures
  • Build mutual trust.


  • Tools for Mentors– Tools that will help make your mentoring relationships productive and satisfying (from the Center for Coaching and Mentoring – a US website)
  • Assess your Mentoring Preferences– An online instrument to assess your mentoring preferences
  • Coach and Mentor Definitions– Detailed information from the Coaching and Mentoring Network (a UK website)
  • CanWit eMentorship– A social network that connects women in technology with experienced mentors for career development; helps make the match and is suitable for both mentors and those seeking a mentor
  • Canadian Women in Communications (CWC)– This program has been established to increase the number of women in the communications industry to become senior leaders. Participants must be members of the CWC to be eligible
  • Canada Youth Business Foundation Peer Mentoring Program– Provides qualified business mentors for young entrepreneurs. Training is provided for both the mentor and partner to support the relationship