One of the best investments that a company can make is to offer mentoring to their high-potential employees. The Neal Whitten Group provides mentoring to project managers and employees in leadership positions.
For those of you with years of project management (PM) experience, think back how much a PM mentor—the right mentor under the right circumstances—would have helped you accelerate your learning of both the hard and soft skills, avoid some hefty mistakes, and as a side benefit, might have moved your career ahead sooner.
For those of you new or relatively new to project management, ask yourself, “How often do I wish I could be mentored by a PM veteran who has been there, done that, messed up and lived to learn from the experience?”
Webster’s definition of a mentor is “a wise and loyal advisor.” This says and implies a lot of things. Here is a short list of example guidelines that a mentor embraces to enrich the mentee’s opportunity to develop his or her potential:
- Help enhance the mentee’s performance
- Provide a penalty-free relationship with the mentee and never betray confidences
- Help identify and develop the mentee’s strengths, interests and specific skill areas for improvement
- Assist in the creation of a Personal Development Plan for the mentee
- Meet at least monthly with the mentee
The most effective project managers are developed day-to-day, not year-to-year and project-mistake-to-project-mistake. Although project mistakes will happen—even with the best of mentoring—project managers who have strong mentors should find their effectiveness on their projects improving… and the company and everyone connected with the project will share in those gains.