In the business world, the word "mentor" might not come up as often as it does in the academic world - but it should. There is just as much to learn and teach in the office, and both seasoned employees and recent college graduates have a skill set to pass down to someone in need of knowledge.
If you're a business owner interested in creating a better environment in the office and boosting the company's productivity, now is the time to learn more about why mentoring will work for you. And, if your business is of the Internet variety, there are numerous opportunities to create relationships in cyberspace.
What is mentoring?
Mentoring is the act of building a useful relationship between two people - in this case, for the purpose of career development. Mentoring typically involves the "mentor," or the more experienced person, and the "mentee," or the student. The mentor tends to lead by example, rather than simply telling his or her pupil what to do. A successful mentoring relationship is one where both parties respect each other as well as the business.
What is the benefit of mentoring in the workplace?
Many people think that mentoring is a relationship between a professor, or other type of teacher, and a student. But the fact is, mentoring is gaining popularity within the workplace for good reasons. In the business of blogging and developing content, the following advantages are important.
- A mentor can help you navigate the policies and procedures of a website.
- A mentor can introduce the mentee to important individuals within the field, including sources for new ideas regarding content.
- A mentor can keep the mentee abreast of industry changes and let the mentee know about opportunities inside and outside the company.
- The mentor can help the mentee assess career strengths and weaknesses and determine future goals. As they say, everyone needs an editor!
How can you make your mentoring program a two-way street?
Particularly for today's blogs and content sites, the mentor is not the only one doing the teaching, nor is the mentee the only one doing the learning. A mentoring program can – and should – be a two-way street. Fresh graduates and newcomers to the industry are able to offer a great deal of information that seasoned folks might otherwise miss out on.
- Mentoring benefits mentors because it allows them to improve on coaching and constructive criticism.
- Younger professionals often have different interests and a finger on a different "pulse" in culture.
- Newcomers can offer knowledge about social media and other forms of marketing your content to readers.
What advantages exist for blogs and content providers to use mentoring?
Mentoring online, or "e-mentoring," as it is often called, is swiftly gaining in popularity. Like traditional mentoring, it largely began in the world of academics, with struggling students finding support from an online mentor – often one they have never met in person. Fortunately, e-mentoring works just as well for business as it does for school.
For content publishers, e-mentoring is one of the best ways to streamline what goes out into the world from your site.
Here are a few advantages of e-mentoring for blogs and content providers.
- Distance is not a detriment. A mentor and mentee can be hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away from each other and still communicate and exchange ideas on how to create great content and share with others.
- Online mentoring can be more cost-effective for businesses, since face-to-face meetings – with coffee or lunches – aren't necessary.
- Mentors and mentees alike may feel it's easier to be themselves and be upfront with questions in an online relationship.
What's the best way to start a mentoring program for online publishing?
- Set up a dedicated way for mentors and mentees to communicate with one another, like an email address that is specifically for program requirements.
- Develop basic policies, such as how much time is required of the mentor and mentee in the program and what goals will be accomplished through the program.
- Develop activities that can be accomplished through the e-mentoring program. These may include working collaboratively on a blog or visiting other sites and making note of what works and what doesn't in terms of readability.
Remember, there is always an opportunity to learn from a colleague, especially through mentoring. E-mentoring can foster relationships in the remote world of the Internet, plus boost readership for your site.