Happy National Mentoring Day! Here at Moving Ahead, the 27th October gives us an annual opportunity to reflect on mentoring as a powerful catalyst for change. This year also marks the first anniversary of our mentoring research report, ‘Turning the gender diversity dial’. This research looked at whether and how mentoring can accelerate inclusion and diversity for organisations. So, I want to take the opportunity today to celebrate mentoring in all its forms and also the ongoing relevance of the report as a mechanism for creating impact and excellence.
Here are five things we’ve learned and affirmed since our report was published:
1. The 11 outcomes of effective mentoring hold true
Our research uncovered that when done well, mentoring has 11 outcomes. With another year of experience under our belts, I can say with increased certainty that these 11 outcomes hold true. It’s growing ever clearer that mentoring does foster meaningful connections, empower and develop confidence, generate creativity and innovation. It’s also a lever to create empathetic leadership and accelerate cultural change.
2. Technology enables effective mentoring
There are few things more humanistic than downing tools and bringing two people together in a real-life mentoring conversation, yet technology can be a powerful catalyst for efficacy within mentoring programmes. I look forward to seeing how our new technologies, Atlas (our new matching platform) and Athena (our new online digital training toolkit), launched this year, will add an even greater level of support to our mentors, mentees and organisations.
3. Organisations are becoming braver
It is exciting to see so many types of mentoring that we outlined in the report being adopted by organisations to secure specific outcomes. We’re continuing to work on all forms of mentoring. Each brings unique benefits. Here are just a few of the different types we’re proud to be involved in – mentoring circles with Phoenix Group; Internal talent and culture change programmes with The Guardian, Athlete mentoring on our Athlete-to-business programme, peer mentoring triads on our LEAD programme, and Mission Include our mentoring programme that involves reverse mentoring circles, working across the traditional silos of gender, race, sexuality to also encompass broader diversity indicators that focus on the individual, not the label.
4. Wellbeing and mentoring are inextricably linked
Our report into workplace wellbeing (March 2018) found that mentoring conversations are one of the best and most under-utilised interventions for improving individual wellbeing within organisations. I look forward to seeing wellbeing mentoring evolve, and the result it has on diversity and inclusion.
5. Our theory-meets-practice approach to research works
All our reports are the result of a combination of desk-based research and extensive interviews with organisations and individuals. They combine the latest academic knowledge with the realities of working ‘on the ground.’ For me, these reports give organisations the confidence, insights and tools to step forward and make real, positive change.
The best way to celebrate National Mentoring Day is surely through mentoring itself; by engaging in, or enabling, inspiring conversations. For concrete steps on how to make mentoring as effective as possible, look no further than our report.
Many organisations are already embracing mentoring and we’re seeing it work for mentors, mentees and organisations from every sector. We were delighted earlier this month to have launched the sixth year of the world’s largest cross-company mentoring scheme with the 30% Club – with 2,500 mentors and mentees and 107 organisations. Our cross-company mentoring programme for actuarials – a first for those in the profession – received high praise from Nicky Morgan MP. We’re powering Santander’s Breakthrough Women Business Leaders’ Mentoring Programme for female entrepreneurs and, most recently, have partnered with Women in Rail to re-invigorate their already successful rail industry mentoring programme for 2019.
Happy National Mentoring day.