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Everything you need to know about the #powerofmentoring, powered by MentorCloud. 

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Honor Roll: Rewarding Your Mentors

It’s important to reward your employees for the contributions they make to the company, whether it’s in the form of formal recognition or tangible rewards. Many organizations have realized the value of positive reinforcement and have made a point of incorporating it into their corporate cultures. Even a little recognition can go a long way towards motivating your employees and generating pride in their work.

The problem is that formal reward or recognition of established employees—your company’s mentors, for example—often goes undeclared. It’s not surprising, really; these employees have earned their places in the company, are self-sufficient, and need little direction. They already know they’re appreciated, right?

Well, not necessarily.

No matter how established we are or how successful we’ve been in our careers, we all need to be reminded from time to time that we are assets to the companies we work for. An employee acting as a mentor to other employees is especially valuable to the company, since they most likely have extensive knowledge and experience, good interpersonal skills, and strong loyalties to the organization. Mentors contribute to the overall growth of the company; both through their own work and the work they do with mentees. Their commitment is such that they are willing to invest their time and energy in developing the future workforce of the company. These are not employees you want to ignore or take for granted, but who should be recognized on a regular basis for their hard work and dedication.  

As we stated earlier, mentors can be rewarded through formal recognition or tangible rewards, such as monetary rewards, tokens of recognition, like a personalized plaque or pin, or bonus days off. Further examples might include:

Non-Monetary Rewards:

  • A company-wide email at year-end recognizing the employee for their hard work and contributions throughout the year.
  • A profile piece in a company newsletter or website, highlighting a mentor’s work and the value they bring to the company.
  • On-the-spot rewards, like a personalized thank you note or certificate of appreciation.

Monetary Rewards:

  • A quarterly incentive plan tied to their contributions as mentors and the success of their mentorships.
  • Small prizes for their efforts, like gift cards, certificates, gift baskets, or spot bonuses.
  • Lunch with the President or CEO.

It’s ultimately up to the organization how you want to reward your employees, but your efforts to show a small amount of appreciation will pay off in a big way. Employees who are rewarded for their hard work and exceptional contributions are likely to continue working hard. They’ll know they’re making a difference, and that the company appreciates everything they do, no matter how long they’ve been around or how well established they already are in their careers. 

If this post resonated with you, check with your organization to see whether you are part of the MentorCloud network. If not, sign up for a demo here! Our vision is to create a mentoring planet in which true equality is achieved and hard work is rewarded, but it's only possible with your participation. 

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Mentor Speak: The Language of Leadership

We understand that not all mentors, or those who could and should be mentors, occupy leadership roles. But once you become a mentor your mentees will look to you for guidance, advice, inspiration, and a good example. Sound a bit like leadership qualities to you? Well, that’s because they are, and as a mentor, you’ll need to have them.

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Mentoring: The Entrepreneur's Ticket to Startup Success

For many startups, hiring a mentor may not be a top priority on a long list of things to do. But for entrepreneurs who are just starting out in running a business of their own, incorporating the guidance and knowledge of an experienced mentor into the program can be integral in helping avoid many of the mistakes that startups make from the get-go.

According to Entrepreneur magazine, there are 6 Common Mistakes People Make When Starting a Business, and the #1 mistake is not choosing the right team of people to work with. You’ve heard the saying that your company is only as strong as the team behind it, and that is never truer than with a startup. Starting a business is hard, and there are potential wrong decisions around every corner. What tasks do you prioritize? How do you build a team that works well together and is motivated to see the business succeed? How do you position your product or service in the market? How much do you spend on marketing, and what are the best methods? As a startup, these are all decisions you must make, and an experienced mentor can help you make them.

Entrepreneurs are smart, ambitions individuals with plenty of business savvy, but the smartest entrepreneur knows that he/she is never finished learning. Most likely, the team of individuals you choose to run your startup is entrepreneurial-minded as well, which means there should be no shortage of ideas and suggestions about which direction the company should go. A seasoned mentor, with their years of business experience, market knowledge, and networking to draw from, fits naturally into this scenario. They will help the team sift through their many ideas and seize the opportunities that have the most promise.

More than anything, a mentor can help the team behind a startup grow even stronger by focusing on interpersonal relationships. They can teach you how to leverage strong personalities and how to position risk-takers and natural leaders into the right roles. If you have a team of people who work well together and possess the roles that capitalize on their strengths, you’ll have a secret weapon with the power to propel any product or service towards success.

Mentoring is quickly becoming an important aspect in most organizations’ business plans and cultures. Business leaders are starting to recognize more and more the value of mentoring, not only for the growth of their employees, but also for themselves. In the case of a startup run by a much smaller group of individuals making very big decisions, having access to the experience and guidance a mentor can offer is even more important. Mentors augment the entrepreneurial process by developing marketing strategies, offering suggestions to expand the entrepreneurial network, strengthening interpersonal relationships, and keeping an open mind for new and innovative ideas. Instead of making common startup mistakes, you'll be well on your way to building a smart company bound for success.

If this post resonated with you, check with your organization to see whether you are part of the MentorCloud network. If not, sign up for a demo here! Our vision is to create a mentoring planet in which true equality is achieved and hard work is rewarded, but it's only possible with your participation. 

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The Six Pillars: Building Character Into Your Mentorships

There is no arguing that in order to be a good leader, you need to have good character. But it’s tricky enough building your own character; how do you go about building the character of another person—say, a mentee who is depending on you to show them how to succeed in their career?

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Planning for Success: Creating Your Mentoring Plan

A goal without a plan is just a wish. —Antoine de Saint Exupéry

The quote is not very optimistic, but it’s quite fitting. It’s very hard to realize your goals if you don’t have a plan of action. And mentees want to realize their goals. They want to be successful, and they’re looking to you—their mentor—to help them figure out where to start, what steps to take, and which efforts will pay off the most. It’s up to you to use your skills and expertise to devise a plan to help them reach their goals.

In many cases, planning gets a bad rap. You hear a lot of advice telling you to scrap the plan, let your instincts guide you, take risks. And oftentimes, this is good advice. You can’t plan everything, after all, but when it comes to mentoring, planning is essential. And there’s no reason why you can’t build a little risk into the plan.

If you’re feeling uncertain about creating a plan, don’t be. You’re the right person for the job. You’ve got experience—know-how. You’ve been there, and you know how to get from there to where you are. You know what you’d do differently if you had the chance to go back and do it again. These are the elements you build into your mentoring plan: your experience and the lessons you learned. In this way, mentoring is a bit like parenting: you get the opportunity to guide another person away from the mistakes you made and towards the advantages you never had.

Creating a mentoring plan is a highly individual process. You’ll have to get to know your mentee so that you can devise a plan that encourages their strengths and challenges their weaknesses. Building a schedule is a crucial step in devising a strong mentoring plan. Your mentee could be any sort of person. They might be very good at meeting deadlines, or they may never have made it to a meeting on time in their lives. Your goal is the same: to help them build integrity, teach them the importance of respecting another’s time, and show them the advantage of being prepared. A sturdy schedule serves as the backbone of an effective mentoring relationship.

Beyond a robust schedule, your mentoring plan should contain a few additional elements: a set of stages to encourage progress and carry you and your mentor through the relationship; important details, like where, when, and how often meetings will take place, what topics will be discussed, and which goals will be set; regular evaluations to determine whether or not the mentorship is meeting expectations; regular tasks and exercises designed to build on a mentee’s skill-set, increase their confidence, and challenge them; a system of rewards or recognition that highlights each time your mentee has a big win; and finally, a clear timeline for completing the mentorship.

As you take on new mentees and get to know their individual differences and preferences, you’ll undoubtedly incorporate new elements into your mentoring plans. The important thing is to create a plan that reinforces the relationship and has the mentee’s goals as its primary cause. 

Have you had success with a mentoring plan? What are some of the elements that worked best for you? Contact MentorCloud to share some of your best practices with us, or share your ideas with us on Facebook or Twitter.

If this post resonated with you, check with your organization to see whether you are part of the MentorCloud network. If not, sign up for a demo here! Our vision is to create a mentoring planet in which true equality is achieved and hard work is rewarded, but it's only possible with your participation. 

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