One prominent feature of the changing face of mentoring is the method by which mentorship is getting conducted. In the past, mentorships were generally conducted face-to-face, through one-on-one meetings and scheduled sessions. That scenario is no longer necessary, or even preferred, in today's busy and versatile business world. Today's tech-savvy and mobile business professionals don't have the time to dedicate to regular, on-site meetings that take place in a particular location. Instead, many of these promising individuals go without the guidance and support they need to help them reach their goals and succeed in their careers.
E-mentoring is one very viable solution that bridges the gap between need and availability. It offers the convenience and accessibility that traditional mentoring lacks. It's a sensible alternative when physical presence is not possible, when a group of individuals needs mentoring, or when you need to access a cache of expert mentors based outside your physical location. E-mentoring is your conduit to knowledge and expertise around the world. So, what is significant about e-mentoring?
E-mentoring and Benefits it Offers
According to Akin and Hilbern (2007), the “definition of e-mentoring” is as follows: The use of mentoring and electronic communications to establish and maintain mentoring connections between a senior individual (mentor) and a less competent or experienced individual (protégé), regardless of geography or availability issues. Interactions in this mode happen through an online platform, through email, video conferencing, or telephone.
The significant benefits of e-mentoring have made it a popular discussion topic in professional groups across the globe. Those benefits include:
E-mentoring is about accessibility and flexibility. It is smartly designed to complement today's business professionals' many responsibilities and extend its benefits despite the time crunch. Physical location does not factor into e-mentoring and so does not restrict its functionality.
2-Honesty and clarity
E-mentoring allows mentors and mentees time to think and process new information. Compared to traditional mentoring, which takes place under the pressure of face-to-face meetings, e-mentoring allows room to prepare questions and construct replies thoughtfully. What's more, e-mentoring by nature produces a physical record of activity and communications that can be referred to later. All of these features allow e-mentoring to create an environment of honesty and authenticity.
Rather than bypassing the many advantages that mentoring can provide, e-mentoring offers an alternative to the labor-intensive and time-consuming process that traditional mentoring can present. It is a way to gain valuable knowledge and skills, despite the distance, place, and time barriers many business professionals face.
4-Flexibility in scope
E-mentorships move and grow with the participants. Because it is not limited to place and time, e-mentoring allows mentors and mentees to make connections across the world, rather than their backyard. Participants have access to varying viewpoints, expertise, and skillsets. The mentoring environment is fluid, allowing participants to change the communication and mentoring strategy as needed. Interactions take place frequently and quickly, at the click of a few buttons.
With its many benefits, e-mentoring is a natural alternative to traditional mentoring. Even so, individuals are not limited to strictly e-mentoring or formal mentorship. There is plenty of a grey area waiting for fulfillment with creative and flexible methods of mentoring. You might conduct communication strictly over the Internet or supplement online interactions with an occasional video or phone conferences. You might even combine these e-mentoring methods with traditional mentoring methods, such as periodic face-to-face meetings. The point is that e-mentoring offers alternatives and flexibility. With it so readily available and accessible, there is no reason why anyone has to bypass the benefits and career advantages of successful mentorship.
Are you looking to boost your workforce by incorporating e-mentoring into your organization? Contact MentorCloud to learn more about how it can work for you. If this post was valuable to you, please feel free to share it across your social media channels. Also, please give us your thoughts on best practices or your experiences with mentoring. Thank you for reading, and check back in every Monday and Thursday for original posts on the #powerofmentoring!