One prominent feature of the changing face of mentoring is the method by which a mentorship is 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.
E-mentoring offers the convenience and accessibility that traditional mentoring lacks. It’s a sensible alternative when physical presence is not possible, when there is a group of individuals that need mentoring, or when you need to gain access to 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?
First, let’s take a moment to understand exactly what e-mentoring is.
E-mentoring is a method of mentoring that is not based on physical location or face-to-face interactions. Interactions are conducted through an online platform, through email, video conferencing, and/or over the telephone. E-mentoring is a mentoring tool that is frequently used in education, group mentoring, small-scale companies, and for senior management.
The significant benefits of e-mentoring have made it a popular discussion topic in professional groups across the globe. Those benefits include:
- No restrictions: E-mentoring is about accessibility and flexibility. Designed to be incorporated into a busy schedule, e-mentoring is meant to complement the many responsibilities today’s business professionals take on, and to extend its benefits despite the time-crunch. Physical location does not factor in to e-mentoring, and so does not restrict its functionality.
- 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 thoughtfully prepare questions and construct replies. Communication is unhindered by nerves, awkwardness, or social restraints. Interactions are unhurried and flexible. This encourages honest communication and clarity in scope. What’s more, e-mentoring by nature produces a physical record of activity and communications that can be referred to later on. All of these features allow e-mentoring to create an environment of honesty and authenticity.
- Alternate method: 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 that many business professionals face.
- 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 own backyard. Participants have access to varying viewpoints, expertise, and skill sets. The mentoring environment is fluid, allowing participants to change the method of communication and mentoring strategy as needed. Interactions take place frequently and easily, 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 a strictly e-mentoring or traditional mentorship. There is plenty of grey area waiting to be filled with creative and flexible methods of mentoring. You might conduct communication strictly over the Internet, or you might supplement online interactions with occasional video or phone conferences. You might even combine these e-mentoring methods with traditional mentoring methods, such as occasional face-to-face meetings. The point is that e-mentoring offers alternatives and flexibility. With e-mentoring so readily available and accessible, there is no reason why anyone has to bypass the benefits and career advantages of a 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.
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