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24 NURSERY MANAGEMENT TODAY September / October 2013
Mentoring clearly benefits the
2. Group mentoring
This involves one mentor working
with four to six mentees at a time.
The group would usually meet
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Mentoring & your nursery. Nursery Management Today article september 2013


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A short article on bringing Mentoring into the workplace, published in the September / October 2013 issue of Nursery Management Today. Change Management / Coaching / Business Organisation / Employee Engagement / Human Resources / Efficiency

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Mentoring & your nursery. Nursery Management Today article september 2013

  1. 1. 24 NURSERY MANAGEMENT TODAY September / October 2013 nmttraining Mentoring clearly benefits the individual by improving overall performance, increasing satisfaction with their role and developing self- awareness. The mentor enjoys the satisfaction of developing transferable skills and helping their mentee - and the recognition of the organisation. For employees who feel valued generally show loyalty and commitment above and beyond their pay-scale. Recent research found that: G only 30 per cent of people are fully engaged at work G fewer than 50 per cent wish to remain with their current employer G 68 per cent feel unsupported. On the other hand, organisations with highly engaged staff outperform their low-engagement counterparts in both the private and improving performance, whereas mentoring emphasises the transfer of knowledge, and primarily focuses on identifying and nurturing the potential of the whole person. For example, in the Mentoring Handbook, it is defined as: ‘a confidential one-to-one relationship in which an individual uses a more experienced person as a sounding board and for guidance. It is a protected, non-judgemental relationship, which facilitates a wide range of learning, experimentation and development. It is built on mutual regard, trust and respect’ (Business Wales, 2013). Much workplace learning takes place informally, whether it’s someone learning from a line manager or peers learning from each other: both provide opportunities for everyone to grow and improve together. Exposure to good role models can be a daily constant in an organisation: in addition to informal mentoring, you can introduce a more structured approach to ensure that the skills and competencies that are identified as being positive and effective in the organisation are embedded in your team. In essence, mentoring involves motivating, inspiring and challenging, and is underpinned by nurturing, confidentiality and integrity. Alex Clapson, who until recently was responsible for coaching and mentoring across the Welsh Public Service, urges mentoring as a useful and cost- effective add-on to your training programme, which will enhance the performance of both parties Mentoring and your nursery ‘Mentors who talk about competencies, but act in ways that make it clear they have not truly taken them on board themselves, undermine both the message and the impact of mentoring’ ‘If you want a harvest in one year, grow a crop. If you want a harvest in ten years, grow trees. If you want a harvest that will last a lifetime, grow people’ Chinese proverb G rowing your own used to take place in gardens and allotments, but now it happens in the workplace too, with human capital, rather than crops, being the harvest. And an increasing number of individuals and organisations are recognising mentoring as a cost-effective way of developing staff, improving staff retention, increasing employee engagement – and, of course, growing their businesses. A definition What is mentoring, and how does it differ from coaching? The growing consensus is that coaching focuses on
  2. 2. 2. Group mentoring This involves one mentor working with four to six mentees at a time. The group would usually meet monthly to discuss developmental and practice issues and develop appropriate skills / knowledge. This works well for organisations with a limited number of mentors and a large number of mentees. A particular benefit is that mentees not only learn from the mentor, but also from their fellow mentees. On the other hand, its effectiveness is limited by the difficulty of regularly scheduling several busy employees. It also lacks the personal relationship that most people value in mentoring. For this reason, it’s often combined with the one-to-one model. Monitoring success Many apparently successful interventions are abandoned because of a lack of data. “We know that improvement has happened, but we cannot prove it” is a phrase often heard in business. Among the techniques for measuring success, is the DMAIC improvement cycle: G Define: clearly define the problem G Measure: get a baseline – How are you doing today? G Analyse: what does the data indicate? G Improve: generate and select solutions G Control: demonstrate that the change has been sustained. September / October 2013 NURSERY MANAGEMENT TODAY 25 nmttraining public sectors. The claim is that £26bn in added GDP - or gross domestic product - could be realised from this wasted opportunity (BlessingWhite, 2012). Counting the cost High staff turnover is a challenge facing many businesses: the cost of recruiting and training an individual is estimated at £4,800. What’s more, the average employee absenteeism rate is 7.7 days per year – a cost of £600 per member of staff (CIPD, 2011). A more inclusive and engaging approach with the potential to reduce sickness and stress levels is to introduce a mentoring culture, for this supports both staff development and staff retention, while helping to build capacity. As such, it’s ideally suited to succession planning. It can also help with the transfer of skills across the workforce, ensuring that the organisation can withstand and respond to change. You can quickly recoup the relatively low cost of a simple mentoring programme, which compares favourably with the ongoing expense of cover for absent staff. Indeed, mentoring can work in most organisations, regardless of size, culture, or sector. Among the numerous mentoring models available, those that are particularly suited to the workplace are one-to-one and group mentoring. 1. One-to-one mentoring For this, mentor is matched to mentee, and progress is monitored. They are matched on the basis of experience, skillsets, goals, personality and so on. Generally, people are comfortable with this approach, as it encourages a personal relationship. The mentee benefits from individual support and attention, not only from the mentor, but also from the mentoring co-ordinator. This works particularly well for organisations that want to target a specific group for development or retention purposes, including emerging leaders, highly skilled workers or a specific affinity group where you want to promote diversity. The only real limitation is the availability of mentors. Choosing a mentor Who can be a mentor? In essence, we learn by watching others. It is important, therefore, that the mentor embodies the competencies they talk about. Mentors who talk about competencies, but act in ways that make it clear they have not truly taken them on board themselves, undermine both the message and the impact of mentoring. For this reason, ongoing evaluation and feedback from both parties is crucial. I would advise you to incorporate a code of ethics into your mentoring programmes, such as the one the European Mentoring & Coaching Council has developed, which has five cornerstones: G competence (experience, knowledge, and continuing professional development) G context (the mentoring intervention should be appropriate for both individual and organisation) G boundary management G integrity (maintaining confidentiality) G professionalism. In conclusion, mentoring, which is founded on the belief that employees operate at their best when they feel valued, utilised and included, is a proven alternative to costly training programmes. A learning relationship monitored by someone who is not your boss, underpinned by high- quality supervision and continuing professional development, makes excellent economic sense in the current climate, with increasing constraints on budgets. Putting the individual at the heart of the organisation and investing in their personal and professional development increases their productivity, effectiveness and loyalty – and the chance of their staying with you. Given the capacity issues in many organisations and the challenges of creating sustainable organisational models, mentoring offers the perfect solution. I G Alex is a trainer and director at Talkworks Training & Development Ltd, which provides coaching and training programmes as well as management, business and interpersonal skills training. He is also a visiting lecturer at Swansea University. E: W: Twitter: @AlexClapson You can also find Alex on LinkedIn