Creating change with mentoring


How to create change using mentoring.

Everybody who's spent any time within an organisation will know that change is permanently upon us. We move from one part of the strategic plan to the next. In fact, change is critical to organisations if we're going to implement a strategic plan. When we consider change management programs within companies, we usually think about the large-scale processes that management use to engage people in implementing the change.

It can seem a little out of step to consider that mentoring, which is usually associated with management developmental leadership development can be used as a very effective tool for implementing change programmes. In fact, it can actually be an extremely useful tool for creating change within people. After all, when used for leadership and management development, the aim of mentoring is to create some kind of change! Given that mentoring is a crucible in which we expect people to change and grow, how can we use the potential of mentoring for helping people to change when it comes to implementing effective change programs within a company?

When we when we work with companies in change management programs and we ask people what is the biggest key success factor for implementing successful change programme, most people will identify communication as being the most key critical success factor
On the other hand, when we ask the question what is the most difficult part of implementing the change programme they will also say that it's communication that is most difficult part. So we have the situation where the biggest key success factor is also seen as the biggest challenge when it comes to creating change that transforms your company's ability to be successful.



Mentoring is intriguing as a process for creating change because it is a place where the formal change communication interacts with the informal change communication. In other words, it's a place where your company employees can discuss practical ways in which they might implement the change that you have identified in your change plans. 

They will be talking about the key points of your change plan, your change approach, your change strategy and your change objectives. In fact, your ideas for change will quickly become their ideas for change. The mentoring sessions are a place where those formal documents become live, where they move off the page and into people's day-to-day conversations.

This is why we refer to mentoring as a crucible for change communication. 

A crucible is a practical tool where different elements are brought together and bombarded with energy until they make a new element. Mentoring is a crucible where the different elements of the formal change communication plan and the different elements of the informal grapevine communication come together and become the reality of change within your company.

So how do you do this to ensure your success? 

It's straightforward when you see mentoring as a crucible, as a place in which those different elements come together and become that new thing, i.e. the living change process rather than the formal or the informal change process. And if you want to do this in a really smart way, you will also harness the power of even your informal communication networks within your company.

First Step: Who are you going to choose to participate in this change management mentoring process?

If you want to harness the power of your informal communication networks, you need to think outside of your formal change architecture and consider who are the influencers within your company. They might not just be people who are formally charged with the change programme. If we were to ask who are your key influencers within this company, people are usually able to identify who they would nominate. 

The main message is don't just rely on choosing the people charged with creating the formal are change structures change management structures within the company as your mentors. Think also about who are your key influencers, especially within the informal communication networks within your company. In that way, you start to turn your change-makers into mentors. In terms of choosing your mentees, look at your stakeholder map for the people who have a stake in the change.

Second step: Consider the content of the change conversations.

The next aspect to consider is, what are the mentor and mentee going to discuss and how are they going to discuss it? Are the mentor and mentee going to have to mentoring conversations that are just about the nature of the formal change plan? That might be quite boring discussion, unfortunately! 

We suggest that you make some suggestions to your mentors and mentees that they could discuss how the change could be, how the future of the company might look if they implement the change, both the good and bad!

Step three:

While we're thinking about formal and informal processes, why not also consider empowering people within your company to become informal mentors? You need help your employees develop a habit of change conversations by supporting, encouraging and rewarding this behaviour. After all, if you want change the change that you are seeking to become a reality throughout the company that essentially means that people will have to start taking almost informal mentoring roles. You can be supportive by indicating to your employees that this is something that is that you consider healthy for your company. This is something that you consider to be used for all and own creative with the change process and that you think it will enable and empower earned people across the company have a positive perspective on what in formal mentoring could become. 


To Conclude

The key points of this short article on using mentoring for creating change within companies are as follows:

  • You should link the mentoring program with the strategic growth objectives for the company. We keep reiterating this point because it seems to be the one key point that companies don't pay enough attention to stop, and it is critical! 
  • When it comes to change management, you can have an influence on that informal communication flow. It doesn't have to be their only to undermine your efforts! You should consider the informal communication flow within the company as well as the formal communication flow so consider who could be the right mentors and mentees in terms of informal as well as formal influence. 
  • Don't forget you're using mentoring goes mentoring sessions as a crucible where change conversations take place and that means bringing together the different stakeholders affected by the formal plan. With mentoring you are providing a structure in which people's ideas and actions can change and become something new. So, have a structure, but allow flexibility and innovation as well.

Projektgruppe wissenschaftliche Beratung GbR
Dr. Andre Lehnhoff Managing
Wendy Kendall Partner of PwB
Ohlanden 35
25582 Hohenaspe
Tel.: +49.4893.220256
Fax: +49.4893.220256
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Projektgruppe wissenschaftliche Beratung GbR

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