Oftentimes, senior leaders claim not to have time for mentoring. In other words, they’ve got a lot going on and mentoring isn’t a priority. However, having their representation goes a long way to creating a mentoring culture so their participation is vital to the success of a program.
In this article, we'll explore how you can get senior leaders to join your program as mentors.
Why get them involved?
Employees are more likely to join the program if they know that senior leaders are also taking part instead of just telling them to join. Leading by example always works better than a do-what-I-say approach. Also, enthusiasm coming from above generates a lot of interest within your organisation.
You’re also creating more opportunities for skill sharing, innovation, and inclusion by having senior leaders take part.
One Mentorloop customer told us about how they reached their goal of having 20% of partners on the program:
“We were very deliberate in how we made connections with senior leaders who already had an interest or involvement in our People Strategy. We reached out to them, asked to meet up, and explained how mentoring fits into that strategy. We didn’t just ask them to join out of the blue.
We’ve also built Mentorloop into the learning journey for execs. The Leadership Development program includes mentoring.”
So, how do you get senior leaders involved?
It’s all in the pitch, as is often the case. Follow these 5 steps when you’re trying to get executives to join your mentoring program.
1. Highlight what’s in it for them
Mentoring has many benefits for the mentor
- Learning: Even if the senior leader joins the program as a mentor, to mentor someone more junior, they can learn about industry trends, technologies and what’s going on in other areas of the business, from their mentee.
- Connection: It can get lonely at the top. The best mentoring involves leaving your ego at the door and embracing that unlikely connection.
- An opportunity for reflection: Mentoring can be a time when mentors pause and reflect on their journey so far, on their own strengths and weaknesses, on what their purpose is.
Tap into whatever you think will appeal most to the senior leaders at your company.
2. Appeal to their altruistic side
It’s nice to be nice! Being a mentor is a really unique and special role to have in another person’s life. And with it, comes the feel-good factor. What’s more, every senior leader was mentored at some point in their career so this is their chance to pay it forward.
3. Offer support and resources
Make it easy for senior leaders to become mentors by providing them with the support and resources they need. This can include training on mentoring skills, tools and templates to help them plan and structure their mentoring sessions, and access to relevant resources and materials.
4. Be clear on the ask
Executives are less likely to join if they’re not sure on what’s expected of them so be really clear on the ask (e.g. 1 hour per month for 6 months)
5. Recruit influential mentors
Consider going after specific leaders who are already passionate about mentoring or who have a track record of supporting and developing their team members. These individuals may be more likely to embrace the opportunity to mentor and others may follow suit.
How can senior leaders support mentoring without joining the program?
At Mentorloop we believe that to truly create a culture where people believe mentoring is valued, leaders need to participate. But, if they're not there yet they should at least advocate for the program. Here are a few other ways that senior leaders can promote mentoring
- As a panelist for your Mentoring Launch event
- By talking about how mentoring helped them on LinkedIn or on your internal comms (Slack, Teams)
- Advocacy in all hands and other meetings - leaders should be talking about the program and asking staff how it's going to show they care about mentoring.