I would like to share about my relationship with my mentor, Bob Aubrey.
We knew each other in Singapore, then we meet frequently in Beijing, Jakarta and Singapore.
I admire Bob. He is a fighter, a learner and a thought leader.
He was born in USA, studied in California, live in America, Germany, France, China and Singapore. Both of us develop mutual respect, mutual appreciation and mutual interest. We are excited to meet each other. We talk about life, family, future trends and human development.
I learn a lot from Bob. He is one of the thought leaders in Human Development. He set up the first Apple University in Europe. He wrote more than 10 books that are published in 3 different languages. And together, we set up ASEAN Human Development Organization.
Yet, why is he so excited to meet me?
Bob told me, “Because I also learned so much from you! You move from one country to another and you switch job from one industry to another. You shared your challenges, your effort and your achievement. While as a mentor, I try to help you, actually I also learned a lot from you.”
Eureka! That’s what I call “mutual mentoring”.
A lot of people, business leaders, HR team, young talents complain because the mentoring is not working. We always find a gap of motivation between mentor and mentee.
The millennials are much more digital and connected. The young talents need to learn as much as they can, grab the knowledge as much as they can and share the knowledge
Perhaps it is because the benefit is not mutual.
Perhaps it is because the mentee gets much more benefits than the mentor.
The mentee learns a lot, while the mentor does not understand what he will get from the relationship (other than ticking the box and trying to improve his/her image as a good leader).
Perhaps, if we make it a mutual mentoring, both mentor and mentee will understand the benefits and will be motivated (and even excited) to meet and learn from each other.
Often, we pair a senior leader and a young talent into a mentoring relationship.
But tell them, that while the senior leader needs to play the role of a mentor, the young talent can also play his part and share the updated knowledge.
The world is changing, the millennials are much more digital and connected. The young talents need to learn as much as they can, grab the knowledge as much as they can and share the knowledge.
They can share about digital marketing, data analytic, circular economy, sustainability, industry 4.0 ... etc.
The (senior mentor) need to be open mind, and be willing to learn from the other.
And voila! By building this mutual mentoring relationship, you improve the motivation and engagement from both sides.
In summary ...
a) Build the mentoring relationship between 2 persons with complementary skills or experiences (not substitute)
b) Make sure both sides are willing to share their knowledges and experiences
c) Everyone (especially the senior leader) have to be open mind in learning new knowledge from the mentee
d) Monitor the progress, follow-up and improve along the way to ensure that the mutual learning happen
Voila, I just share with you a simple recipe on how to make a (mutual) mentoring really worked.
It worked for us, I am sure it will work for you too.