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The value of power hour sessions for mentors

Nomhle Kula
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When looking at on-the-job mentoring, it isn't just the recipient who should be taken into consideration. Staff need to be empowered to mentor other employees if they're required to do so. For this to be successful, an environment needs to be created where mentors can identify learning opportunities and encourage knowledge-sharing. Various tools and methods can be used and technology can play a part. This helps to translate the classroom experience into something more tactical and engaging for the recipient. Another technique that can be used is called a "power hour session for mentors". Read on to discover more about this methodology.

For mentoring to be successful, an environment needs to be created where mentors can identify learning opportunities and encourage knowledge-sharing. Various tools and methods help to translate the classroom experience into something more tactical and engaging for the recipient. Another technique that can be used is called a "power hour session for mentors". Read on to discover more about this methodology.

The power hour session could run once a month, formally and or informally. The goal is to have mentors in an organisation getting together to discuss the pressing issues, information or ideas that could lead to the improvement and sustainability of mentorship development.

While the duration and frequency of mentoring meetings varies, most mentoring colleagues can meet or talk once a week for about an hour. The format and content of these conversations may vary but these typically consist of:

  • Brainstorming sessions to solve problems,
  • Updates,
  • Follow-ups on current developments, or
  • More focused discussion on professional advance topics.

A mentoring power hour session shouldn't be considered an inside track to the top or an opportunity to complain. It's a respectful and professional intervention in which mentors can learn from the experience and each other.

Develop a mentoring structure in your organisation

Companies are keen on sending people for mentoring training but the challenge is the environment back at the office. As most companies don't have a formal mentoring structure or mentoring schemes in place, this affects the implementation of knowledge and skills on the job.

Through my experience in training, it's obvious that learners are given the knowledge and skills - not the means - to be empowered and be able to monitor and effectively manage the mentoring process with others. After mentoring training, power hour sessions should be instituted across all levels of the organisation, from middle management to lower management. This, in turn, empowers junior staff so that they're equipped with the ability they need to help them through their career within the company. These skilled individuals can then also play a part in the future success of mentorship within the organisation.

11 Benefits of conducting power hour sessions:

  1. Improves awareness of own learning gaps,
  2. Develops the ability to give and take criticism,
  3. Develops an up-to-date organisational and professional knowledge,
  4. Offers networking opportunities,
  5. Improves leadership, organisational and communication skills,
  6. Develops the ability to challenge, stimulate and reflect,
  7. Raises one's profile within the organisation,
  8. Increases job satisfaction
  9. Offers opportunities to pass on knowledge and experience,
  10. Provides stimulation, and
  11. Creates a mentoring culture.

Nomhle Kula is currently a practice leader for life skills at Maccauvlei Learning Academy. She has extensive experience as a facilitator for life skills, management and leadership programmes. She has a diploma in HRM and she is a chartered HR associate, coach, assessor and moderator.

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