In this column we explore how to design effective mentoring to support intern programmes. Lis Merrick reports The internship market is changing. Entry-level jobs have been turned by some employers into internships with no paid holiday or benefits and are sometimes totally unpaid as well. In some fields, unpaid internships can turn into paid internships. […]

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The multi-stakeholder group, the Future of Coaching Collaboration (FCC), has launched a website designed specifically to enable anyone involved in developing original knowledge in coaching to share links to the activities and projects that contribute to the development of the knowledge base of coaching.   The aim is for the website to be the ‘go-to’ place […]

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EMCC 24th annual conference, Amsterdam, 11-13 April 2018 While coaches believe it’s important as a coach to be coached, not many are investing in coaching as part of their CPD, suggests a survey of 80 coaches. Eighty per cent of coaches responding to a survey carried out by Paul Stokes and Lis Merrick felt it […]

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There are several reasons why formal mentoring programmes don’t succeed. Lis Merrick explains how you can avoid the common pitfalls Why do mentoring programmes fail? Here are my top nine problems to watch out for when designing and running a programme.   Poor planning Ensure the programme is linked to the organisation’s strategic HR or […]

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    This year’s Coaching at Work annual conference has the theme of creativity and innovation, which are much needed in our profession and in these challenging times. The conference brings together stimulating, respected and world-class speakers including Ernesto Spinelli, Louise Buckle, Maria Symeon, Lis Merrick, Thrive Partners, Rachel Ellison MBE, Louise Sheppard, Graham Lee, […]

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Lis Merrick explores how a lack of trust can ruin mentoring relationships in formal programmes and how good design can prevent it Over the past year, several mentoring programmes I have been working on have experienced real difficulties with trust among their participants. What is going on? Since the 2008 recession, many organisations have been […]

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Are we good?

By Lis Merrick   In the latest in a series of columns dedicated to mentoring, we look at how to support mentors throughout the mentoring lifecycle. This issue: how checking in keeps relationships healthy   Mentoring sessions with ‘busy’ mentees need tending if they are to survive their lifecycle   The fundamental difference between successful, […]

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Mentoring: applied wisdom

In the latest in a series of columns dedicated to mentoring, we look at how to use mentoring for ‘knowledge productivity’ in your organisation. This issue: filling the gap by Lis Merrick

Mentoring can put your employees’ learning and the company’s goals on the same path

An organisation’s knowledge walks out of the door every evening – and it might never come back. How do you store and retain knowledge? Does the organisation have a central knowledge base or a lessons learned process? Or does it rely on individuals and the tacit knowledge that is retained in their memories? What about those little things that are difficult to record – the feelings, intuition and experience often gained through making mistakes and ‘painful’ learning.

Despite the increased emphasis on the importance of intellectual capital within our globalised society/economy, organisations are not good at deploying knowledge, learning from their mistakes to become a true learning or a more knowledge-productive organisation.

Mentoring can offer a path to move knowledge in a deliberate and focused manner around an organisation. It facilitates the transition from ‘knowing’ work experience to becoming ‘wisdom’ or ‘knowledge in action’ that can be applied in the workplace.

Whereas most formal training programmes tend to have little impact in the longer term, learning by doing and mentoring develops a deeper and more profound level of knowledge and eliminates the ‘Knowing-Doing Gap’ identified by Pfeffer and Sutton (1999), who described a gap between the knowledge an organisation possesses and the organisation actually using it or putting it into action.

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Mentoring: Back to front

by Lis Merrick
In the latest in a series of columns dedicated to mentoring, we look at ‘reverse mentoring’ to support senior leadership learning and retain talent. This issue: Turning it on its head
Young staff can learn much from more senior mentors – so why not the other way round?

So what is reverse mentoring? Quite simply, it is usually where a more junior or younger person mentors someone who is more senior or older, so the more usual role-model type relationship is turned on its head. It can be as simple as your child challenging your thinking with a powerful question or helping you send a tweet.

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Mentoring: An effective catalyst

In the latest in a series of columns dedicated to mentoring, we continue to look at designing mentoring to ‘future proof’ your people. This issue: mentoring for the 21st century – part two
An effective catalyst
Lis Merrick

Future proofing means using familiar mentoring – but with advanced contracting

Our working and personal lives exist in uncertainty and turmoil, among rapid social change, ever developing technology and unpredictable events. A new form of mentoring is required, one that ‘future proofs’ your leaders and people not only to survive, but to thrive in this type of life. This relies on exactly the same mentoring behaviours you are familiar with: active listening, asking questions and giving feedback. However, it is the learning foci to which these skills are applied and the contracting on subject matter between the mentor and mentee that is more sophisticated. Many of the insights and richness of learning can be achieved in less directed mentoring relationships, but not at the speed or breadth of this framework.

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