Due to the pandemic, we saw several changes within the labour market including the adoption of hybrid work environments, flattened organizational structures, and the prioritization of diversity and inclusion initiatives. As we adapt to our new normal, as well as beyond, mentorship becomes increasingly important and requires a shift to adapt to these changes. Mentorship Matters: Now More Than Ever! by Alan C. Middleton, comes at the perfect time and outlines how mentorship is an integral part of career development and overall organizational success. Alan is a long term member of the Mentor Exchange Advisory Council at AMA, a mentor, and a former Schulich School of Business, York University faculty member.
“Alan’s perspective on the impact of mentorship is spot on and well timed. He provides sage advice about the value that is gained from organizations who are proactive about putting mentoring programs in place – either directly or through external resources like AMA Toronto’s Mentor Exchange. A Worthwhile read for leaders looking to attract and retain top talent.”
– Kathleen Taylor, Former President and CEO of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Chair of the Board of RBC
Mentorship Matters: Now More Than Ever! provides a historical overview of mentorship and why it is effective, while also providing a comprehensive guide to improve one’s mentorship practice, whether they’re a mentor or a mentee. The book does this through the use of real life case studies by executives from prominent international organizations such as Bob’s Your Uncle, CIBC, Federal Express Canada, IBM, LEVOLOR Canada, Medcan, Rec Media Inc., Scotiabank and Shopify. These case studies give us a look into the importance of mentorship among executives, organizations, mentors, and mentees.
“I got a lot out of my mentors over the years and I strongly believe that having mentors really helped me in my career. I have an official mentor on my HR file and I keep in regular contact with that mentor. But I have also had other mentors that I call “heart mentors.” People I picked, people who know me well and are able to advise me and challenge me on my thinking or decisions. My “heart mentors” are people I trust will tell me the truth and help me get to the right decisions based on my personality and capability.” – Sophie Stanton, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of IBM Middle East and Africa (MEA)
The role of mentoring has evolved into many variations over the past few years. Some forms of these include self-mentoring, reverse-mentoring, reciprocal, and virtual mentoring. They have emerged due to advancements in technology and new knowledge.
Mentorship, although experiencing changes, still holds the same importance for one’s career development. Alan indicates in his book Mentorship Matters: Now More Than Ever! that mentorship programs aid in development for future roles as based on a study of over 1000 boomers, Gen-X and millennials, they prefer to lead through mentorship due to the positive working alliance they form with their bosses due to mentorship programs. As he describes, “a mentor enables the mentee to move towards their chosen goals with the benefit of their own insight and (possibly) advice or input based on the mentor’s experience.”
To move past the traditional ways of organizational thinking and the way it is designed with its unnecessary bureaucracy, organizations need to engage all their employees and harness their skills, thinking-process, and achievements while recognizing and rewarding them. As Mentorship Matters: Now More Than Ever! highlights, many organizations have recognized the importance of internal mentorship and implemented necessary programs to support employee development. Some programs like The Scotiabank Women Initiative, provide specific benefits to a certain group of people, recognizing that mentorship can provide a necessary support group.
“Providing women with mentorship and support is incredibly important. To provide a community, an ecosystem of support, as well as education depending on what their needs are. Initially that support system was about scaling and growing; recently it has been about how to pivot while addressing those needs.” – Nicole German, VP & Global Head, Enterprise Digital Marketing, Sales & Growth at Scotiabank
Along with internal mentorship programs, Alan sheds light on the importance of external mentorship programs like AMA Toronto’s Mentor Exchange program. As long term AMA Toronto Mentor Exchange mentor and President/CEO, Rec Media Inc., Troy A. Sedgwick explains, “Having someone outside your space is often where those real paradigm shifts happen. Work and life experience is valuable irrespective of which industries you’ve been in.” In the past, external mentorship has been more casual and informal. However, within recent decades, we have seen the emergence of more widely available and organized mentorship programs, making it easier for individuals to take part.
Mentorship Matters: Now More Than Ever! ultimately drives the point home for why mentorship in a post-pandemic world is crucial to personal and organizational success and development, which makes it a must read. It is the ultimate guide to effective mentorship practices and relationships.
The book is now available for purchase on Amazon.