Thursday, April 29, 2010

6 Key Ingredients for Mentoring Success

Solid Mentoring Relationships do not just sprout up overnight. In fact, several ingredients can contribute to making a mentoring relationship GREAT.

6 Key Ingredients for Mentoring Success include:

1. Think about what you want out of the mentoring relationship - Both mentors and mentees can gain from doing some pre-work and thinking about what they want out of the mentoring relationship. It's often thought that the mentee gains the most, but in fact, mentors also benefit.

2. Establish clear boundaries - How frequently are you going to meet? When? Where? How can you be contacted and When? It's amazing how some of the snags that mentoring relationships meet are caused by lack of clarity around boundaries.

3. Focus on building your relationship: Spend time in your first meeting talking about how you are going to work together, and what your expectations are for the relationship.

4. Follow through. Follow through works both ways - as a protege what have you committed to following up on? As a mentor, what do you need to follow up on?

5. Create a Mentoring Roadmap. Having an agenda, or a roadmap, of where you want your conversations to go, will help maximize the time you have together. In your first converstaion it may be beneficial to identify several themes/topics the mentee wants to have insights around.

6. Check In Along the Way - At the end of every mentoring conversation discuss what was useful, what next steps are, and any changes you want to make for the next conversation.

Having worked to support hundreds of mentoring partnerships across industries over the years, I have found that ensuring these six ingredients are present typically make the mentoring relationship that much stronger and more effective and beneficial for all parties involved.

Warm regards,

Jennifer Britton
Potentials Realized
Phone: (416)996-TEAM

Monday, April 26, 2010

5 Tips for Managing The E-Undation

Did you know that many professionals spend up to 40% of their day managing email? How much time to do you spend on email every day? Does the time you spend, match the payoffs you receive.

Email is an essential part of business today, but the question has become who is running the show - you or email?

If you have found that your inbox has run amok, here are 5 tips to support you in getting it under control:

1. Check email at regular points throughout the day. Many organizing experts suggest checking it two or three times a day only, and turning it off in between so you are not tempted to see who just emailed you.

2. Communicate to others when you will be checking. If people are expecting a response right away and don't know that you are only checking at selected points of the day, it may cause even more problems.

3. Unsubscribe from lists you really don't need, or read.

4. Colour code/flag emails of different priorities so you know which ones are urgent (red), of medium importance (yellow), or low priority. This visual map can help you quickly identify what is really important to respond to.

5. If you don't need it DELETE it! If you really don't need an email, delete it. Microsoft has some great tips on helping you decide what you may want to do with your email box. Known as the 4 Ds, do you want to do it, delete it, delegate kt or dump it? (Note: the 4D tool is a great tool for time management as well).

What's the one thing you are going to do today to tame your email box?

Have a terrific week!

Warm regards,

Jennifer Britton
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Potentials Realized
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Thursday, April 22, 2010

5 Benefits to Mentoring

Mentoring continues to be a popular informal learning approach to enhance internal learning, knowledge and skills transfer, across industries.

Earlier this year I spoke about how Mentoring is an Essential Component to any Talent Management Strategy to the HRPA Annual Conference. The next week I was in Senegal, West Africa, working with an incredibly talented group of professionals in delivering a Coaching and Mentoring Skills Train the Trainer program. Last month, I was involved in running the third year of training for mentors (and this year for the first time, proteges) for a financial services organization.

So why mentoring? What is mentoring re-gaining popularity?

Here are five benefits to mentoring:

1. Helps to Build institutional or industry knowledge - Mentoring is an essential strategy to building organizational knowledge, as well as industry capability. A critical type of informal learning, mentoring can help to share the unwritten knowledge that exists.

2. Mentors Share real How-tos - From how to navigate amongst the realities of an organization to the practicalities and the politics, mentors can help less experienced employees understand how an organization operates, and how to navigate.

3. Enable more junior staff to hear about organizational/industry realities from someone who is not their boss or their peer. Mentors often share insights about what the real opportunities and roadblocks are in an industry or organization.

4. Provide a place for more junior staff to ask questions they might not otherwise surface. Sometimes employees are hesitant to take their questions to their manager for fear of performance reprisal or other factors. Being more removed, mentors are often seen as a more unbiased source.

5. Mentors can act as a sounding board. Given a mentor's greater level of experience, the mentoring relationship can be a place where a mentee uses the mentor as a sounding board.

Whether a mentee brings 1 year experience or 2 decades, we can all benefit from a mentoring relationship with someone in our organization or industry. Who would you like to have as a mentor?

Have a great week!
Warm regards,

Jennifer Britton
Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching
Phone: (416) 996-TEAM (8326)
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Monday, April 19, 2010

Time to Virtualize Your Global Training?

Some of you may know that global travel was a huge part of my former life as a manager and early business owner. The recent air travel chaos caused by the Volcanic eruption in Iceland, has had me thinking on a number of different levels regarding the impact - to communities, as well as to learning.

My first thoughts took me back to my work asa project manager for several development projects in the Caribbean island of Montserrat. The volcano has been active in Montserrat since the mid-1990s and I know first hand how destructive volcanic ash can be for everything - humans, animals, agriculture and even buildings. In recent days there has been a lot of focus on the impact on travel because of the volcano, but how about the impact to the geography and communities affected in Iceland?

My second thought was what about the thousands of professionals stranded on either side of the Atlantic. Many of us, myself included, still take forgranted the ability to cross the ocean swiftly and be able to attend to business, or lead training the next day. A few months ago as I passed through Paris on my way to Senegal, I had fleeting thoughts about what if we are delayed? What will happen to our training?

The volcano is another indication of how quickly events can take over business as usual, and how it is an opportunity to look proactively at how we can more effectively bring together global professionals for training.

Virtual Training - by phone and web - is becoming an increasingly popular modality, and even the standard in many global organizations. It may never replace the impact of face to face environments, but used effectively can enable ongoing learning and dialogue amongst dispersed groups. Virtual training has been a keen interest area of mine since 2005 when the arrival of my son pushed me to virtualize most of my training programs. Over the last 5 years, I've seen more and more organizations embrace virtual training, as well as more and more facilitators learn to adapt their skills for the virtual environment. One of the chapters in my book, Effective Group Coaching, addresses the issue of virtual program delivery for facilitators, tips and ideas, as well as a check list to help you identify whether you are ready to lead training programs virtually. If you are a facilitator, I'll also invite you to check out my Group Coaching blog at which has lots of other tips and tricks for facilitators.

On Wednesday last week I met again with the team in West Africa - this time luckily by web. If not, I might have been one of the thousands stranded in Paris for the weekend. Yes, there could be worse places to be stranded, but it sure was nice to spend the weekend with my family.

Have a great start to the week!


Jennifer Britton, PCC
Potentials Realized
Phone: 416.996.TEAM (8326)
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Thursday, April 15, 2010

We're in the top 150 Management and Leadership Blogs

I found out a few days ago that we've been honored to be included in the listing of the Top 150 Management and Leadership Blogs pulled together by Jurgen Appelo. We've joined the ranks of Steven Covey, Tim Ferris and many other great writers, leaders and speakers. You can see the complete list here

The blogs were scored according to their Google Page Rank, Bing hit count, Alexa Ranking, Technorati Authority, Twitter Grader, PostRank and FeedBurner count.

I am looking forward to getting back to more regular posts here at the BizToolkit in the coming months. The first 4 months of 2010 have been wonderfully full with great work with clients here in Canada, the US, and West Africa, as well as a lot of speaking on my new book published in January by Wiley and Sons - Effective Group Coaching - which continues to be snapped off the shelves by coaches, educators and HR consultants around the world. Thanks for your support!

I look forward to being in touch in coming weeks.

In closing, what are your favorite management and leadership blogs? As always, feel free to share your thoughts below

Warm regards,

Jennifer Britton
Potentials Realized
Group Coaching Essentials
Phone: 416.996.TEAM (8326)
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com
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