proteges can make ideal mentors.
If you have
been a protege, that experience has undoubtedly been invaluable to your
personal and professional development. Now that your role as a protege
has come to end, it's time to pass on the mentoring torch. Those in the
healthcare management field have a responsibility to mentor others entering
the field as well as mid-careerists preparing to lead the healthcare system
of tomorrow. As a former protege, you are an ideal person to become a
mentor—or at least become an advocate for creating or sustaining
a mentoring program in your organization. By sharing your wisdom, insights,
and experiences, you can give back to the profession and at the same time
derive the personal satisfaction that comes from helping others realize
on a Good Thing
Promoting mentoring is not relegated only to the human resources department
nor is it the sole responsibility of past mentors. Given your learning
experience as a protege, you are perhaps most influential in sustaining
and strengthening the mentoring process in an organization. You have a
new appreciation for what the organization stands for and the challenges
it faces. Also, you understand the value of the mentoring experience,
making it easier to persuade others to become part of a mentoring relationship.
a protege, not only will you be effective in encouraging others to take
part in a learning relationship but you can reap many benefits by becoming
a mentor yourself. Being a mentor can help enhance such skills as coaching
and leadership, making you more of an asset to your organization. Your
role as a mentor can also contribute to the success of your organization
by helping to develop and retain talent. Furthermore, through mentoring
you can help carry on your organization’s legacy by passing on its
values and mission to your protege.
from Protege to Mentor
Before committing to a mentoring relationship, consider the kind of mentor
you want to be. Think about what you can personally offer a protege in
terms of your knowledge and insight, and what you believe is important
for that person to learn about the organization and the healthcare field.
Be cautious about mirroring your former mentor’s methods. While
there may have been many effective tactics and techniques your mentor
used when you were a protege, everyone has a different learning style
and different developmental goals; what worked for you and your former
mentor may not work for you and your new protege.
your mentoring style and goals, there are some essential steps to getting
the relationship off to the right start. When you meet with your protege
for the first time:
the relationship by getting to know each other. Both you and
your protege should share your motivation for entering into a mentoring
relationship, your backgrounds, your greatest learnings, your communication
styles, and your expectations of each other.
focus for your protege. Have your protege create specific professional
development objectives. Once the objectives are in place, you have a
better chance of creating learning experiences that have purpose. Next,
commit to a duration for your mentoring relationship such as 6, 8, or
12 months. Also, set up the logistics of the relationship including
the frequency of meetings and intermittent communications to check on
progress toward your protege’s professional development objectives.
once you become a mentor, spread the word. Letting others know about your
new role is a great way to promote mentoring in your organization. It
may even pique the interest of colleagues who have considered becoming
a mentor. Most important, you'll demonstrate to others your commitment
to advancing learning in the healthcare management field.
Moscinski is a senior consultant at Perrone-Ambrose Associates, Inc.,
an organizational development consulting firm that helps organizations
create mentoring cultures.
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Executive, November/December 2003