Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Peer Mentoring – Robert

“To the world, you may just be somebody. But to somebody, you may just might be the world”- Author unknown.

Every individual looks for help and guidance when s/he joins any organization. S/he looks for an experienced, trustworthy and reliable person for guidance. Mentoring is the mantra in such a situation. It helps to break the initial hiccups and psychological barriers thereby getting the individuals grooved with in the organization smoothly.

Robert joined in a research centre as a researcher where he had to author books. He had passion for teaching and training. He worked as a faculty member in an engineering college taking classes in management subjects. He also had flair for writing and had several articles published in various magazines, journals and websites. The research centre offered him employment based on his inclination and interest towards writing although he did not have any research experience. Robert also liked to join as he had an ambition to author books but it was not accomplished. Seeing this as an opportunity he joined in the research center.

After joining the research center, he began liking the corporate culture and academic environment. But he missed interaction with students. He basically loved teaching and interacting with students. In research center, there was no interaction as everyone sat in front of the computer system and concentrated on the research activities. He thought of resigning. And, he consulted other colleagues and told his passion towards teaching and training but they were not supportive the way he expected except one person by name, Susan.

Susan was a legendary editor with several books to her credit. Besides she was the senior most in the research centre. Right from the beginning Robert began liking and admiring her. He was confident that she would understand his problem. When Robert conveyed his displeasure and dissatisfaction with the research work, she counseled him not to think in that way. On the other hand, she advised Robert to stick on to research activities for some time as it was the right place to acquire abundant knowledge in his chosen domains of soft skills and leadership development. She also added that a person with research background can become a better teacher. Robert was convinced to some extent and got motivated to continue for some time to fulfill his ambition of authoring books as well as acquiring command on his passionate domains.

Robert began concentrating with an eye to go back to teaching. He realized that the research center would serve as a platform to become a successful and full fledged faculty member. After few days, he realized that the research centre set up targets of completing one book a month of his choice. Robert tried hard to work for books related to soft skills and leadership development. Unfortunately many books were generated by senior colleagues in those domains and there was overlap of books. Again it became a terrific trouble for Robert as he did not want to go outside his passionate domains. But he had to deliver a book for a month as it was an organizational requirement.

Robert again told his problem to Susan who advised him to diversify into other domains where there was no overlap. Robert did not like to go outside his domain. She advised him to be practical as the system believed in numbers and failure to deliver a book might cost his job as well as losing respect. Again Robert thought of leaving the research center as his heart beat for teaching and training. Susan was wonderful woman with clear heart and with positive mindset. She was an intelligent woman who understood the predicament of Robert and enquired further to find out the areas of interest latter loved. After prolonged discussions, Susan discovered that Robert could do well in Self-improvement books. Therefore, she directed Robert to look in that domain. She also gave valuable tools and techniques related to researching. Robert got temporary relief as he got sufficient triggers to generate books. Robert began admiring and respecting Susan gradually as he found similar areas of interest.

Whenever Robert faced challenges in the research center he openly discussed with Susan who with lot of patience mentored him without expecting any returns. Although there was lot of competition among the peers Susan never looked Robert from competitive perspective. She stood by Robert several times and provided lot of emotional support and confidence. She maintained confidentiality about the mentoring relation by winning and trust and confidence. Susan grooved Robert into the organization and groomed him becoming a successful researcher through peer mentoring. Susan demonstrated all ingredients that were necessary to become a peer mentor.

This is the case of peer mentoring where mentoring takes place between the senior and junior employees. Here the senior employee actively involves in helping the new employee to get grooved into the system smoothly with domain and organizational inputs. It requires lot of patience and perseverance since peers are involved. The mentors should not have false ego or jealousy. They should not play office politics. On the contrary, they must help their colleagues in a wholehearted manner. It is a way of sharing the knowledge among the colleagues without expecting any returns.

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