energizing breakthrough performance

Dynamic Mentoring

Author: ; Published: Dec 20, 2011; Category: Mentoring, Workforce Planning, Workforce Succession Planning; Tags: None; No Comments»

It was my privilege recently to provide program development and mentor/coaching training assistance to the premier federal law enforcement and security agency. This organization is on-boarding new, largely younger employees into its workforce and is committed to achieving the highest productivity possible within the shortest possible time.  For that reason, it required a blend of employee-centered mentoring with organization-centered coaching. The coaching component of the program consisted of an extensive checklist of reading, assignments, and visitations intended to build job-specific competencies. The mentoring component of the program is oriented towards building effectiveness in serving as an expert witness in federal court, public speaking ability, teamwork skills and serving a wide spectrum of other developmental needs presented by the recently hired employee.


As I concluded this important assignment, it occurred to me that this agency is engaged in “dynamic mentoring.” What’s dynamic about it? At least a half-dozen dimensions, but here are three:


First of all, it is dynamic in the sense that crime today is always changing, particularly crimes involving the abuse of technology and/or financial institutions and instruments. Some crimes are variations on old themes, but others are unprecedented. For that reason, the technical competencies developed through coaching efforts are always in motion just to keep up with the criminals who are becoming increasingly skilled in their R&D (research and development) exploits.


Second, the older, more established employees have insights and skills to contribute to the more recently hired. However, the younger employees bring “tricks of the trade” learned through their recent formal education and/or prior jobs. There’s something for everyone in this mentoring equation.


The third dynamism is that employee-centered mentoring and organization-centered coaching feed on one another in an interactive, synergistic manner. As the employee grows in understanding and competency, areas for mentoring attention that were once invisible become relevant and find their way onto the mentoring agenda.


The program involves structured visits to headquarters and to other agency locations.  Pair-ups of mentors with mentees are decided by senior management based on a variety of considerations. Rotational assignments to provide first-hand experience in, e.g., executing search warrants, etc. build both competence and confidence. 


In a world where employee development is given short shrift too often, it is exciting and encouraging to see things being done right!

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