Traditionally, we tend to think of mentoring as focusing on career development – a younger or newer professional teams up with someone with more experience to help them move forward. Mentoring is certainly a powerful tool in that kind of situation and can make a big difference.
But, actually, the potential of mentoring is much wider. We all have knowledge gaps in this increasingly complex world, and a mentoring relationship can help kick start creative thinking and help with things like learning about the latest technology trends and getting a new perspective.
Legendary General Electric CEO Jack Welch found this in the late 1990s when he made 500 of his top executives pair up with junior, tech-savvy members of staff to learn how to use the internet. He secured his company a competitive edge and popularised what’s now known as reverse mentoring.
Younger professionals often have skills that others might not – all of us are different and all of us have plenty to learn and plenty to offer.
One of the aims of the EI’s new mentoring platform EI Connect is to facilitate these rich relationships. Just a month after launch, the number of users is now into three figures and the platform is quickly gaining momentum.
New mentors are joining every day, it’s fantastic to see how enthusiastic our members are about shaping the younger generation of energy professionals. But we’re beginning to see a range of mentoring relationships taking shape, with members taking advantage of EI Connect’s versatility, using it for reverse mentoring too.
The pace of change in the energy sector is exciting but challenging. Mentoring can help to increase confidence and develop communication skills, encouraging an ongoing exchange of expertise and mutual growth.
It’s now an essential business tool, says Managing Director of OSL Consulting Engineers and EI trustee Alastair Robertson CEng FEI.
‘Mentoring is an essential part of my working life. Whatever our experience level, we are able to benefit from a different perspective and EI Connect provides a user-friendly platform to make great use of the collective experience across the EI’.
Interested in joining as a mentor or mentee? EI Connect is open to Associate and professional members at http://www.energy-inst.org/mentoring