Talent Management and Mentoring

What is Talent Management?

Talent Management and MentoringAs long ago as 2005, Brewster et al defined talent management as occurring on a global basis. It is a far broader concept than a series of international assignments for young potential. They describe a picture of being able to retain and attract the best talent anywhere in the world. Global brands like Diageo, Shell and Rolls Royce attach great importance to developing a positive brand for potential recruits.

Read on, or watch the video, to learn more about a model on Talent Management and Mentoring that I developed with my colleague, Lis Merrick.

Developmental Mentoring

In our view, there are three main ways of explaining different approaches to mentoring and Talent Management. The model favoured within Europe, is that of developmental mentoring. This is where the mentor acts as a Guardian or role model, and where power is sought to be equalised between two people; two-way learning occurs and the mentor supports the mentee through their own network and signposting activities. It’s very much a relationship which is focussed on developing the mentees capability and potential.

Sponsorship Mentoring

In sponsorship mentoring, the picture is somewhat different. The mentor is a sponsor who directs the mentee and sets the agenda for their development. They do not expect any two-way learning within this relationship. The mentor seeks to promote the mentee by publicising them, pushing them into certain activities and relationships. The relationship supports the mentor and the mentee’s career development.

Talent Management Mentoring

In what we call Talent Management Mentoring, the mentor becomes more assertive with the mentee and begins to take over the agenda of their development. This is typically characterised by behind the scenes activities taking place to promote the mentee’s development and presence within their organisation. The mentor begins to create what we have called ‘organisational immunity’ for any political damage that might happen to the mentee.

Based on our research with a range of companies, we wanted to create a framework, or a model, which represented the different aspects of Talent Management Mentoring, which we saw in those organisations. In doing so we developed what we called the Talent Management Mentoring Wheel.

Talent Management Mentoring Wheel

Talent Management Wheel

Career Functions

This has two main aspects to it. Firstly, we have career functions of Talent Management Mentoring. These include the sponsorship described earlier. The idea that the mentor pushes the mentee forwards, enables them to be exposed to new opportunities and to be visible within the organisation. It may include some short-term behavioural coaching. This develops the specific skills and competences necessary to thrive in that environment. Talent management may also include the mentor ‘protecting’ their mentee from any political flak that may come their way.

It may include helping them to identify challenging assignments which again, help seek to develop them, as well as helping them to manage those political games that get played in organisations.

Emotional Functions

Alongside that, we also felt the emotional functions of mentoring were important to consider within a Talent Management Mentoring process:

  • The importance of role modelling in mentoring;
  • The importance of the mentee feeling accepted and affirmed in what they are doing;
  • The concept of a professional friendship, a strong relationship through which the mentee can develop;
  • The ability to use person centred counselling techniques to help reflect back and play back to the mentee what they’re saying in order to help them develop.

So how is our Talent Mentoring Wheel useful?

Where we’ve found this model particularly useful, is in discussing with potential organisational clients what they want from their Talent Mentoring programme. Do they want to emphasise their career functions and aspects of that, and do they understand the issues that those things pose? Or do they want to more emphasise the emotional functions? And what particular blend of these would they like? This is helpful in clarifying expectations and making sure that the client is fully aware of what they are engaging in.

If you would like to learn more about this model and discuss it with us, please get in touch!

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