4.1 The future of mentoring
Many commentators have a view on the future of mentoring.
Webb (2012) suggests that traditional, face-to-face mentoring is fading away as our work environment changes. Shorter contracts, a reduction in middle management and increases in remote working will mean that the structures that support one-to-one mentoring become less prevalent.
He goes on to suggest that increasingly, ‘the onus of personal and professional development is on the individual, not on the company’ and that this brings many benefits.
With the development of social networking, he explains that identifying and connecting with potential mentors has become easier.
Rashid (2015) picks up this theme and develops it. He suggests that in this time of social networking and online blogs, we can obtain a virtual mentor without having to spend precious time chasing them and trying to organise meetings. He recommends simply watching a video, finding a podcast or reading a book that they have produced to learn ‘everything (or at least the most important things) [your] hero and mentor has dedicated decades and thousands of hours of his or her life mastering’.
Activity 4 Who could become your virtual mentor?
In his blog post, Rashid (2015) goes on to identify his own virtual mentors, explaining why he follows their work and what he gets out of it.
Do you have any virtual mentors already – people who you follow on social media, for example, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn – who talk about the issues that matter to you and share wisdom and experience that you find inspiring and useful?
If you already have people you learn from in this way, list them below and try to explain what you gain from them.
If not, identify someone and summarise what is interesting about them here.
A useful way to start might be to look for TED Talks or YouTube clips on topics that interest you. Then see if the speakers are on Facebook or LinkedIn etc. (start with social networking platforms that you are already on). For books, look on Amazon or in your local library for any they may have written.
Highly regarded virtual mentors include the likes of leadership expert Simon Sinek (see clip about mentoring in Week 4, Section 2) and champion of productivity Chris Bailey (). One advantage of following the social media posts or blogs of such individuals is that when you’ve learned what you need, you can end the relationship without any awkward conversations!