Mentoring Future Business Leaders: 8 Practical Tips

by / ⠀Career Advice Entrepreneurship / June 22, 2021
Mentoring future business leaders benefits any type of organization. All it takes is a commitment to make it part of your everyday culture.

Organizations do well to invest in their staff by mentoring future business leaders and helping them develop their potential.

A formal mentoring program provides a suitable environment for employee development as it allows them to gain essential skills and receive valuable insights from seasoned coworkers. These meaningful interactions eliminate gaps. Ultimately, they produce a continual stream of leaders that will spur any company toward growth and resilience.

Any type of business profits from mentoring future business leaders. All it takes are some helpful reminders to include mentoring as an ongoing aspect of your company culture. Effective mentoring also serves as a key ingredient to effective management teams and ensures the company’s overall success.

Mentoring Future Business Leaders Represents a Huge Win-Win

Mentoring produces capable leaders by tapping into the employees’ potential, but it can also bring life to your company. Friendships develop that might not have happened otherwise. Trust begins crossing over worker/supervisor boundaries. Morale improves. Productivity increases. Absenteeism declines. Listed below are eight practical tips for creating a pool of highly qualified individuals who are better prepared to step into leadership roles.

1. Create a structured mentoring program.

First, it’s important to create an approved, official mentoring program. A formal mentoring program demonstrates that your company values talent and provides employees with opportunities to learn and grow. It also taps workers’ potential for training — mentors and mentees alike.

Additionally, a structured program identifies qualified mentors and prepares them to take on this role. The process also selects employees who show leadership potential and sets them apart for training. A mentoring outline determines when and how often interactions take place. It defines the duration and format of mentoring sessions to make them accessible for all participants, too.

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In today’s online world, mentoring goes beyond the usual one-on-one approach to include more flexible models such as virtual mentoring or group mentoring. Choosing the most suitable model extends the mentoring program’s appeal and encourages employee participation in either mentor or mentee positions.

2. Assign capable mentors.

Qualified mentors are vital for the success of any program. Choose prospective mentors not just for their experience but also for other qualifications that make them an authority. For example, tap into current leaders within the company or ask retired executives willing to train and develop future business leaders. Soft skills will be as important as demonstrated accomplishments.

You can also encourage future business leaders to sign up for an iNLP Center’s life coach certification course. Workshops such as these can also help develop hidden talents to effectively communicate industry knowledge and expertise. Apart from certifications, refresher courses can also provide additional support for your employees.

3. Match mentors and mentees.

Matching mentor and mentee attributes ensures a productive relationship, resulting in a successful mentoring program. Make a list of all available mentors, their strengths, and qualifications. Then, if possible, allow your future leaders to choose. This ensures a transparent selection process and helps mentees commit to the program. 

4. Provide firsthand experience.

Mentoring sessions not only impart knowledge but also expose future leaders to various company operations. Rotating assignments allows future leaders to appreciate different roles. 

As they work within various departments, mentees learn how everyone contributes to the company’s growth. Likewise, their interaction with different personalities also gives them a wealth of perspectives and teaches them how to become a coach after they finish the program.   

5. Present challenging tasks.

Create various scenarios to help future leaders improve and refine their skill sets. Assign them to challenging roles and projects to develop their problem-solving skills and enhance their creativity. These situations can also help hone their soft skills to manage workforce pressures through collaboration and communication.

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Mentors should allow talented employees to explore beyond their comfort zones and make decisions. While they may not be successful, encourage mentees to view these situations as part of their journey. Experiencing successes and failures builds their confidence over time.

Taking on difficult tasks also helps trainees gain essential attributes that transform them into resilient and creative leaders. These situations present a “trial phase” so future leaders learn how to handle more complex situations in the future.

6. Provide feedback and support.

Effective communication is a crucial component of the mentoring program. Aside from expert advice, mentors can encourage future leaders by openly expressing support. Mentees then have an opportunity to provide feedback as to how they feel about their performance, especially after a challenging task.

It’s vital to praise mentees for their accomplishments and provide constructive feedback to encourage them to do better. Mentors need to make a point to meet with their mentees regularly and give periodic evaluations. This helps let them know that you trust and support their decisions and they can rely on you for guidance.

Since communication is a two-way process in a mentoring relationship, you should also ask for their suggestions. For example, a mentee may have an innovative solution that can improve workflow or develop new programs that improve business. When future leaders know that their views and contributions matter, they’re more likely to become committed to making things work for the program and the company.

7. Give appropriate rewards.

The amount of time and effort both mentor and mentee invest into the program and in their relationships deserve due recognition. Rewards recognize the accomplishment of mentors and mentees alike.

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You can acknowledge participants with a simple closing ceremony or host a simple celebration. A thank you note or a tribute to mentors highlights their efforts while incentives and promotions keep future leaders motivated. You can also give out certificates or plaques to show your appreciation.

8. Pay it forward.

Mentoring programs shouldn’t end after a week or month-long session. Instead, they come full circle when former trainees become mentors themselves.

Encourage future leaders to support the company’s mentoring program by signing up as mentors in the future. You can also spread the word to other employees and invite them to take advantage of these training opportunities.

Inspire future leaders to see potential in their peers or new hires. Pair them with available mentors to begin a new cycle to transfer learning and ensure leadership continuity.

Mentoring programs don’t cost. They pay.

Mentoring future business leaders should be a priority for businesses if they want to ensure continuity.

A structured mentoring program should outline the communication and interaction between seasoned employees and future leaders. Mentors impart insight through learning sessions and by assigning future leaders to various departments. They also allow mentees to take on challenging tasks and improve through constructive feedback.

The successes and failures that employees experience in this phase help them become confident and resilient leaders. In addition, the industry knowledge, critical skills, and new perspectives they gain from mentors will qualify them for their role as competent business leaders in the future.

About The Author

Kimberly Zhang

Editor in Chief of Under30CEO. I have a passion for helping educate the next generation of leaders.


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