The first decade plus of my career was spent primarily working for Canadian and British humanitarian organizations and the United Nations. It was typical that mentoring was a key part of our team's development, as well as our own leadership development. Whether involved in passing on our skills to other staff happened formally or informally it was part of every day work, given that you might only be in a role for six months or three years.
Today I continue to see how mentoring is transforming organizations. In the last twelve years I've been able to support organizations in financial services, insurance, health care and safety create, and launch their own mentoring programs. It changes conversations, it changes leadership and it changes the culture!
What we often don't talk about in mentoring is the "DIP". Just as in any change process, such as cross-cultural integration when you move locations for work, or change through a coaching process, it's typcial to start off with great gusto in what's commonly known as the "honeymoon" phase. At this point, mentor and protege are raring to go - they can't wait to get started and into dialogue with each other. Goals are clear as is usually the way forward.
AS the meetings progress, some partnerships find an ever evolving spiral of conversation and goal touch points, whereas others drop down into the dip. The dip is a place which sometimes feels like you are spinning your wheels, or not getting traction. Proteges and mentors may feel like mentoring is a waste of time.
In fact, the dip is natural! It's part of the change process. I've seen the dip throughout my own international assignments, and I've seen it mirrored not in the hundreds, but over more than two decades of work in the intercultural sector, mirrored in the thousands.
The dip can, and does, happen in the mentoring process. What to do if you see it? Here are a few things to consider:
Revisit the goals of the protege?
What have they accomplished?
What do they want to aim for next?
Where might they need recharging?
What will "shake" things up a bit?
You might have noticed there were several other places where we can see the dip - in coaching, global assignments, and any change process. Where have you experienced the dip? What did you do?
Contact us to discuss your emerging mentor program needs. You can reach us by phone at (517) 231-7606 - Susan in Michigan or (416)996-8326 - Jennifer in Toronto