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Six dimensions for mentoring

If you're involved in developing agendas for meetings between mentors and their protégés, you might find the six-point framework that Samantha and Marc Hurwitz present in their FlipSkills newsletter might be helpful. It's based on questions the protégé might answer:

Personal: How am I feeling? What am I working on or have been assigned? What delicate situations am I dealing with? What are my career aspirations?

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Interpersonal: How am I getting along with others? How could I build stronger relationships?

Technical: How comfortable am I with the fundamentals of my current job and the next level I want to attain? What are the best practices I need to learn to be more proficient?

Strategic: How can I develop my strategic thinking perspective to better understand the business, industry and general business environment? How can I demonstrate that perspective to boost my career possibilities?

Topical: What trends, changes and controversies should I know about?

Organizational: What can you, as my the mentor, share with me about the company's unstated norms, current climate, and various other corporate issues?

The two consultants say it's a myth that having senior people tied up in mentoring is an expensive waste of time. Research shows benefits flow to both the organization and the people involved.

"Mentoring is one of the most cost- and time-effective leadership development activities," they write. "With engagement scores at an all-time low and executive derailment at an all-time high, mentoring is one of the least risky investments you can make."

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