Mentoring Program Best Practices
Mentoring is widely recognized as a beneficial career development tool that not only affects career health and longevity, but also positively impacts mission accomplishment. Mentoring is a difficult term to define as it manifests itself in many forms. One useful definition of mentoring is as a mutually beneficial relationship between a mentor and protégé in which resources, time, experiences, and expertise are exchanged to help with personal and professional growth. Regardless of the formal definition, the positive influence quality mentoring has on the success of an individual’s career cannot be overstated.
All Navy leaders must be involved and take an active interest in supporting mentoring. Everyone in a leadership role must make a point of reaching out to their subordinates and ensure that all members of the command have access to mentors.
Any Navy mentoring program should be designed to develop and retain talent within the Navy and give participants the opportunity to reach their full personal and professional potential. Mentoring programs are expected to accomplish the following:
(1) Provide a means for all personnel to examine options and make informed decisions about future career steps.
(2) Allow senior personnel the opportunity to share experiences and insights with those junior to them while conversely allowing senior personnel to learning from the junior’s perspective.
(3) Provide junior personnel access to senior leadership, affording them the opportunity to interact and learn from those who have achieved significant career milestones.
(4) Enable personnel to successfully balance life and work, and provide access to available Navy resources to assist in personal decision-making (i.e. Fleet and Family Support Center, Navy Personnel Command Life-Work Balance website).
(5) Encourage those with similar interests and backgrounds to share their successes and lessons learned.
(6) Ensure all individuals are afforded the opportunity to become part of the Navy culture and develop meaningful mentoring relationships.