Something we sometimes hear from mentoring traditionalists and evangelists is that mentoring software can kill the human element of a mentoring relationship – the part that makes it special.
As mentoring purists and evangelists ourselves, this pains us. So I am here to tell you that mentoring software will not kill what is special about mentoring. In fact, it will actually make the human element more important – and more possible – empowering the people who wouldn’t be able to have any sort of mentoring relationship to have one, while allowing for and enabling any and all forms of communication for everyone else.
Change is hard
The notion that a new technology will ‘kill’ something more traditional is the human reaction to change. The rise of the mobile phone and texting led many to believe that great content and great writing would slowly cease to exist as more and more people changed their communication and content consumption habits. The exact opposite is true. The mobile phone made it possible for more people to consume written content and more people to share and spread content; increasing the demand for great content/writing; inspiring and incentivising more people to write.
And today, we have more blogs, articles, and great writers than we ever have before.
Just as with content production, new mentoring technology will only serve to increase the demand for mentoring; increasing the supply of mentors; and increasing the quality of mentoring overall.
Change is hard. But change is necessary.
Human interaction lives on..
New technologies like mobile phones and email have not replaced human interaction. They have supplemented it.
Mentoring software as a communication channel is not ‘replacing’ the channel of in-person meetings and interaction. It is supplementing it.
Instead of waiting one month to catch up with your mentee or mentor because of conflicting schedules and inherent geographical barriers, you can fill the month void by speaking with them via a purpose-build communication channel once a week – and then catching up in person. Instead of playing around with 3 or 4 types of different communication channels (email, text, call, Skype), you can contact, log, and keep tabs on your entire communication track within one portal.
In fact, having a steady stream of solid communication via mentoring software makes in-person contact more important by creating a deeper need and desire to meet in person.
Dating technology didn’t remove the human element of dating. It bolstered it by creating more connections, more matches, more dialogue, more dates – and more in-person relationships.
The most important thing that mentoring software does for people is open up the possibility and opportunity for mentoring interaction. Mentoring software is enabling more people to get involved in mentoring in the first place.
Even if mentoring software reduces in-person interaction by 10 or 20%, which we haven’t seen happen, imagine how much in-person mentoring is growing in absolute terms if we have thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or millions more people engaged in mentoring as a practice.
And technology doesn’t force you to change how you interact with your world. Your mentoring relationship is exactly what you make it; just as you can choose to date online or to meet people in the ‘real-world’.
You can have a mentoring relationship filled solely with in-person contact; or you can have an entirely virtual mentoring relationship. And that is what makes mentoring technology great – it allows for all forms of communication.
Mentoring software will not spell the end of the traditional mentoring relationship nor the end of face-to-face mentoring interaction. It will enable more of it.
And more access to good things is always a good thing.
You can read more ‘about us’ and why we think mentoring software is important here.