In recent years, we have seen many traditional practices and activities shift to an online environment: communicating with friends and family, playing games with friends, and dating – and now we have online mentoring.
Like all of these other activities, the reason that mentoring has moved online is because it removes the barrier of physical geography; removes some of the difficulty and friction involved in seeking out people to connect with; provides all of the tools that a user needs in one place; and makes scaling that activity extremely efficient and effective.
So what will the age of online mentoring mean for the age old tradition of mentoring?
More accessible mentoring
The key improvement will be access. In the past, where an individual worked and lived could dramatically impact their access to mentoring. If a person worked for a company that didn’t have a formal mentoring program, and hadn’t attended university or college, it was very difficult and potentially impossible for them to find and connect with great mentors.
In a day and age where employees and individuals need mentoring more than ever – this is a problem.
Today, because of online mentoring platforms, luckily it is easier than ever. Not only is online mentoring making it more effective for large companies to structure their mentoring programs – it is making it possible for individuals and small business to access their own forms of mentoring. Individuals can now tap into remote mentoring – and small business can harness the power of cross-company mentoring to overcome their inherent lack of resources.
More diverse mentors and mentees
Through online mentoring, individuals have the ability to tap into and connect with people across geographical barriers. This makes it possible to connect people with dramatically different views, ideas, and opinions. In a similar way, because of the online developments in mentoring software, businesses can now connect their global offices and share best practices and learnings across countries and cultures.
Much of the strength of mentoring lies in receiving advice and experience from people with different backgrounds; these people are able to provide their mentee or mentor with a new lens, grounded in a completely different set of ideas, thoughts, and beliefs. Online mentoring, like online dating, makes it possible to connect with people who you otherwise would never have access to.
More effective communication & more effective mentoring
Online mentoring platforms also come built with all of the tools that a mentor and mentee will need on their journey. It provides a place to chat and discuss progress, a place to access resources, set and complete goals, upload events and tasks, and track progress.
This structure ensures that more people will experience effective mentoring. While people used to kind of ‘float’ into mentoring relationships, they will now be consciously engaged and invested in their mentorships, which makes for far better outcomes. Packaging all of the things you need into one purpose driven platform means that the process of mentoring becomes more streamlined and therefore more efficient.
Less admin for everyone
Admin tasks are not very fun – but they are often a necessary part of building and implementing any people program. But mentoring software removes this issue by automating the mundane tasks. Online mentoring is doing exactly this for the practice of mentoring. It is removing the need to fill out spreadsheets, manually match people via email, and maintain oversight of hundreds of relationships in a word document. Online mentoring is taking the admin out of mentoring.
Like with most online activities, people may say that online mentoring has the potential to remove the ‘human’ element of mentoring. But that would be wrong. Online mentoring makes the human element more accessible – and supplements it perfectly.
Online mentoring is the future of mentoring, and it is ushering in a very exciting period for the trusty old learning and development tool.