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I'm surprised as many of the companies I've worked with where PMs reside in a common resource pool will encourage informal mentoring relationships between senior and junior PMs.
In such cases, I've seen the senior PM act as a facilitator supporting the junior PM during certain critical ceremonies (e.g. risk identification & qualitative assessment workshops, lessons learned reviews) and act as a sounding board for soft skill scenario challenges.
I've acted as an informal mentor for many of the PMs who have either formally reported to me or had a dotted line relationship to me when I was leading PMOs or leading the methodology team (in my prior role).
These were all informal relationships. I have found that there were very few mentees who actually took the time to develop a formal mentoring plan with specific objectives, timelines, etc.
We have had a few formal mentor/mentee programs in my organisation, but I have found that as soon as it becomes ''forced'' people don't embrace it. I have also found that the mentees expect the mentor to drive the process and in my opinion it should be driven by the mentee as they have the most to gain. I have found that informal mentoring as part of daily interaction with teams on different projects does much better. You also do not want to pair mentor/mentees for longer than 1 year or one project as you want to expose them to different management styles and not to pick up bad habits. At the end of the day after twenty years I have never formally been mentored but have taken the best form pieces from many mangers whom I reported to and formed my own unique style.
In closing, I have seen so many young people that idolise a manager or leader and want to be exactly like them, so much so that they try and change their personalities
I have done quite a bit of unofficial mentoring. I didn't plan it that way, but found that people tend to come to me for advice. I think I make myself available and open to any questions.
Since my company has very little support for it's employee's career development, we need to take control and find opportunities to move up. I have been working with people to prepare themselves so that when an opportunity arises, they have the necessary skills and training to take advantage of it. I guide them based on the direction they want to go in. The key is to discuss what they want and then mentor them on how to get there.
You make a very good point - They like mini-me's so they can micromanage them which is very wrong but on the other hand, Ive seen my share of great mentors.
Like Kiron, my mentoring is informal. Fortunately, my employer sees this activity as something part of my performance.
The protégé owns the mentoring relationship. In other words, I will work with each protégé, helping them frame their ideas, priorities and decisions. My job is to help them think properly about their needs and wants.
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