Training is Contingent upon the Mentor’s Expertise
Anyone who has been employed has undertaken some form of training for that job. It may have been training as simple as carry those blocks from point A to point B, dig that ditch from here to there, or a detailed, comprehensive program to bring the new employee up to speed on how the company wants things done. No matter the training, there was someone administering and supervising the training to some degree.
In my experiences on jobs, I have seen many different types of mentors. Some have taken the responsibility to train or teach someone else as a task that they would rather not take on. As a result the trainee was short-changed and was never really able to contribute fully to the company nor live up to their fullest potential in that career.
I recall one such situation when I was working on a particular residential job site. An HVAC contractor had sent a crew out to the jobsite to rough in the structure so the county inspection could be done. The crew leader was not only given the task of installing all of the necessary duct work for the job but also to train and help a new employee who had not been with the company very long. The crew leader chose to ignore the new employee’s questions, did not take time to show him the how or the why things were being done the way they were, nor try to help him learn in any way. Not long after that job, I saw the same HVAC crew leader on another job and asked about the progress of that new employee and he responded by say that he was let go because he did not know how to do the job. Really?
I have seen others who have been given the task to train someone and are very willing to take that responsibility serious. Although they have taken this responsibility seriously they are hard-headed about the way they approach the task. They are not willing to look at things differently, learn more as they go and relay that information to the trainee, nor accept anything different that the way that they know. I know this type of trainer very well because at one time I was one. I took the job very seriously, but was only willing to teach what I knew about the job. In retrospect, I realized that I short-changed the person that I was training and made them one-sided in the process.
Then there are those mentors who not only take the job seriously, but also are willing to do whatever it takes to make the new trainee the best that they can be. They not only try to teach what they know but are constantly trying to learn new things and new ways not only to benefit themselves but also the trainee. This in turn benefits the company in which they work.
This type of mentor also takes the time and puts forth the effort to try to understand the person in which they are training. Which way they learn the best, what their strong suits are, and what interests they have that will benefit the company. This is the type of mentor that makes a company strong. This type of mentoring allows the opportunity for each individual mentee to achieve their fullest potential.
When given the task of training someone, we must make a decision on what type of mentor we are going to be. I believe we need to understand that the way we train someone will not only affect the company, but it could also affect the trainee. Whether that affect is positive or negative could be dependent upon the training that they receive. In short, training is contingent upon the mentor’s expertise!
What is your experience as a mentor? As a mentee?