Closing the top skill and competency gaps that exist today relies on providing learning within the context of employees’ daily work. To close these kinds of gaps, tacit knowledge, craft know-how and relational strategies have to increase dramatically.

The quote above comes from a mentoring article in Chief Learning Officer magazine.  The author cites a variety of sources that to point out that employees lack the skills and experience to build sustainable team performance.  He goes on to point out that traditional and e-learning are not as effective as mentoring.  One of his sources says their mentoring program emphasizes “how leaders can have the most business impact and personal satisfaction by making explicit connections between their talents, values and motivations and the kind of work they do.”

The author provides five types of mentoring that can be used alternately to improve performance, topical, situational, peer, reverse, and open.  The article provides explanations of each.  It is likely that a blend of these types will be required to create the best experience and improve the outcomes.

As with any learning endeavor it is best to work with a learning professional to document clear goals and specific outcomes.  This will help to identify the right mentor(s) and mentoring strategy.