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.


Trust is built when people exhibit competence in their areas of expertise and show integrity through their personal interactions with others.

The quote above is from an article in this month’s edition of Talent Management.  The focus of the article is mentoring in a networked workplace.  The author clearly thinks of a networked workplace as one where the company has offices in multiple states or countries, employees who work from home offices, and others who do most of their work on the road.  But these days, every office is networked in some way or another so the guidelines provided in the article apply to everyone.

The days of hoarding information are long gone.  Success in the modern workplace requires information sharing.  Don’t be shy.  You might have the perspective or information that will make a difference for another person.  How would you feel if someone else possessed information that you needed but was unwilling to share?

In that spirit here are the high-level guidelines from the article and my thoughts on each.

  1. Give willingly and generously – The table at the top of this post clearly shows that limited sharing is an indication of partial engagement and a competitive atmosphere.  By competitive they mean competitive within the workplace (not good).
  2. Act humbly and courageously – Get ready for resistance and/or criticism.  They way you react to this will either build trust or barriers.
  3. Engage others honestly and openly – As trust is built, be ready to receive from others.  Accept their input and respond.  You don’t need to sugar coat your reaction but a little sugar won’t hurt.