By Linda Bølling & Merel Wolff
Let’s look at some of the benefits of creating a culture of learning with purposeful and effective virtual mentoring conversations.
Virtualise the organisational learning dialogues in a global working environment
To uncover the unique opportunities of working in a volatile, uncertain, and complex time, it is important to create flexible and good interaction digitally, where you can embrace and cultivate a mindset of curiosity, trust and learning, gain new competencies and deal with the social distancing that unavoidably comes with working both locally and globally.
Virtual work has become an integrated part of corporate work life nowadays; individuals and teams gather from different geographical locations to collaborate and align. Although communication through screens comes with pros and cons, even complicated work can be done digitally.
It gets more complicated, though, when entering the learning domain, personal- and team development, or other more complicated processes like organisational- or cultural changes. Here, people often believe that interactions to achieve these will touch upon deeper psychological development processes, that can only be worked with real face-to-face interaction.
Organisations challenged with the necessity of working virtually may risk losing momentum for these more complicated learning processes, leading to strategic disadvantages. The truth is, that virtual facilitation of interpersonal learning is possible and can be learned.
Practical, hands-on training
Virtual learning events help mentors and mentees make their conversations be more impactful and meaningful with good use of virtual applications, – not despite of them!
Recommended focus areas for learning how to create valuable mentoring dialogues
- Learn how to cope with and transform mental barriers for virtual cooperation and one-to-one conversations – preparing a virtual dialogue session, mentally and technically.
- Deepen insights on how to build and maintain relationships through a virtual platform; how to create value and impact in virtual conversations – establishing relationship, building trust and powering connection with each other.
- Learn about utilizing various digital platforms – technical practicalities.
- Practical knowledge and skills on managing virtual meetings and having engaging learning dialogues; including facilitating virtual exercises on a digital platform.
- Maintain momentum and how to best manage the time in front of the screen – and away from it.
- Enhanced training of different online communication skills and styles, e.g. tone of voice, and improve active listening, storytelling and feedback habits.
The organisations benefit from securing of business-critical knowledge, consolidate organisational culture and values, and sharing of best practices:
Matching mentors and mentees can be done more efficiently focusing on the individual and organisational outcome of the programme, the individual profiles, the cross-organisational knowledge sharing, and building strong business networks.
Less time consuming regarding the training sessions, as each of the virtual training sessions for the mentor/mentee participants and the programme management is time-reduced compared to physical workshops – normally half-a-day to one-full-day training sessions, also having impact on the logistic gathering more people from different countries, including travel time and cost, venue and catering.
Chance of having more time to spend on more shorter learning and interacting events, and mentor/mentee meetings giving a greater overall effect on the mentoring programme and less disturbance in a busy daily work-life.
Mentors and mentee benefit from their mutual learning:
Expand professional experience on interpersonal communication skills, building trust, listening habits and feedback in a digital environment.
Deeper understanding of their own role in the mentoring relationship, gaining insights on how to build and maintain relationships through a virtual platform.
Improve practical knowledge and skills on managing virtual conversations, equipped with methods and tools to create trustful in-depth dialogues and create mutual knowledge transfer.
Increase being comfortable getting out of their comfort zone – boosting curiosity and learning in new ways, enhancing the mentoring process, adding quality to the learning process for developing identity, increasing strengths and building networks.