Benefits to Continuous Learning

Recently, I read an article about the merits of career passion and the reasons this concept should not be considered an oxymoron.   As a lifelong wordsmith, the marriage of these two key words related to career growth inspired me to research the merits of mentoring further to add to this concept. Along your career continuum, things such as passion, success, and continuous learning should be embraced and considered part of the professional lifecycle. However, for many the pressure to get additional degrees, certifications and enter a mentoring program can be quite daunting and add additional pressure to an already taxing job environment. When listening to employees and their concerns about their careers, success can become a professional career link to an individual’s abilities to support the priorities of the organization, and not their own. While disappointing, this decision can be seen by those who are still working on advancement as a mandate and not a choice. To add to the dilemma, organizational priorities and goals, do not routinely or independently support professionals’ goals nor define career aspiration. So we ask, do employees need to embrace continuous learning as a way to have career success?

Mentoring Choices Versus Mandates

When we acknowledge clear differences between mentoring in education, there is an enlightening view of delivering mentoring in the professional environment. In education, mentoring is predominately selected due to a criteria dependent on the schools’ perception of what mentoring is. In the professional industry the concept of mentoring leads to a sense of progress within a field, to improve, help and support professional growth and, most importantly, provide guidance. To understand these differences at a greater level there is a need to understand the goals of a student verses those of a professional receiving mentoring. In this degree we gain insight into the merits of mandated decisions verses choices on the learning continuum scale.
Students are often offered mentoring to support their educational and personal goals, while industry professionals are posed with mentoring as an option to be seen as a part of their learning continuum for professional growth. In my opinion the choice to embrace mentoring enables the mentee to have the greatest chance of success. This is due to the motivating factors that drive choice and the outcome effects of mentoring that are embraced by the mentee. In both cases, the mentoring process should not be seen as an approach to lead to professional or personal compromise, but as a chance to stretch.

The Merits of Continuous Learning

Professional learning is seen as a continuous process, grappling with complex and evolving issues. When asked to consider mentoring in a professional career many believe this idea to be a great one; to re-energize views and work on your advancement in a refreshing form. Mentoring is a unique and engaging intervention, and the hope is those who embrace it in the work environment see it as continuous learning for both their professional, and perhaps an organizational obligation. Investing in the human capital of one’s organization can be done with varied learning approaches to foster leading edge thinking. Along with traditional, reverse, or flash mentoring techniques, the varied learning approaches supporting continuous learning, could include:

  • Individual Learning Strategies which could include development plans, special projects and assignments and learning groups
  • Team assessment and individual capability and learning styles assessments
  • Learning workshops, training events, discussion forums
  • Team coaching and development processes
  • Classroom and distance learning and online learning
  • Job Aids and self-directed learning
  • Action learning, cross functional teams, and
  • Parallel learning structures (group representing various levels and functions) group teaching

At Coley, our workforce development experts embrace continuous learning and are available to assist throughout the entire mentoring and continuous learning lifecycle. Our program expertise is built around the Office of Personnel Management’s Mentoring Best Practices, which embraces the continuous learning strategies mentioned above. Whether you need help with designing and implementing a mentoring program, maximizing participation, or assessing the effectiveness of your current program, our seeking to understand the benefits of developing a culture of continuous learning and innovation using an organizational expert is a great choice.

The Professional Happy Medium

We spend a great deal of our day in one lifetime working, so it is important to have career passion, or a professional happy medium that energizes your daily routine. If mentoring in your organization is an option for helping you figure out your passion, embrace it and look at it as your personal choice to be successful long-term. Whether your organization has goals to meet priorities and mission statements, it is possible to achieve personal and professional growth from their commitment to a mentoring program, so take advantage of these opportunities.  Individuals are crafting a vision of career success, attempting to create logical protocols for their development of indicators for the perfect formula. Whether formula driven or just plain common sense, the good news is that mentoring has huge returns on a company’s investment, therefore, there is no bad news since both you and your organization can reap its effective benefits long-term and impact your individual equation.

By Janet Williams

As Director of Human Capital and Performance Consulting for Coley & Associates, Dr. Janet E. Williams provides Government clients and commercial companies insight on how to leverage resources and maximize services for improvements to company operations. She specializes in mentoring, progressive management process improvements, accountability and control, revenue enhancements, and other organizational change methods. For almost 20 years, Dr. Williams worked in government and head an Emerging Leaders Program for mentoring youth. Janet holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Hampton University a MBA from Troy State University, and her doctorate in Public Policy and Leadership from Walden University.

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