Better mentoring with TIPS to unleash talent and innovation

Better mentoring with TIPS to unleash talent and innovation

Innovation Method
Published On:
January 4, 2024

“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you,” noted the Canadian author Bob Proctor. Mentoring is the art of guiding and nurturing the growth of a talented individual within an organization. Mentorship has long been hailed as a powerful personal and professional development tool. And if a company matches a mentee with the right mentor, it can also support corporate innovation initiatives. But how can you increase the odds of a “magic mentorship match”? Use a cognitive profiling method to help identify and match fitting personalities and styles.

Mentorship: What is mentoring? Why is it useful?

Mentorship can be defined as the guidance provided by a mentor, especially an experienced person in a company or educational institution. Mentoring is a relationship built on trust, knowledge sharing, and mutual respect. Mentors offer their professional know-how, insights, experience, and wisdom to mentees, who gain valuable guidance, support, and direction on their professional career journeys.

In the corporate world, mentoring is pivotal in nurturing talent and driving innovation. It helps employees navigate the complexities of their roles, fosters a culture of continuous learning, and accelerates the career progression of talents. Furthermore, it's a linchpin in building cohesive, collaborative, and high-performing teams. 

“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” —Denzel Washington

What is TIPS in a nutshell? How is it used in talent management?

Enter TIPS, thinkergy’s cutting-edge talent and innovator profiling method. TIPS stands for “Theories, Ideas, People, Systems,” representing the four fundamental social ecosystems that drive technological, economic, and social change. Apart from these four bases, TIPS also captures four cognitive styles that describe how individuals prefer to think, work, interact, and live. TIPS provides a comprehensive understanding of individuals’ thinking preferences and innovation styles.

TIPS is a game-changer in talent management that enables organizations to identify and nurture talent with precision. It covers the full spectrum of the talent management life cycle. For example, TIPS helps you to hire the right person for a vacant position (talent acquisition), to match internal staff with roles that align with their cognitive styles (talent alignment), and to align work teams for better performance in business and innovation. In short, TIPS not only allows you to find the right people for the job; it’s about unleashing everyone’s full potential by ensuring they are in roles that resonate with their innate preferences.

Mentorship: How to match a fitting pair?

One of the fundamental principles of effective mentorship is matching mentors and mentees thoughtfully. But how to do this effectively? Use TIPS to learn more about the base orientation and preferred cognitive styles of possible mentors and mentees. Once you’ve determined the TIPS profiles of mentor and mentee candidates, you can do the pairing. Thereby, two contrasting worldviews exist related to how to approach mentorship:  

  • Differences complement. One school of thought suggests matching a mentee with someone with a dissimilar personality and, thus, typically, a different knowledge, skills, and experience repertoire. This approach whacks the mentee out of their comfort zone and equips them with new, complementing know-how. 
  • Similarities attract. Another worldview subscribes to assigning a mentor with a compatible personality and cognitive preferences to a mentee. Because they operate on similar or identical base energies and cognitive styles, a mentee can quickly pick up essential “tricks of the trade” from a mentor, thus short-circuiting their learning and career progression.

TIPS subscribes to the second school of thought as one of its key tenets is to make everyone play on their strengths and have other team members cover their weaknesses. In other words, TIPS allows you to do what is EEE (easy, effortless, and enjoyable) for you, while others take care of what is DDD (drudging, demotivating, and de-energizing) for you (see also this article). 

Mentoring with TIPS: Matching the right mentor to a mentee with TIPS

By assessing the TIPS profiles of mentors and mentees, a company can ensure a harmonious pairing by matching mentors and mentees sharing the same or a neighboring TIPS profile on the TIPS Profiling Map. They will likely have a natural rapport because they tend to think, work, interact, and live essentially alike and oscillate around the same home base. This alignment fosters a deeper connection and a more productive mentoring relationship. Here are two examples:

  • Imagine an Ideator-mentor guiding a Conceptualizer-mentee. The mentor's dynamic, action-oriented, and entrepreneurial approach nicely combines with the mentee's visionary big-picture focus on emerging trends and technologies, creating a synergy that drives business development and sparks ideas for innovation initiatives. 
  • When you pair two Organizers in a mentorship relationship, they are likely to share a fondness for operations, paying attention to the details, and getting things done. 

In short, such targeted harmonious pairings can turbocharge mentorship programs and accelerate skill development, knowledge and experience sharing, and a collaborative culture.

“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” —Steven Spielberg

What are the key objectives and application areas of mentoring in business? And how can TIPS support these?

Mentoring caters to several critical objectives within organizations, and TIPS aligns seamlessly with each:

  • Talent Onboarding: Pair a new hire with a seasoned staff member with the same or neighboring TIPS profile for the first months. For example, have a Partner-mentor care for a new team member who profiles as an Organizer. Then, have these temporary mentors teach newly hired talents all they need to know about the company and management’s expectations to onboard them faster.
  • Emerging Leadership Development: Mentoring often targets leadership growth by helping high-performing employees develop their abilities. TIPS reveals leadership potential by identifying individuals’ natural leadership orientation related to their dominant TIPS base. For example, talents surrounding the Ideas-base have a high potential to evolve into creative leaders, while Systems-driven leader candidates are more geared towards realizing efficiencies.
  • Talent development: Mentoring can assist talented employees in meeting their career goals by honing new capabilities and noticing specific skills or competency gaps that need to be closed to succeed in a desired career. For example, a Promoter-mentor can guide an Ideator-mentee pursuing a CEO career goal towards training programs, enabling her to become a more inspiring, interpersonal, and persuasive communicator. Or a Theorist-mentor can use data-driven analysis approaches to help a mentee of the same profile hone their reasoning and argumentation skills.
  • Talent retention and reputation building: Organizations with mentoring programs show a commitment to the career prospects of their talents and are more likely to gain a reputation as a desirable workplace. Likewise, talents with a like-minded mentor (with a compatible TIPS profile) guiding them toward their future career goals are more likely to stay with the organization longer, thus lowering employee turnover.
  • Talent succession planning: Mentoring is a cornerstone of succession planning. TIPS aids in identifying high-potential individuals by assessing their leadership potential for specific C-level positions, thus facilitating targeted mentorship for future leaders. For example, earmark Technocrat or Systematizer mentees as candidates for a CFO career while honing Theorists and Conceptualizers for a CTO career track.  

As such, incorporating TIPS into these mentoring objectives amplifies the impact of mentorship programs, as it ensures alignment between mentors and mentees at the cognitive level, resulting in more effective skill development, leadership growth, and performance outcomes.

Cross-mentoring: Bridging technology (adoption) gaps and trend gaps

More often than not, the partners in a mentorship pair are of different generations, with an older mentor typically guiding a younger one. But today’s rapidly evolving business landscape and the innovation economy give way to a reversal of the roles in what we might call “cross-mentoring.” At the end of a mentoring meeting, a tech-savvy Gen Y/early Gen Z mentee can also, for some time, assume the role of a mentor and teach the seasoned Boomer/Gen X professional about new technologies and gadgets, applications and platforms, and social media trends. This intergenerational exchange of knowledge and experiences can be a powerful tool for bridging technology adoption and trend gaps. 

So, how does TIPS come into play in cross-mentoring? By matching a mentorship pair with similar or identical TIPS profiles, it is more likely that a seasoned Boomers/Gen X professional opens up to the advice and reverse know-how sharing of their younger Gen Y/early Gen Z colleague. Because they think and do things alike, bridging generational differences in perspectives and approaches is easier.

Conclusion: Unleashing the Power of TIPS in Mentorship

When enhanced by TIPS, mentorship transforms into a powerful tool for talent development, collaboration, and innovation. By harmoniously matching mentors and mentees with similar or identical TIPS profiles, companies can create mentoring relationships that resonate on a cognitive level, fostering deeper understanding and collaboration.

In the present innovation age, mentorship is not just about passing on knowledge; it's about nurturing the next generation of creative thinkers and problem solvers. Moreover, when expanded by cross-mentoring initiatives, it can bridge gaps in technology adoption and industry insights, ensuring that organizations remain agile and competitive in a rapidly changing world. With TIPS as a guiding compass, mentorship catalyzes a culture of learning and innovation, propelling organizations into the future.

  • Learn more about TIPS on our website or download our TIPS booklet.
  • Care to take the TIPS test yourself? Click here to buy a test coupon for USD 89 and discover your talent and innovator profile.
  • With TIPS, we can help your company to better manage talents along all stages of the talent management lifecycle. When is now a great time to begin harnessing the transformative power of TIPS in mentorship? Contact us to learn more.

© Dr. Detlef Reis 2023.