If you’ve been working in a professional career for a while, you may have had the opportunity to be ‘mentored’ by your boss, and you probably have some understanding about what corporate training can be like. So you probably have an idea about where I might be going in this post. The reality is that most training programs aren’t really worth the money or effort. They usually fail to produce the results promised. So why is it such a big industry? Why are there so many consultants out there trying to sell you their ‘miracle process?’
Last month I attended the Commonwealth Senior/Associate mentorship program in Philadelphia with my “Lead Advisor” Leslie Roper Day. While I was somewhat skeptical about what I was getting myself into, I must say that I came away both enthusiastic and motivated by the event. It isn’t so much the content of the material we learned during the 2 day event. Don’t get me wrong, it was good stuff. The real value I walked away with was the people that I connected with, and the team I’m now a part of.
This program I’m participating isn’t just a single 2 day event, but rather it is a structured program that is ongoing throughout the year, with regular team meetings, progress charts, goals, and accountability expectations among the participants. I will experience both successes and failures, and I’ll be supported along the way by my peers who are experiencing many of the same types of challenges as I am.
What I’ve come to discover about corporate training is that it’s the network that has the biggest value. It is the connections you are able to make with people and resources that you might otherwise not be exposed to. The information and learning that you get is hopefully somewhat useful to you, but that is not what makes these things worth the time and money. It is the cross section of the learning environment with the people involved that will ultimately determine whether your money and time was well spent.
At the mentorship program, I got the chance to meet and get to know 9 other advisors who are at a similar stage in their professional lives. Some are earlier, some later, but we all share similarities in where we stand in our professional careers. Throughout the rest of this year, I expect that I will deepening my relationships with each of them even further, sharing our wins and losses, frustrations, difficulties,…our lives. Our support for each other is what is going to help us each overcome obstacles on our paths to success. And our mentors will also be there to share their experiences and lessons to hopefully help prevent us from making the same mistakes they did.
And while there is not a financial number that I can place on what those relationships are worth, I know for certain that they will have a financial impact for me. The return on investment does not always need to appear in the form of hard currency. Sometimes is shows up in our lives in the form of ‘soft dollars.’