Coaching and Mentoring : The Retirement of the Baby Boom Generation: The Coming Knowledge Drain

Rene D. Petrin founded Management Mentors, Inc. in 1989 to fill a need in the market for a consultancy that focuses exclusively on the development and implementation of structured mentoring programs.

He has more than 12 years of experience as a Vice President of Human Resources in both health care and sales organizations. He has experience managing all areas of human resources, but developed a special interest in employee development. Through his concentration in this field, he began to realize the power of mentoring in organizations and increasingly focused on this area. In addition, Rene has worked as a social worker for the Massachusetts Department of Social Services in Child Abuse and Neglect.

Rene earned a master’s degree in consulting and counseling psychology from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s degree in health administration and planning from the University of New Hampshire.

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A little noticed trend is afoot that will greatly affect the continued success of our country’s businesses – the retirement of the baby boom generation.

By 2010, workers, senior managers, and senior executives will begin exiting the workforce for good. With them, they will take the experience and practical knowledge that has built and sustained some of our county’s most successful companies.

The impact of this exodus is still largely unknown, because so many benefits of good management are intangible. But what we do know is that the composition of senior staff is on the verge of significant change. The challenge facing companies today is how to most effectively prepare the next generation of leaders to continue the successful growth of tomorrow’s corporations.

One of the most significant and empowering tools available to face this challenge is executive mentoring.

Unlike traditional mentoring programs that focus on having senior staff work with junior staff to familiarize them with the company culture, political structure and hierarchy, executive mentoring is a formal program that facilitates the transfer of knowledge, practical experience and grass roots know-how from senior-level executives to mid-level career professionals.

The primary goal of executive mentoring is to prepare mid-level managers and executives to move successfully into senior-level positions. Although many mid-level professionals believe that they already possess the knowledge to advance to a senior level, there is a vast difference between the perspectives and approaches of the different levels. Mid-level professionals focus primarily on effective problem solving for the people they manage, and the profitability of the divisions they run. Senior executives focus on the evolution of the company, ensuring enterprise-wide profitability, and strategies for gaining or retaining competitive advantage within their market space.

While mid-level professionals contribute to all of these goals, they rarely possess the perspective to develop the high-level planning that will ultimately drive the company to attain these goals.

A formal, well-developed executive mentoring program provides mid-level executives with insights into the nuances of strategic planning, teaches them to see the big picture by bringing it into focus for them, and provides expert counsel as they prepare themselves for challenges of ever-increasing magnitude.

It is important to remember that we are not talking about helping a handful of individuals get promoted. We are talking about preparing the business and thought leaders of tomorrow to successfully and confidently carry the mantle of leadership forward.

As our most seasoned experts, counselors and confidants prepare for departure, American businesses must prepare to move on without them. And to do so successfully, they must act now to transfer the vast knowledge these professionals possess to the next generation of leaders, before it’s too late.

Executive mentoring is one of the most powerful and cost effective strategies in preparing your future leaders for the challenges of tomorrow. Don’t let the value of your experienced senior managers leave with them !

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