Virtual Labour Market
If workplaces are cut off and all the immediate access to mentors they provide, let AI guide you to find a suitable replacement. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

If ever there was a time for mentorship, it’s now.

Even back in the days of business as usual, employees valued having someone to lean on – an experienced colleague who could offer advice on tricky situations, business decisions and career progression. It was easier then; all you had to do was knock on their office door or drop them an email requesting a catch up over coffee.

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But since COVID-19 rocked up, two things have happened, traditional avenues for accessing mentors have all but vanished. And the trend of remote working has stripped employees of vital support networks and structure, making mentoring more important than ever.

Some people roll their eyes at the very mention of mentorships; they write them off as a box-ticking exercise for interns or a pastime for chief executives with too much time on their hands (as if such a thing existed). For those people, let me set the record straight.

Mentorship is not a frivolous luxury; it can make or break a career and impact a person’s life in the most profound of ways. Quoting co-author of ‘The Elements of Mentoring’, Brad Johnson, a recent article in ‘The New York Post’ put it perfectly.

In short, those who have good mentors earn more promotions, higher performance ratings, better networks, more money – the list goes on. Quite simply, the right mentor can change your life.

Life shaping

It is something I can vouch for myself. From high school sports coaches to college professors and standout managers during my early career, the mentorship I received during my most formative years shaped who I am today.

So, does the global phenomenon of remote working mean the corporate world is destined to be run by unrounded and ‘malnourished’ executives, starved of the support, guidance and wisdom that their office-based predecessors once enjoyed? It is bad enough that employees are having to adjust to the single life as the office floor remains off-limits or socially distanced at best, without them also missing out on life-changing mentorship from experienced colleagues they respect.

If people weren’t already feeling alone, they probably are now.

Just look elsewhere

But before you crash onto the sofa in despair, there is an answer to the mentoring quandary – and as with so many of the problems now afflicting the corporate world, it rests squarely with AI. With purpose-built platforms, mentoring is not going anywhere – in fact, it just got even better.

The New York Post likens such platforms to dating sites – “ for mentorships”. Take Chronus for example: mentees answer questions about what they are looking for in a mentor. Their data is then fed into a computer algorithm that instantly churns out potential matches, with impressive results: successful pairings 97 per cent of the time.

Pick from the best

The corporate world has been forced to retreat into itself in recent months, but AI-driven mentorship marks a true step forward. A development that will advance careers and benefit entire companies. Traditional mentoring worked for me, but it has failed many others.

Its success hinges on personal relationships after all, and if the chemistry isn’t there, then the chances of it working out are slim.

Within the remote limitations of Mentoring 1.0, finding a match is a lottery... and the pond is often small. But with artificial intelligence, the opposite is true.

Intelligent mentoring software has the power to find the perfect pairing – or as near as is possible – every time, with a pool of potential mentors that can run into the thousands and stretch well beyond company walls.

For years, people have feared that artificial intelligence will one day render the role of human beings null and void, but as we’re witnessing in these strange times, that couldn’t be further from the truth. As much of the global workforce continues to work home alone, AI mentoring tools are facilitating valuable human interactions and ensuring the future of careers.

Another shining example – if one were needed – of how machine learning can help human leading.

- Tommy Weir is CEO of enaible: AI-powered leadership, and author of ‘Leadership Dubai Style’. Contact him at