Training vs. Mentoring
What is “Training”?
Training is intended to cover multiple generic topics, and to cover them completely, but from a basic core level of understanding. Training is generally needed when initially implementing a new technology or process. Typically firms purchase training during significant moments in their business (A new employee is hired or the staff needs to implement the use of a new software) or when the software has changed enough that a review of the new features is necessary.
Training May Not Be the Best Fit for All Situations
While the training itself is not terribly expensive, the time away from the job can sometimes be a burden to firms due to the large amount of time required in a relatively short amount of time. When a firm has the money to pay for training, they lack the time to take it. When a firm has the time to take the training, they lack the money to pay for it. While ideal and critically important for specific situations mentioned above, it is not something a firm does every week or every month. Training is best used on an annual basis, with refreshers every year. More commonly though, refreshers are done on a biennial or triennial basis, if done at all. These long gaps between training sessions creates a disconnect between the idealized training you receive in a classroom environment and the actual processes implemented on the job and the problems that arise in the real world.
When is Mentoring the Best Fit?
Mentoring is intended to reduce the disconnect between training and work as well as address real problems that occur on a recurring basis. Mentoring does not require the large time investment of training, but is a sustained while limited interaction over many months or years. Meeting with a mentor for only a couple of hours a week, a month or quarter, depending on the need may be the difference between a successful firm and a struggling one.
Mentoring, in principle, is not intended to be a short term solution or a quick fix, although it often appears to be. While a single mentoring session may solve an immediate issue or put out the fire of the day, it has a larger and more meaningful value through the constant interaction at regular or semi-regular intervals. The student(s) takes the information gained and slowly implements the principles of the training throughout the entire process, making the office run systematically, and efficiently, using consistent and persistent logic. Each meeting slowly introduces new concepts and ideas to the student(s), like pieces of a puzzle. Over time, this series of shorter meetings begins to provide a complete picture of the larger goal, making it easier and easier to fill in the missing pieces.
Mentoring Can Save Time
Self discovery takes time. Trial and error is expensive. Often the simplest question can take hours and sometimes days to resolve for someone not familiar with the core logic of a new system or program. To speed up the process, “shortcuts”, which are not so quick, and “work arounds” which make you work around the clock are often implemented as a standard process. With the mentoring services provided by The Mendicant Architect, much of this time is eliminated. Instead of spending time in discovery, investigation, and trial and error, you will learn the tried and true methods proved effective by the industry as a whole. With a pulse on new trending processes and tools, the Mendicant Architect has a more global or macro view of what works and what doesn’t. Through mentoring, these systematic approaches can be shared and adapted to your specific business needs.
The Value of Proper Mentoring
It is a common question as to “Which firms are the most successful implementing BIM around Austin, Texas, and the U.S?”. It is interesting that they ask “Who” is the most successful, when the question best asked would be “Why” the firms are the most successful. While each firm is unique and each has it’s own processes, they all have similar core strengths in their philosophy. One of the most important consistencies is the quality of the staff they employ. Many firms try to hire that talent into the firm, and while this can be effective, the most successful firms appear to grow that talent from within their existing ranks. They invest in their staff and make sure they have the proper tools, training, and support they need in order for their employees to grow individually and collectively which in turn makes the firm successful. Training and mentoring are key parts of this relationship.
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*All mentoring services must be paid in advance prior to scheduling or at the beginning of the first session.