7 Steps to Mentoring Success
The Training Connection's (TTC) mentoring process is a comprehensive, systematic approach to formal mentoring. Implemented in scores of private and public organizations, TTC has a highly successful track record for helping individuals grow while enabling organizations to meet strategic goals. The mentoring process is based upon the following key design principles that function together to create a strong, highly effective, and sustainable mentoring program.
TTC's Key Design Principles
Relevance: The program is designed specifically to meet the unique requirements of the organization and its employees.
Top management support: Senior leaders recognize the importance of the mentoring program, and visibly demonstrate their support through their words, actions and resources over the short and long term.
Systematic matching: Carefully constructed processes are used to select and match mentors and mentorees.
Role clarity: Mentors' and mentorees' roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and mutually agreed upon.
Variety: Mentorees experience a wide range of learning activities and environments.
Technology: Mentors and mentorees use the Internet to streamline and manage the administrative details of their mentoring partnerships.
Evaluation: Processes are implemented to continually evaluate and refine the program and its components.
7 Steps for Mentoring Success
This model serves as a foundation to help you design and implement a successful formal mentoring program that is customized to meet your organization's unique needs and culture. The strategies for building a formal mentoring program are the same whether you are designing a program for six partnerships or sixty.
The Mentoring Connection Planning Process:
- STEP 1: Plan the program's purpose and design.
- STEP 2: Identify potential mentors and mentorees.
- STEP 3: Facilitate a joint orientation (mentor, mentoree, supervisor).
- STEP 4: Match mentors and mentorees.
- STEP 5: Provide mentoring training and tools.
- STEP 6: Implement the mentoring plans and agreements.
- STEP 7: Evaluate and track the progress and redesign as necessary.
A carefully-selected group of stakeholders, or Mentoring Design Team, meets to design and develop program objectives, guidelines, and action plans based on the specific needs of the organization. The Mentoring Design Team produces a Mentoring Plan, which outlines the sequence of events necessary to implement the program. The Mentoring Plan addresses how the organization will approach each of The Mentoring Connection's core design principles described in Table 1. For example, it will need to answer the following:
- How mentoring can help the organization meet its strategic goals.
- How top management support will be achieved.
- How mentors and mentorees will be selected and matched.
- What will be expected of mentors and mentorees.
- What learning experiences will be available to participants.
- How the overall program will be evaluated and refined.
Step 2: Identify Potential Mentors and Mentorees.
The success of any mentoring program depends on the careful recruitment and selection of mentors and mentorees. Using specific criteria developed in the Program Design (Step 1), the Program Coordinator and Mentoring Design Team utilize web-based tools to recruit volunteers to participate as mentors and identify mentoree candidates.
Step 3: Facilitate a Joint Mentor-Mentoree-Supervisor Orientation.
Sponsoring a joint orientation workshop will help mentors, mentorees and supervisors to understand the concept and process of mentoring. A joint orientation process includes information about the history of the program, goals, roles, responsibilities, and program support structure. In addition, the orientation explains the matching process and offers participants characteristics to look for in a mentor or mentoree.
Step 4: Match Mentors and Mentorees.
The Program Coordinator and Mentoring Design Team will implement the matching process designed at the program's outset. Every effort will be made to match mentorees with mentors who can best support their developmental needs.
Step 5: Provide training for mentoring program participants.
A great way to kick off the formal program is with a two-day workshop that gives mentors and mentorees the training and tools they need to engage in successful mentoring relationships. The workshop provides mentors with the right mix of coaching skills that will help them share their wisdom of experience. Mentorees, too, receive training that will enable them to take advantage of this mentoring opportunity and encourages them to assume an active role in advancing their career. This workshop marks the beginning of the formal mentoring relationship. Early products of this relationship should be a Mentoring Agreement, which outlines how the partners will work together, and a Mentoring Action Plan, which outlines the mentoree's learning goals and activities.
Step 6: Implement the mentoring process.
Mentors and mentorees will then implement their Mentoring Agreement and Mentoring Action Plans. Learning activities usually include both classroom training as well as more experiential activities such as special projects and self-study. It is recommended that the Program Coordinator check on the mentoring partnerships throughout the year by providing periodic progress reviews, mentoring forums and one-on-one personal contacts.
Step 7: Evaluate and track progress.
There is great benefit in having mentors and mentorees participate in two “progress reviews:” one at mid-point and one at the end of the program. These reviews give participants the opportunity to ask questions and share their challenges and success stories. This kind of information also allows the program coordinator to make any mid-point or program-end adjustments that will enhance current or future programs.
The bottom line…
Successful organizations are revolutionizing the way they are developing their employees. They are moving away from traditional training approaches that rely on formal classroom training alone and are creating conditions where learning happens continuously through a variety of developmental experiences and mentoring partnerships.
For more information: Kathy Wentworth Drahosz, 703-680-3780