The steps to making mentoring work!
Mentoring is one of those things that I’ve seen company after company introduce – supposedly to provide development and guidance for younger employees. After all, the research says that Gen Y value development over anything else – so instead of a pay rise or expensive training – just start a mentoring programme! It’s free and it shows that as a company you value your people.
Except that the way most companies introduce mentoring doesn’t show value for people at all.
What I’ve seen go wrong is the following:
- Mentors are asked to mentor without necessarily knowing what’s involved. You need to have some expectations set out of what will be involved so a mentor can decide if they should mentor!!
- Mentors are given no training on how to mentor. It’s just talking to someone right? Why would you need training in that? Because having the right kind of talks during mentoring sessions can make the process effective and engaging or just a chat. Because knowing what you should be focusing on as a mentor makes a difference in the outcomes. I’ve been a mentor at various times through my life and without having any training – I wasn’t as effective as I could have been. After running the Management Bites mentoring module with several different companies – mentors have said they feel much more confident about their skills, about overcoming challenges and making the mentoring valuable for everyone involved.
- There are no guidelines in place about what should take place. I’m not talking about an overview of the mentoring programme (which you should also have) – I’m talking about mentors knowing what they should be focusing on during mentoring. When I mentored for OMEGA (a programme to help migrants new to Auckland) there was a 12 week programme and each session was set out in detail. I found that a little too restrictive – however having some guidance on what to cover can really help.
- Mentees receive no training. What do they need training in you might ask? Shouldn’t the mentor lead the discussion? In part yes, but when we’ve run the Management Bites module for mentees – mentees suddenly feel much more prepared for what they want out of mentoring, and much more engaged in taking ownership rather than just letting it happen to them!
- There is no review process in place to check that the mentoring programme delivered value.
If you are looking at introducing mentoring or reviewing your mentoring programme – make sure that you take the following 5 steps.
- Set expectations of what a mentor does so people can decide if it’s for them
- Provide training for the mentors on what a mentor is, different ways to communicate and how to overcome mentoring challenges
- Have guidelines about the programme but also about what the mentors should do in different sessions
- Provide training for the mentees!
- Have some measures in place to review if the mentoring added value. You can then use this to make adjustments to the programme in the future.
Put these in place and your mentoring programme will be something that both mentees and mentors value, and that adds real value to your company.
For an example set of mentors guidelines just click here.
For more about the Management Bites mentoring module just click here.