9 MENTORING PROGRAM BEST PRACTICES


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9 MENTORING PROGRAM BEST PRACTICES By Management Mentors


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When developing formal mentoring programs, there are nine best practices companies should embrace. Let’s dig in!


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IDENTIFY A STRATEGIC PURPOSE 1


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Every mentoring program should have a strategic purpose. Image Credit: flickr.com/photos/evoo73/ 1


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Every mentoring program should have a strategic purpose. This provides the mentors and mentorees a foundation upon which they can build their relationships. 1


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Every mentoring program should have a strategic purpose. This provides the mentors and mentorees a foundation upon which they can build their relationships. For example, if the purpose of your program is to support leadership initiatives, your mentors and mentorees will know that this subject should be a main topic of discussion throughout their nine to twelve months together. 1


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Every mentoring program should have a strategic purpose. This provides the mentors and mentorees a foundation upon which they can build their relationships. For example, if the purpose of your program is to support leadership initiatives, your mentors and mentorees will know that this subject should be a main topic of discussion throughout their nine to twelve months together. No it doesn’t need to be the only topic. Of course, other topics will evolve naturally from this one. 1


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Image Credit: flickr.com/photos/wwarby/ TRAIN A PROGRAM MANAGER 2


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The mentoring program manager (MPM) plays a critical role. 2


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The mentoring program manager (MPM) plays a critical role. The MPM helps design & implement the program, including the all important process of matching mentors and mentorees. 2


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The mentoring program manager (MPM) plays a critical role. The MPM helps design & implement the program, including the all important process of matching mentors and mentorees. The MPM also monitors the pairs and provides them with support. 2


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The mentoring program manager (MPM) plays a critical role. The MPM helps design & implement the program, including the all important process of matching mentors and mentorees. The MPM also monitors the pairs and provides them with support. Finally, the MPM supports the program’s strategic purpose and reports the program’s results to upper management. 2


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Image Credit: flickr.com/photos/untitlism/ NEVER PAIR MENTOREES WITH THEIR DIRECT MANAGERS 3


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3 In professional mentoring, the manager is never the mentor.


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3 In professional mentoring, the manager is never the mentor. Instead, a mentor is selected based on specific skills and competencies that the mentoree needs and wants to develop.


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3 In professional mentoring, the manager is never the mentor. Instead, a mentor is selected based on specific skills and competencies that the mentoree needs and wants to develop. Mentoring crosses management boundaries, departments, and organizational levels.


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Image Credit: flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN COACHING & MENTORING 4


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Coaching and mentoring are not the same. 4


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Coaching and mentoring are not the same. A mentor may coach, but a coach does not mentor. 4


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Coaching and mentoring are not the same. A mentor may coach, but a coach does not mentor. Understanding the definition of mentoring is crucial. 4


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Coaching and mentoring are not the same. A mentor may coach, but a coach does not mentor. Understanding the definition of mentoring is crucial. Mentoring is “relational,” while coaching is “functional.” 4


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Image credit flickr.com/photos/kkleinrn/ PROVIDE TRAINING TO NEW MENTORS & MENTOREES 5


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It’s easy to think there’s not much to mentoring. Image Credit: flickr.com/photos/benoit-dufait/ 5


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It’s easy to think there’s not much to mentoring. After all, it’s just two people getting together to discuss stuff, right? 5


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It’s easy to think there’s not much to mentoring. After all, it’s just two people getting together to discuss stuff, right? WRONG. 5


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It’s easy to think there’s not much to mentoring. After all, it’s just two people getting together to discuss stuff, right? WRONG. It’s easy for mentorees and especially mentors to think they don’t need any guidance as they head into a mentoring program, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. 5


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It’s easy to think there’s not much to mentoring. After all, it’s just two people getting together to discuss stuff, right? WRONG. It’s easy for mentorees and especially mentors to think they don’t need any guidance as they head into a mentoring program, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Your program should offer some sort training and guidelines to new mentors and mentorees who are about to enter a mentoring relationship. 5


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FOSTER A SAFE MENTORING ENVIRONMENT 6


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Mentoring is a developmental relationship, one where feelings thoughts, & emotions come into play. Image Credit: flickr.com/photos/paperpariah/ 6


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Mentoring is a developmental relationship, one where feelings thoughts, & emotions come into play. In order for honest discussions to take place, both the mentor and mentoree must feel safe—safe with one another and safe in the overall environment. 6


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Mentoring is a developmental relationship, one where feelings thoughts, & emotions come into play. In order for honest discussions to take place, both the mentor and mentoree must feel safe—safe with one another and safe in the overall environment. The MPM should encourage the mentor and mentoree to jointly create an environment whereby both can share the “real” issues and the “real” obstacles they have or are encountering. 6


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Mentoring is a developmental relationship, one where feelings thoughts, & emotions come into play. In order for honest discussions to take place, both the mentor and mentoree must feel safe—safe with one another and safe in the overall environment. The MPM should encourage the mentor and mentoree to jointly create an environment whereby both can share the “real” issues and the “real” obstacles they have or are encountering. When mentors and mentorees feel safe and trust one another to share these sorts of thoughts and experiences, true transformation can take place—for both of them. 6


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Image credit flickr.com/photos/kkleinrn/ PROVIDE EASY ACCESS TO MENTORING RESOURCES 7


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You can easily create your own library of mentoring resources and share it with mentors and mentorees as they enter the program. 7


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You can easily create your own library of mentoring resources and share it with mentors and mentorees as they enter the program. In addition, we recommend that the MPM send out regular communication to mentors and mentorees (once a month, ideally) highlighting a specific, relevant resource. 7


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You can easily create your own library of mentoring resources and share it with mentors and mentorees as they enter the program. In addition, we recommend that the MPM send out regular communication to mentors and mentorees (once a month, ideally) highlighting a specific, relevant resource. For example, during the first month, the MPM might send an article on three easy communication tips, since the mentors and mentorees will be getting to know one another. 7


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You can easily create your own library of mentoring resources and share it with mentors and mentorees as they enter the program. In addition, we recommend that the MPM send out regular communication to mentors and mentorees (once a month, ideally) highlighting a specific, relevant resource. For example, during the first month, the MPM might send an article on three easy communication tips, since the mentors and mentorees will be getting to know one another. During the halfway point, the MPM might send out a mentoring program success story as motivation to keep going. 7


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You can easily create your own library of mentoring resources and share it with mentors and mentorees as they enter the program. In addition, we recommend that the MPM send out regular communication to mentors and mentorees (once a month, ideally) highlighting a specific, relevant resource. For example, during the first month, the MPM might send an article on three easy communication tips, since the mentors and mentorees will be getting to know one another. During the halfway point, the MPM might send out a mentoring program success story as motivation to keep going. We’ve made it easy for you by creating a repository of mentoring resources. You’ll find articles, white papers, definitions, and more, all of which you can use for your own program. 7


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8 EVALUATE RESULTS


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At the end of each mentoring program, an evaluation should be made with a focus on what worked, what didn’t, and why. 8


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At the end of each mentoring program, an evaluation should be made with a focus on what worked, what didn’t, and why. You can then make adjustments accordingly before your next program begins. 8


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At the end of each mentoring program, an evaluation should be made with a focus on what worked, what didn’t, and why. You can then make adjustments accordingly before your next program begins. The mentoring program manager will likely be the one performing the evaluation, but it’s always a good idea to bring in an objective 3rd party at some point so you can gain fresh perspectives. 8


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At the end of each mentoring program, an evaluation should be made with a focus on what worked, what didn’t, and why. You can then make adjustments accordingly before your next program begins. The mentoring program manager will likely be the one performing the evaluation, but it’s always a good idea to bring in an objective 3rd party at some point so you can gain fresh perspectives. A seasoned mentoring consultant can fairly evaluate your program and offer practical suggestions for improvement. 8


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Image Credit: flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ KEEP IT DYNAMIC 9


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Your mentoring program needs to evolve along with your organization and the world at large. 9


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Your mentoring program needs to evolve along with your organization and the world at large. Technology can play a huge role in business mentoring thanks to email, smart phones, and video conferencing. 9


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Your mentoring program needs to evolve along with your organization and the world at large. Technology can play a huge role in business mentoring thanks to email, smart phones, and video conferencing. Be open to experimentation, especially if it’s at the request of your mentors and mentorees. 9


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Your mentoring program needs to evolve along with your organization and the world at large. Technology can play a huge role in business mentoring thanks to email, smart phones, and video conferencing. Be open to experimentation, especially if it’s at the request of your mentors and mentorees. Be open to new tools, new ideas, and new ways to make your program even better such as e-mentoring software, which can provide a streamlined approaching to to filling out forms, keeping track of time, and providing updates to the MPM. 9


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Your mentoring program needs to evolve along with your organization and the world at large. Technology can play a huge role in business mentoring thanks to email, smart phones, and video conferencing. Be open to experimentation, especially if it’s at the request of your mentors and mentorees. Be open to new tools, new ideas, and new ways to make your program even better such as e-mentoring software, which can provide a streamlined approaching to to filling out forms, keeping track of time, and providing updates to the MPM. Technology should never replace the one-to-one face time that’s critical to mentoring, but it can certainly support your overall program. 9


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We’ve been helping organizations worldwide implement successful corporate mentoring programs for over 25 years. Decades of experience; innovative e-mentoring software. P.O. Box 67291 Chestnut Hill, MA 02167 617-789-4622 Email CONNECT WITH US Blog Twitter LinkedIn Facebook Google +


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