Mentoring Success Secrets

by Sally Armstrong - Date: 2006-12-04 - Word Count: 809 Share This!

Mentoring Success Secrets? key questions to ask.

Mentoring has proven itself to be an effective tool to attract and retain good people. A question on the lips of many HR professionals today is: What are the secrets to ensuring a great mentoring program? Answers abound, sometimes it's about ensuring a corporate fit, getting senior management buy-in, proper selection, matching, and proper training for all involved.

So how do you ensure mentoring program success? Looking at mentoring program standards and benchmarks is a good place to start. Based on Oystercorp's experience of delivering mentoring programs globally, we have developed the following diagnostic tool, to ensure organisations considering mentoring ask themselves the right questions. These key questions will help you clarify your program objectives and get you thinking about effective areas of mentoring program implementation. We recommend that program managers (together with potential stake-holders), go through and thoroughly answer the below questions. Asking these questions will help you get your mentoring program off to a good start.

Mentoring Program Implementation stages

These questions are set out under the following ten areas of Mentoring program implementation.

1. Design and development
2. Organisational alignment
3. Participants and stakeholders
4. Program structure
5. Program promotion
6. Selection and matching
7. Resourcing
8. Participant training
9. Monitoring and evaluating
10. Roll-out

1. Design and development

What are the objectives of the program? This is the most important question of the design phase. You should also consider What do you want to accomplish? How do you plan to accomplish these things? Who is the target population (by age, gender, geography, income, etc.)? What would success look like? - to mentees, mentors, the organization?

Create a simple statement that describes the program objectives. For example, "The mentoring objective is to groom 12 new managers as part of our succession strategy". Answer these questions about your statement: Is it realistic? Is it clear and concise? Does it reflect the values and beliefs of your organisation? Does it reflect the needs of participants?

2. Organisational alignment

What are the organisational values, strategies the program supports? What other HR/organisational initiatives is the program aligned with?

3. Resourcing

Where will the program budget sit? Who will manage this?

4. Participants and stakeholders

Who is your most senior sponsor? Who are your mentees? mentors? Will you involve line managers to be involved? If so how? Who are the people who will drive/promote this program? Your support team (steering committee, program manager(s), champions)

5. Program structure

What type of mentoring will be offered? (i.e traditional, peer, group, reverse). What model will you use, (one:to:one, one-to-many,group)? What will the structure of meetings be? (how often how long, when, where). What (if any) technology will be used to support the mentoring? (email, telephone, Ementoring, telementoring etc.) How long do you expect mentoring matches to continue?

6. Program promotion

How will you promote the program? Will you have a launch? If so what will this look like? What resources will you use for promoting the program? (i.e. website, intranet, Ezine, company newsletter, other promotional forums such as meetings, presentations) How will we promote the program results?

7. Selection and matching

How will participants be recruited and selected? Who will manage this process? What recognition will there be for program participation? How will mentors and mentees be matched? What tools, assessment criteria will we use to assist the process?

8. Participant Training

Who will provide the orientation and training? What is the best timing for this? What time commitment is reasonable for the workshops? What other activities will be a part of this program? (social etc.) What other curriculum will be used to support the training? (on-line resources, special project etc.). How will the partnerships be supported and monitored? How will participants be supported to keep up the momentum? How will we mark the completion of the facilitated phase of the program?

9. Monitoring and Evaluating the Program

How will we measure success? What are the program objectives we will be evaluating the program against? What outcomes do we want for mentees, mentors and the organisation? How will we monitor progress of participants throughout the program? How will we evaluate the program at completion? How will we evaluate this ? (i.e. participants self-assessment etc) How will you evaluate? (how, frequency etc.) How will program information be kept and managed?

10. Roll-out

What considerations do we need to have for roll out? What changes would we make to the program structure? Where would we next implement the program? How would we retain control of the program during the roll-out phase? (Go through the complete list of questions for roll out).

And finally

Given the unique culture of this organisation, what other questions do we need to ask ourselves?

Implementing a mentoring program isn't easy but it can be made simpler by following the 10 stages of Mentoring Success. Secrets to mentoring success include putting the right foundation in place. This involves asking some important key questions with your stakeholders and anyone involved in the program planning. Implementing these key questions will help you clarify your objectives and get your mentoring program off to the best possible start.

Related Tags: mentoring, human resources, mentoring programs, talent management, retention, leadership development

Sally Armstrong is a senior consultant with Oystercorp, A company that specialises in providing customized coaching and mentoring solutions for public and private organizations. Sally has delivered these solutions for international application in countries including Australia, Canada, the U.S., South America, Africa and South-East Asia. Sally has received a national business award for her contribution to mentoring and coaching.

For more information and to take advantage of Oystercorp mentoring tools and resources see:


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