06 Nov Making Mentoring Magic
As an essential part of my organizational improvement program (C.O.P.I: Continuous Operational Performance Improvement), I work with organizations to create both Coaching and Mentoring Programs at all levels of the organization.
While Coaching Programs are more recognized as a value creator, Mentoring Program are equally as important to the future success of the organization. Why? Because every Team Member (especially Millenials and Gen Z) not only needs to be coached, but also needs to understand what their future work journey can look like by having an interactive relationship with a person other then their Team Leader. Specifically, a company leader who doesn’t evaluate them, can provide them with valuable performance and career building advice and has “been there and done that.” The conversations between a Mentor and a Mentee are completely different from the conversations between a Team Leader and a Team Member and provide different value because the participants’ roles are completely different.
Unfortunately, most Mentoring Programs don’t provide the expected ROI (increased Team Member satisfaction and engagement; improved performance skill sets; specific individual development programs) and are usually short lived experiments that are not repeated in the foreseeable future (“We tried a mentoring program several years back and it didn’t work so lets not waste valuable resources on trying to create another one”).
To avoid having a Mentoring Program that becomes a dismal failure, here are 5 ways to determine the Mentoring Program is meeting expectations:
- The person in charge is experienced and proactive: To be successful, a mentoring program needs someone with experience in Mentoring Programs, who can provide proactive oversight of the process and who can timely handle issues that arise between a Mentor and a Mentee. Without this experienced person guiding the Mentoring Process, Mentoring Programs lose either their momentum or their effectiveness.
- The communication program is working: Every successful mentoring program has an established communication process requiring the Mentor and Mentee to interact on a regularly scheduled basis (i.e. every other week on the same day at the same time). If both Mentor and Mentee are consistently keeping this schedule, the mentoring program is functioning properly.
- The reporting process is working: Accountability on the part of the Mentor and Mentee is required. The Mentor notifies the person in charge of the Mentoring Program that the scheduled meeting took place, and, not the content of the mentoring session, but if there are issues with the process (i.e. the Mentor and Mentee are not a good fit). The Mentee, on a monthly basis, informs the person in charge of the Mentoring Program if the mentoring process is going well or there are issues with the process (i.e. the Mentor is more interested in telling the Mentee what to do rather than assisting the Mentee in discovering what to do). If both Mentor and Mentee are responding as required the Mentoring Program is working.
- The evaluation process is working:Every quarter the person in charge of the Mentoring Program contacts, either in person or by phone, the Mentor and Mentee individually for their evaluation of the effectiveness of the Mentoring Program. This periodic evaluation allows the Mentoring Process to be fine tuned to meet the needs of the Mentee (i.e. more frequent contact, different contact method).
- There are measurable positive results: Every six months, both the Mentor and the Mentee give the person in charge of the Mentoring Program a written report on the specific results of the Mentoring Process: is it meeting the stated needs of the Mentee. Without periodically measuring the actual results of the Mentoring Process (i.e. improvement in the Mentee’s performance), the effectiveness of the Mentoring Program cannot be determined.
If a Mentoring Program is failing, here are 3 simple, but effective, ways to save it:
- Replace the Mentors: When Mentors are not sufficiently engaged in the Mentoring Process (i.e. they were forced to become Mentors; became a Mentor because they wanted to impress organizational Leadership; became a Mentor because they wanted to coach Mentees), they need to be replaced since they are having a negative impact on the Mentees they interactive with in the Mentoring Program.
- Replace Mentees: When it becomes obvious a Mentee is participating in the program for the wrong reasons (i.e. not to improve but to impress) they need to be removed from the Mentoring Program since they are wasting valuable organizational assets without any intention of improving themselves.
- Replace the person in charge: When the person in charge of the Mentoring Program is not proactive in ensuring the Mentoring Process is being followed or when they have lost enthusiasm for the Mentoring Program they need to be replaced.
Thanks for reading my blog post. For more information about how to create a sustainable Mentoring Program, contact me and I’ll send you my Mentoring Program Outline.