Designing a successful mentoring programme that delivers the results you are looking to achieve can be a difficult process, particularly if the organisational culture is at odds with the philosophy of mentoring or the senior management are paying lip service to the programme’s introduction.
As a mentoring practitioner who spends a considerable amount of time designing bespoke programmes for my clients, even before I begin to think about the programme design, I like to talk to some of the people who may become involved as prospective mentors and mentees and to some of the senior managers who may be expected to support and sponsor the programme’s implementation. The questions I ask are quite simple and are around how supportive or not the culture will be to embracing mentoring and what obstacles or challenges mentoring may face. This feedback is such a useful guide as to the steps, which may need to be taken, particularly around influencing stakeholders and communication/publicity before the programme commences.
Types of Mentoring
Another critical decision to be made in the programme design, is about the type of mentoring to be utilised. Sponsorship Mentoring focuses on career sponsorship by the mentor and is often a relationship where the power dimension between mentor and mentee is fairly strong. Or Developmental Mentoring, which places greater emphasis on learning and development and the growth of the mentee, where the mentee or learner takes responsibility for their own learning. Developmental mentoring should be a mentee driven, two-way learning relationship. These days many Talent Management mentoring programmes, will decide to take some elements of sponsorship mentoring into their design also and it is wise to be absolutely clear on the outcomes of mentoring required before defining the roles and behaviours of the mentor for the programme and agreeing where mentoring should sit on the developmental-sponsorship spectrum.
Stages in Designing a Mentoring Programme
An effective mentoring programme should consider the following stages in its design:
- Rationale for a mentoring programme
- Influencing stakeholders
- Clear recruitment strategy
- Communications and marketing
- Preparing the participants
- Matching process
- Supporting the mentoring programme
- Review and evaluation