Designing a Mentoring Programme – Training Participants

Coach Mentoring ApprovedI have developed an eight-step approach to designing a mentoring programme with my clients. In this blog I am going to cover step 4, how to prepare the participants in a mentoring programme.

Preparation can involve anything for a short face to face briefing to a two day training programme, with many organisations opting for short virtual training webinars these days which can ensure a global talent mentoring programme for instance can be run on a very cost effective basis.

Klasen N. & Clutterbuck D. in the book “Implementing Mentoring Programmes” (2002) have demonstrated that relationships are three times more likely to succeed if formal training of mentors and mentees has taken place.  In my own practice I find that setting the right foundation for the relationship beginning, pays enormous dividends and a well set up programme, which is voluntary and has a good clear rationale and robust preparation will generally be very successful.

As well as mentoring skills development, training provides the opportunity to raise concerns and questions prior to the relationship commencing.  As a minimum, this preparation should encompass:
  • The programme purpose
  • Objectives and process
  • Roles and responsibilities of mentor and mentee
  • Contracting, agreeing expectations and boundaries and a “no fault” separation clause
  • Skills and techniques (with an opportunity to practice in a safe environment)

The understanding of the life cycle of a relationship.If you have plenty of time and resources to prepare both parties, include rapport building, goal setting, Peter Honey learning styles, competences of a mentor and mentee, reflection and learning logs and don’t rush the skills practice element.  If I am wearing my International Standards for Mentoring Programmes in Employment assessor hat, I would expect the programme to have also included a mentoring process model (e.g. The Three Stage Process) and some self awareness raising tools, plus the training should be run by someone with a relevant background and experience of mentoring. So I would always recommend there is some preparation, even if it is a short briefing as it will make a huge difference to the programme’s success. A one-day interactive workshop for participants is fantastic, with time for practising mentoring skills in a safe environment with feedback, but a half-day workshop, or even one or two one hour webinars can be very effective.  In the current climate, most organisations opt for half day training, or individual or group virtual briefings, but generally follow this up with group supervision three or four months later. I find also that working with matched mentors and mentees together is a fantastic catalyst to kick start their relationships and will include exercises for them to do together.

Some other key aspects to consider in your participant preparation:

  • Will E-mentoring be a component of the programme? In which case time needs to be spent in exploring virtual rapport building and how to communicate effectively and the challenges and advantages, when face to face communication is not possible.  We specialise in virtual training webinars for international clients with global mentoring programmes.
  • Cultural differences between participants, how to recognise these and value them and ensure they don’t impact on the effectiveness and outcomes of the relationship.
  • Issues facing the mentees – do both the mentors and mentees need some reflection and focussed preparation time to identify and understand some of the issues which may be facing the particular group of mentees in the programme e.g. breaking the Glass Ceiling for women leaders, losing confidence when returning to work for women who are being mentoring back into the workplace after maternity leave, or understanding and handling organisational politics when the mentee is part of a talent development programme.

Coach Mentoring Ltd offers a diverse variety of media and content for mentoring training programmes and can handle organisational needs from individual bespoke Exective Mentor briefings to virtual training webinars for 100+ people.  Talk to us if you would like to know more?

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