Mentoring and Coaching malaise? Spring clean your programmes!

Spring clean your programmesI just love the spring, with daffodils and tulips out in the garden, the bluebells beginning to peep through in our local wood, longer days and sunshine brightening up our lives, it is a time of renewal, recharging, refreshing and spring cleaning!

So don’t confine this just to your personal lives. With summer just around the corner, it is a good time to check that your mentoring and internal coaching programmes are in great condition to keep them going over the holiday months and into the autumn. So many programmes tend to launch or set up new cohorts in the autumn and now is the time of year they drift into a malaise and loose momentum. Effective mentoring and coaching needs to be nurtured and energised to deliver the best outcomes, so whether you are in HR, L&D or an external consultant then ‘clean up’ your programmes at this time of year. 

Don’t get distracted with other newer, sexier projects, or rely on initial momentum or loyalty of participants to see you through. Here are some thoughts and a few focused tips to ensure you are really ‘cleaned up’ and prepared for the rest of the year:

1.  Evaluate your programme

When did you last do some interim monitoring or check in with your participants? Is now a good time to do a mid term series of focus groups or confidential questionnaires? Or if you have the resources, some one to one check ins with the participants and key stake holders. Regular formative or ongoing evaluation from programmes will inform the programme’s effectiveness and allow you to make changes and rectify factors that might be impacting on programme and participant performance.

2.  Continuing education

A well-designed programme will not only start with a robust briefing or training, but will continue to provide up skilling and supervision during its life. If it is too difficult to get coaches or mentors together as groups, then invite them to a webinar, or have a newsletter, or use the organisational intranet to post new materials for individuals to access. Be practical, this is what the majority of organisations do these days.

3.  Is there actually “real” coaching and mentoring going on?

You will discover this out from your check in with the participants. I find it sad to find how little actual learning is going on within some formal organisational programmes. Not because of time issues, but due to lack of rapport and trust in the relationships, poor matching, or coachees/mentees not being aware of what they can really take into the relationship to discuss with the coach/mentor.

Some mentoring and coaching programme ‘clean up’ tips:

  1. There should be some educative development intervention for coaches and mentors at a minimum of twice a year.
  2. Don’t forget your supervision of coaches and mentors, quality assurance and checking on ethical practice is absolutely key!
  3. Remember that it is most effective to set up the evaluation framework at the outset, not leave it till later on. However, it is never too late to start your evaluation, the sooner the better.
  4. Work the coaching and mentoring evaluation in seamlessly so participants feel comfortable giving confidential feedback on the process of coaching and mentoring on an ongoing basis without it becoming an onerous chore.
  5. Take into consideration organisational culture, power dynamics and senior stakeholder support – it is not to late to change the way the programme design and coaching and mentoring evaluation is set up. Don’t be afraid to challenge if necessary!
  6. Check now that participants know enough about the programme objectives and what it is really about, to feel confident in moving forward.
  7. In mentoring make sure everyone is aware there is a no-fault separation clause and there is no stigma in using it! Remind coaches and mentors about revisiting and refreshing their ‘agreements’ regularly. It’s a good time to check in now!
  8. Finally, ensure all participants have some safe support to go to internally/externally if they get “stuck” or need help.

If you can tick off as completed all the tips on this list, then you are ‘cleaned up’, your coaching and mentoring programmes are in good shape and well done! Remember never to get into a complacent mode with your programme, formal coaching and mentoring programmes that are set up and left, tend to dry up, wither and die after a time. What a waste of coaching and mentoring energy, time and money!

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the coaching and mentoring ‘cleaning up’ process, then do get in touch. We offer a virtual programme management service, led by our Operations Manager, Jacki Mason, where she can handle all of this, plus more, with no fuss and very cost effectively.

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