With summer just around the corner, it is a good time to health check your mentoring programme to ensure it’s in tip-top condition to keep it going over the holiday months and into the autumn. Effective formal mentoring needs nurturing and energising to deliver the best outcomes. So, whether you are an external consultant or an internal co-ordinator, freshen up your mentoring programme before people drift off on their holiday.
Watch Lis Merrick’s mentoring programme health tips and download the free Infographic.
Monitor your programme
First of all monitor your programme. When did you last do some interim evaluation or check in with your mentors and mentees? Is it 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 mentors and mentees. Regular formative evaluation from programmes will inform the effectiveness and allow you to make changes and rectify factors that might be impacting on performance.
- Remember that it is most effective to set up the evaluation framework at the outset, not leave it till later on.
- Work the evaluation in seamlessly so mentors/mentees feel comfortable giving confidential feedback on the process of mentoring on an ongoing basis without it becoming an onerous chore.
Develop your mentors
Next, are you developing the mentors? A well-designed programme will not only start with a robust briefing or training for mentors and mentees, but will continue to provide up skilling and supervision during its life. If it is too difficult to get mentors together as groups, then invite them to a webinar. Or have a mentoring newsletter, or use the organisational intranet to post new materials for individuals to access.
- Ideally, there should be some development intervention for mentors at least twice a year.
- Don’t forget your supervision of mentors, quality assurance and checking on ethical practice is key.
Is there any mentoring going on?
Finally, is there actually some “real” mentoring going on? – You will find this out from your check in with the participants. I find it sad to find how little actual mentoring is going on within some formal organisational mentoring. Not because of time issues, but due to lack of rapport and trust in the relationships, poor matching or mentees not being aware of what they can really take into the relationship to discuss with the mentor.
- Take into consideration organisational culture, power dynamics and senior stakeholder support — it is not to late to change the way the programme is set up.
- Check at the outset that mentors and mentees know enough about the programme objectives and what mentoring is really about, to feel confident in moving forward.
- Everyone is aware there is a no-fault separation clause and there is no stigma in using it!
- Finally, they have some safe support to go to internally/externally if they get “stuck”.
If you can tick off all the tips on these lists, then you are in good shape and well done! Remember never to get into a complacent mode with your programme, formal mentoring programmes that are set up and left, tend to wither and die after a time.
PDF: Infographic — Eight Spring HEALTH TIPS to make your mentoring programme truly effective
Do get in touch with us if you would like some help to refresh your programme!