Mentoring can mean many different things to different people in our field. Mentorship Program can help both mentees and mentors learn and grow, but they can also help the organization that runs them by increasing retention, promotion rates, and employee satisfaction.
But for a Mentorship Program to be successful, the organization needs to have a strong learning culture. Creating a clear vision is the first step in making an excellent Mentorship Program. Try asking some of the following:
- Why are you starting a Mentorship Program?
- What does success for the participants look like?
- What does the company’s success look like?
After you’ve answered these questions, you’ll need to figure out who your mentors and mentees will be. Once you know the target participants, go back to the original questions to ensure you know their main reasons for participating. Think about what the company and the participants have said their success goals are, and make sure they are the same. If not, it might be hard to get people to join the program, or those who do join might eventually feel like they wasted their time.
How to start?
Once you know why you’re doing something, you can focus on how. It’s always a good idea to start with “SMART” goals, which are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and have a time limit. These will tell program participants what to do and help them determine how to measure the program’s success. Think about what kind of Mentorship Program you want to set up. The most traditional kind of relationship is one-on-one and face-to-face, but there are other ways to connect:
- Mentoring in a group (one mentor with several mentees)
- Working with a team (several mentors with several mentees)
- Peer mentoring (a more mutual relationship, where each person mentors the other)
- E-mentoring (one-on-one, but it takes place via email or remotely using technology to connect, but usually starting with an introductory face-to-face meeting)
Once you plan for the Mentorship Program, it’s time to choose the people who will participate. When you reach out to possible participants, make sure to mention that both mentors and mentees can benefit from a mentoring relationship.
Mentors can give good advice based on their own experiences, and teaching someone else can be very empowering. People often see how their knowledge can help someone else grow through this relationship, which gives them new energy for their work.
When looking for possible mentors, you should keep in mind what makes a good mentor. The best mentors are not always the most successful people in a business. Look for honest, humble, and willing people to learn from their mentors.
People who are chosen to be mentees in the program should also have some of the same qualities. It’s essential to be willing to learn and to be able to take constructive criticism.
If the goal is growth, the person being mentored should be able to admit when they are wrong and when they need help. It’s not always easy to talk about mistakes, but a mentor can help a mentee the most if they are willing to do so openly.
Once the participants have been found, the next challenge is to pair them up. There are three common types of matching choices, which are:
This matching lets mentees find their mentors. It lets the people being mentored have a say in the process by letting them choose a mentor. This matching type can make participants happier because they have a more significant say in who they get matched with. It also makes the job of running the Mentorship Program more accessible.
In this type of matching, Mentorship Program managers are in charge of making the matches between the participants. Formats for leadership and high-potential programs often look like this.
This type lets program managers simultaneously match a large group of participants. This option is often used for large programs that help people with their careers.
West Stringfellow has a good article on Medium.com called “Designing and Implementing a Mentorship Program.” He talks about how to match mentors with mentees and “sell” mentorship. He gives sources for researching mentorship and learning styles concerning gender and race, which may be the most important thing he does. Stringfellow says, “These studies make people more aware of how complicated mentorship relationships are.” Program managers must be extra careful that their Mentorship Programs don’t make a company even less diverse.
No matter your choice, a questionnaire for each participant will help you find a good match. Ask each participant their skills, goals for the program, and a few personal questions to get to know them better. Here’s just one example:
- Current job function (provide a résumé and LinkedIn profile)
- Would you rather be a mentor or someone who gets help from a mentor?
- What are some of your best qualities?
- What skills or areas of knowledge do you want to learn more about?
- In three years, where do you see yourself?
- What are a few of the biggest problems you’re facing in your job right now, and how are you trying to solve them?
- What do you think mentoring means?
- What’s your view on being a mentor?
- Do you think that mentoring is an active process?
- How do you want to talk with your mentor or mentee?
Describe your ideal mentor or mentee.
What is the most important thing you want to get out of your mentorship? The more you know, the more likely participants will find a good match and have a successful mentoring experience. Essential things to consider include specific skills, interests, goals for growth, and past experiences and preferences that match.
Once the program’s goals have been set, performance indicators have been set up, and mentors and mentees have been matched, the fun can begin. An excellent first step is for the mentors and mentees to get together for a meeting to talk about the rules.
Make sure that these mentorships set their own goals and action plans, but give them a structure that fits the Mentorship Program‘s goals. Participants will benefit from this advice, which will help them get things off to a good start.
Help them agree on future goals and set up accountability measures for the mentorship. You will also need to give them access to resources, relevant content, and mentoring best practices.