A successful and effective mentoring programme is based around the following principles: Clarity, Communication and Commitment. And here we will explain what we mean by these:
Clarity of purpose is vital. Deciding exactly what need your mentoring programme will support ensures that the right mentors can be identified, the right measures can be put in place and the right expectations are set with mentees. Examples of mentoring programmes include; onboarding, development (skills and leadership), career progression, new job transition and diversity to name but a few. Each mentoring programme should be distinct, with clear objectives and measures in place to evaluate its impact and success.
Clarity of understanding i.e. what mentoring is and what it is not will also ensure that organisations select the right development intervention for the business and its employees. Unsurprisingly, confusion still exists between mentoring and coaching, despite the purpose, approach and outcome of each being very different. This links back to clearly defining the programme’s purpose and what needs you are seeking to address.
Clarity of skills required by potential mentors will improve the overall effectiveness of your mentoring programme. This requires a process for identifying mentors and developing their skills. For many, being asked to become a mentor is seen as recognition of an individual’s capability and reputation within the organisation; however, this does not mean that they automatically possess the skills needed to be an effective mentor. Investing time in establishing your bench of skilled mentors is therefore a must.
Once you’ve clarified the purpose of your mentoring programme and identified how you will develop mentors’ skills, the next step is to identify potential mentors to support your programme. Therefore a strong communication plan that explains the individual benefits of becoming a mentor as well as how the programme will support the organisation is key to attracting a broad range of potential mentors that reflects the diversity of your workforce and mentees.
Commitment refers to the organisation, mentors and mentees. For mentoring programmes to be truly effective there needs to be ongoing commitment. Mentoring programmes require commitment from the mentee to ensure they gain the most out of the relationship. This involves preparation such as clarifying what you want from the relationship as well as committing to taking action between sessions.