Following on from my previous blog 'Mentoring - from Greek mythology to current times', I am now looking at mentoring in more detail and how you can incorporate this into your workplace.
Once you have decided to introduce mentoring to your workplace you need to consider the following questions:
- Why are you introducing mentoring?
- Who is it for?
- What will the process be?
- Where will the mentoring sessions take place?
- When will it start?
- How will you communicate the scheme?
- Who can be a mentor and how do they become one?
1. Why are you introducing mentoring?
Before you go any further along the road to mentoring in your workplace you need to know why you are introducing mentoring.
- Is it because you think it sounds good/will make you look good?
- Is it to meet an organisational objective/s?
- Is it to develop and support the culture of your organisation?
- Is it instead of other development options?
- Is it to support and enhance existing development options?
The point I am trying to make here is that you need to know why – the real why and think hard on whether it is a good reason that will add value to your organisation and not become a ‘one hit wonder’ or another failed ‘initiative’. Better to not introduce it if you are not totally committed to making it work.
2. Who is it for?
Who will be able to access the mentoring scheme? Is it for a particular level or group of employees or will it be available to all employees? You can always begin with one group of employees and then expand it over time to cover all groups of staff you wish to use the scheme – it is up to you. It will depend on what is going to be most effective for your workplace.
3. What will the process be?
If I want to use the mentoring scheme as an employee what do I need to do to take part? Having some formal explanations about the scheme, how it works, and how to get involved, either as a mentee or a mentor, will be invaluable in saving time and other resources by having to respond on the spot or explain the process over and over yourself – a laid out written guide will do this for you.
This also covers the training of mentors if you are going to offer this. Training can be very supportive as it gives clarity on the process to the mentors; provides an opportunity to refresh the skills set that mentors will be using in this role (questioning; listening; building rapport; giving feedback; observing & monitoring, coaching and so on), and the structure of an effective mentoring session (Establish rapport – Set direction – Make progress – Moving on).
4. Where will the mentoring session take place?
An obvious point you may say but you would be surprised at how this can trip up a scheme, especially when it gets some momentum behind it and you realise that your one meeting room is booked back to back with mentoring sessions and nothing else has a look in! Think about the space you have available to you and what other options could be utilised – a local hotel lounge or coffee shop, the local park if the weather is good, or tables outside your building if you have the space. This can produce fantastic response and are multi-purpose – mentoring sessions, informal meetings or lunch breaks.
I have had excellent results using off-site locations and having ‘walking meetings’ when the topic and weather permits – this generates a whole different dynamic and energy to the sessions.
5. When will it start (and end)?
If you are introducing a scheme you need to decide when it will begin; whether there is an end date (is this a pilot or an annual scheme that is reviewed each year, etc.); how often individuals can take time away from the actual work they do, etc.
6. How will you communicate the scheme?
Success in all things always comes back to the communication! Once you have determined the scheme and all the elements therein, you need to plan the communication process to introduce the scheme to the organisation as a whole; to those who will be able to take part as mentors or mentees and to the line management of your organisation so they are fully cognisant with the purpose and process involved.
7. Who can be a mentor/mentee, and how do they become one?
Your scheme needs to clearly state how to become a mentor or a mentee under the scheme. To help with this it is useful to include the ideal qualities/characteristics of a mentor and a mentee within the documentation of the scheme.
At one time coaching and mentoring was reserved for senior managers and company directors - now it is available to all as a professional or personal development tool. Coaching and mentoring are also closely linked with organisational change initiatives in order to help staff to accept and adapt to changes in a manner consistent with their personal values and goals.
Coaching & mentoring, both of which focus on the individual, can enhance morale, motivation and productivity and reduce staff turnover as individuals feel valued and connected with both small and large organisational changes. This role may be provided by internal coaches or mentors and, professional coaches and mentors outside of the organisation.
Coaching and mentoring programmes generally prove to be popular amongst employees as coaching achieves a balance between fulfilling organisational goals and objectives whilst taking into account the personal development needs of individual employees. It is a two-way relationship with both the organisation and the employee gaining significant benefits – everyone involved benefits – it is an additive model.
‘Mentoring has the power to help us reach our dreams – you cannot teach someone – you can only help them discover what is within themselves.’
Adapted from quotes by Galileo & Stan Lee, Founder of Marvel Comics
References and Further Reading
The manager as coach and mentor by Eric Pascoe – CIPD – ISBN: 0-85292-803-3
Everyone needs a mentor by David Clutterbuck, 2014 – CIPD – ISBN: 1843983664
CIPD Coaching and Mentoring Factsheet (available to CIPD members only)
Contact us now to discuss how we can help you incorporate a mentoring programme into your organisation.
Stephanie Evans, Coaching and Mentoring Consultant, Bray Leino Learning
Copyright © 2014 Bray Leino Learning