How to Design a Great Mentoring Program

How to Design a Great Mentoring Program

As businesses become more knowledge-centric, the right systems to facilitate the transfer of explicit and implicit knowledge become more important. In response, companies are investing time, money, and effort into mentoring programs as such programs have been found to positively impact productivity and performance of employees, which in turn affects the bottom line. 

Mentoring programs were traditionally geared toward mentees since organizations sought to enlist more volunteers to participate in such initiatives. Recently, however, attention has also been focused on how mentoring programs are changing the lives and professional prospects of mentees. As a result, businesses are looking for tools that can be used to design mentoring initiatives that benefit both the mentee and the mentor. 

Here are four top tips for designing a mentoring program. 

Develop a pre-mentorship training program 

Many businesses launch mentoring programs with great splendour. But they fail to realize that the mentors have not even been briefed on what they are to do, let alone trained. To ensure the success of a mentoring program, mentors should receive training on the methodologies to follow, the tools to use, and the delivery format of the program. They should be provided with practice sessions and trial runs on how to conduct result-oriented mentoring programs. This will ensure that such programs are effective.  

Both mentors and mentees should feel a sense of pride and ownership 

Both the mentor and mentee should approach the partnered learning process with a sense of pride and ownership. It is common for employers to force their employees into mentoring partnerships with the result that neither of the partners will be actively involved or the process will be of no benefit to either party. Mentors and mentees should feel privileged to be involved in a program, and motivation should be intrinsic rather than extrinsic. It is only then that both partners will be able to fully contribute to this journey of self-discovery. 

The success of a mentoring program depends on matching the right mentor with the right mentee 

When mentoring, it is critical to map the right pair. Ideally, mentors and mentees should be matched in such a way that each will benefit from the partnership. Remember that the mentor also stands to benefit from the process, not just the mentee. While the mentor is imparting lessons to the mentee, the same is also taking place in the mentor’s own life. Most mentoring sessions include leading by example. By creating partnerships centred on mutual learning, organizations are able to create self-driven mentoring duos. 

Mentoring should be based on specific objectives that are linked to immediate results 

Mentoring is a process of adult learning, and most schools of andragogy agree that adult education must always be linked to objectives that promise performance-oriented results linked to the immediate future. Mentoring programs should take this into account. Both the mentor and mentee should be able to demonstrate a link between the learnings from the program and improvements to performance that are tangible and measurable. In this manner, they will be able to contribute sincerely and wholeheartedly to the mentoring process. 

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