Advice from Our Expert: 5 Tips to Keep in Mind When Training for Your Mentoring Program

January 04, 2018
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For many, mentoring seems like a pretty simple concept; You match a mentee with a mentor and off they go, but this scenario seems a little too good to be true. Most of the time, things don’t go quite that easy.

The one thing that many organizations forget about when implementing a mentoring program is that training is a key element in the success of the mentoring relationships and ultimately the mentoring program. When people start new opportunities, training is always in place.  Whether it be OTJ (on the job), formalized or informal, people need to be trained and mentoring is no different.

To give you the best advice on how to develop successful training practices for your mentoring program, we brought in an expert, our very own Training and Implementation Consultant, Matthew Heilman.

When talking to Matthew about how training affects the success of a mentoring relationship, his answer was simple, “Since mentoring relationships seem so easy, people tend to enter them unprepared because they think it will be simple.  This attitude leads to people treating mentoring programs with disregard and not much hope. This is why ensuring that you have at least a basic training program to acclimate your mentors and mentees is essential”.

Training isn’t just about making sure that everyone knows what they are doing, it is also about gaining buy-in for your program, increasing engagement, and providing the necessary tools for success. Matthew added, “During this time, expectations can be determined and confidence in the program is established.  Your participants realize that this is not just a pairing; These relationships have been crafted to benefit both participants and if everyone works hard, a favorable outcome will be the end conclusion of the relationship”.

In addition to his great advice, here are Matthew’s 5 tips to keep in mind when developing training for your mentoring program…

KISS – Keep it short and simple

Your mentors and mentees are most likely participating in the mentoring program on a voluntary basis.  Nothing makes people want to give up like having a boring, long training session.

Make it fun!

Mentoring relationships are the start to accomplishing goals and bettering individuals.  This is not meant to be a punishment.

Establish the basics. 

How often people should meet, the overall expectations of each role and relationship should be established from the beginning.  Training provides the answers to these common questions.  This way, the only thing mentors and mentees will have to focus on starting a relationship is what goals they need to accomplish.

Do not hold separate trainings for mentors and mentees, if possible. 

It is important for everyone to be on the same page for understanding what each member of the mentoring relationships oversees. Responsibilities should not be a secret.

Don’t forget to follow up.

Training is not a one and done process.  Once basic orientation training is complete, make sure to offer further support during mentoring relationships.  People needs to know that they have more opportunities to ask questions and progress in their relationships (especially if they are not clicking with their mentor/mentee).

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