Is Your Mentoring Initiative Working?

February 05, 2008
As mentoring becomes more and more popular, more and more organizations are adopting this initiative as a way for individuals to learn, grow
and develop. The popularity of this concept has grown exponentially in the last five years.
  • Does your organization have a mentoring initiative?

  • Is it working?

  • Are you getting everything out of it that you expected?

  • Is everyone satisfied with the way things are going?

If so – that’s great and you are probably doing the right things at the right time in your organization. But if it isn’t going well, it is important to find out why and as quickly as possible. This article offers a checklist that you might want to use to see where the problem is. Review the following questions to evaluate where you are in ensuring the implementation of a successful mentoring process.

Mentoring Checklist Questions

  1. Did you establish clear goals for the mentoring initiative? Did you ensure that these goals were tied to specific organizational business objectives?
  2. Did you determine how success would be measured?
  3. Did you position the mentoring initiative as a business strategy versus a feel-good program?
  4. Did you communicate the details of the process to the entire organization whether a specific department/division participated or not. Or is it perceived as a “secret”?
  5. Did you ensure that all levels – not just senior levels - within the organization understood what the mentoring initiative was about and the benefits to be derived?
  6. Did you make the mentoring initiative a part of your larger career development process or did you position it as a standalone process?
  7. Did you identify a champion for it?
  8. Did you establish a Role Profile or Role Description for the Mentor that outlined what was expected?
  9. Did you establish a Role Profile or Role Description for the Mentee that outlined what was expected?
  10. Did you have a way to qualify Mentors and Mentees or was anyone allowed to participate as a Mentor or Mentee?
  11. Did you determine if an individual had the skills/competencies to fulfill the role of Mentor?
  12. Did you specifically identify the areas of skill/knowledge expertise of an individual that wanted to participate as a Mentor?
  13. Did you have a way to diagnose and identify the areas of skill/knowledge development needed by an individual that wanted to participate as a Mentee?
  14. Did you have a way to ensure buy-in from an individual’s manager/supervisor regarding his/her subordinates participation as a Mentor or Mentee; or to identify any possible problems or mis -perceptions that the manager/supervisor might have with the initiative?
  15. Did you have a way to match and pair Mentors and Mentees?
  16. Did you communicate that participation in the mentoring initiative was voluntary?
  17. Did you identify a Coordinator to track the process and answer a participant’s questions as they arose?
  18. Did you provide training for Mentors?
  19. Did you provide training for Mentees?
  20. Did you provide training for the Managers/Supervisors of individuals participating in the initiative – whether participating as a Mentor or a Mentee?
  21. Did you provide a form/format for a Learning Plan or Agreement that would be established between the Mentor and Mentee – a document that specifically laid out what the mentoring partnership entailed, how it would be implemented and the specific goals/objectives and activities to be accomplished?
  22. Did you provide assistance for Mentor-Mentee partnerships that could not meet on a face-to-face basis – i.e. distance mentoring partnerships?
  23. Did you have a way to monitor for potential mis-matches between Mentors and Mentees?
  24. Did you clearly communicate to all individuals participating in or affected by the mentoring initiative that there was a “no fault” insurance policy (i.e., if a mis-match occurred the Mentor and Mentee could be re-matched, without blame or fault to either party)?
  25. Did you create a tracking system or introduce mentoring software to ensure that the mentoring initiative was continuing to meet the original goals/objectives established?
If you answered “YES” to these questions – your mentoring initiative is probably progressing in a positive manner and success is ensured.

If not, you may want to review what you missed and see what adjustments should be made. It is important to understand that if you skip any of these elements it weakens your mentoring initiative and the chances for success. The more elements that are eliminated the weaker the initiative.

Mentoring is the ultimate way for people to address vital, real-life, pertinent business issues and receive development while functioning on the job. It should not be short-cut or shortchanged when implemented.

These aforementioned elements ensure that your mentoring initiative receives the attention that it deserves and is positioned as an important business strategy

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