Guide to starting a mentoring program, Part 3: Mentor trainingNovember 30, 2015
After the creation of a business case, setting up all elements to ensure success and matching qualified mentors and mentees, the next step in establishing a corporate mentoring program is mentor training. The goal of this phase is to ensure that mentors understand what is expected of them and how to carry out their role in the mentoring partnership.
Understanding the mentee
An important first step is the creation of a relationship between the mentor and mentee. During this phase, the mentor gets to know their mentee, often through a casual conversation. With the right mentoring software and communication tools, this step can occur remotely.
Some questions that mentors should consider asking their mentees during this introductory phase may include:
- Why did you want to participate as a mentee in this program?
- What have your past experiences with mentoring been like?
- What are your goals for this mentoring relationship?
The answers to these types of questions will help a mentor recognize how they can best serve the needs of their mentee.
A mentor should make note of how their mentee is progressing during their mentoring relationship. The mentor should understand which concepts and techniques their mentees have a strong grasp of, and in which areas they need additional help. It can be helpful for mentors to create a log or journal that they can use to document these mentee observations.
Learning to properly observe mentees and document those observations also allows mentors to analyze their methods. A mentor with a thorough record of their activities and their mentee's progress will better understand what does and doesn't work in specific areas of mentee learning.
Playing both roles
Corporate mentors are not one-way communicators that exist solely to impart knowledge to their mentees. In a successful mentoring relationship, mentors learn and advance their own skills which in turn, help them with their careers. Forbes reports that professional development is common among mentors, and they often receive more compensation from employers because of improved productivity that contributes to increased company revenue.
A well-trained mentor should know how to teach and how to learn. They should be encouraged to think themselves about the concepts they discuss with their mentees. As they help mentees understand certain ideas, mentors often find that their own understanding of these topics becomes more robust. A successful mentoring program yields higher performance from both mentors and mentees.
For recent data about mentoring that can help you successfully launch a corporate mentoring program, download Insala's 2015 mentoring benchmarking survey report.