The Importance of Training Your Mentors

June 24, 2019
Training Your Mentors

A great mentor is a priceless asset to an organization. They pass valuable skills, knowledge, and insights onto a mentee to aid them in career development. However, they donít just wake up ready to be a mentor.

Before your mentoring program starts, you need to be sure your mentors are ready to invest in the improvement of their mentee as well as their organization. A great way to ensure this is by training your mentors. 

What is a Mentor?

First, we need to define ďmentorĒ. The earliest definitions characterize a mentor as an older, more experienced individual dedicated to achieving long term success and fulfillment of a younger, less experienced individual.

In light of current trends, this definition is quickly evolving. A mentor is now an individual with specific knowledge or experience in a given area of expertise, who is willing and able to share their knowledge and experiences with a mentee. They are confident in their communication and leadership development skills, and equipped to pass along their knowledge and experiences.

Itís important to know what a mentor is before you start training so that you can train them properly. Keep this definition in mind throughout the whole process.

Why Is Mentor Training Important?

A mentor is like the lead car in a convoy. You are trusting that they know where they are going. They are trusted to lead the mentee to the proper destination, and if they donít know where they are going, the pack gets lost as well. 

When a mentor is under-qualified, a mentee can typically pick up on it. This can lead to feelings of frustration and lower employee morale. Further, an under-qualified mentor could instill the wrong principles and standards within the mentee. This can spur a chain of poorly trained mentees that eventually will be part of your corporate structure.

The success of mentoring in the workplace is at risk if the mentor is not well equipped for their role. Effective mentor training is the key to avoid getting lost. Training gives guidance and maps out the path to a successful relationship.

Is Your Mentor Qualified?

Just because they are a subject matter expert does not mean they will be a great mentor. You need to qualify them a couple of ways.

  1. Provide a competency assessment. This will tell you whether or not the individual has the knowledge to be a mentor. Common skills necessary for mentors are leadership, goal setting, and motivating. Mentoring software can help you administer these assessments and record the outcomes.
  2. Assess soft skills. Soft skills like communication are necessary for mentors to succeed in their relationships. These skills are also highly coveted by organizations and should be passed on to mentees. 

Once you know where your participants qualify and where they fall short, you will know what your mentor training needs to include.

The Mentor Training Structure

While online learning can be an effective means of facilitating information, there is not an efficient way of tracking the progress and knowledge of your mentors. Training your mentors in person with supplemental workshops as well as online should make sure the material is both covered and understood.

Here are the 7 topics the training should include

1. Clarity in the objective of the mentoring program. Business objectives should be decided early on and kept in mind throughout the whole program.

2. Promote the benefits for the mentor. When mentors know what theyíre getting out of their mentorship, they are more engaged and invested in their role.

3. Provide a role profile for the mentor and the mentee. If they donít know their roles, both participants can be confused. Role profiles offer clarity and guidance throughout the relationship. Remind them that the relationship is always mentee driven and mentor guided.

4. Define phases of the relationship. Defined phases and checkpoints for the mentorship let the mentor know what to expect and set the pace.

5. Provide tips and ideas for the mentoring relationship. Give your mentors tools and direction for their mentorship. This will ensure a learning agreement and goal setting session take place.

6. Highlight challenges and solutions to overcome. There are always challenges in any kind of situation, so donít try to skip over them. Let your mentors know what they may face and give them solutions to use.

7. Discuss how to transition the relationship once the learning has been completed. The mentor may decide to continue the relationship unofficially or take on a new mentee.

Matching Your Mentor

After your initial mentor training, you will need to make sure they are matched with a mentee that can fulfill their development needs. Training is important to mentor matching because it teaches the mentors what skills they need to market to potential mentees in their profiles.

Mentor matching is made easy with mentoring software. The mentee can enter their needs and search through available mentors with the proper expertise. Once the match is made, mentoring software can also track the progress of the relationship.

Mentors are a valued resource to an organization and are the main conduits for knowledge transfer to up and coming employees. Remember, training your mentor is the best way for your organization to mold your potential candidates to fit their role. For more information on training to become a mentor, visit our website today. 

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