Leadership development pipelining through a mentoring program being explained

Create a Mentoring Program for Leadership Development

Providing a mentor to high-potential employees can be one of the greatest resources available to them. Not only are you improving your succession pipeline, you are creating exceptional leaders that are going to stay within your organization. 

There are significant differences between leadership mentoring and other types of mentoring such as career development mentoring. The biggest difference is the focus of the mentoring program. For leadership mentoring, the focus is developing leadership skills and getting the mentee ready to move up. However, all mentoring programs can help your organization increase employee engagement.

Here's what we recommend you think about when creating a mentoring program for leadership development in your organization.

1. Define who should get mentoring for leadership development

This type of program is not for everyone. It is best to choose mentees that are high-potential employees and could qualify to be leaders within your organization. When selecting mentors, you need to make sure they are already leaders within the organization. They also must be willing to give a few hours per month to their mentee.

2. Include Leadership Skills

Before you launch any leadership development strategy, you will need to have a defined list of leadership skills. These are skills that you believe the mentee will need to become a great leader. There are many leadership skills to choose from, so be sure that these are specific to the needs of your organization.

These leadership skills need to be included in your mentor matching questionnaire as well. This will ensure that the matches you make will promote leadership development well. Another step you can take to increase matching success is implementing mentor matching software.

3. Decide how a mentor can assist in creating a leader

There are many ways a mentor can help support an employee who has the potential of being a great leader. A few of these ways are sharing their network, coaching, and navigating politics within the organization.

Define the ways you think a mentor in your organization can help their mentee. Include this strategy in your mentor matching criteria. Also make sure you emphasize these points during mentor training so the mentors will know what to focus on.

4. Consider different mentoring programs

Leadership mentoring is not a “one size fits all” solution. It can be customized to your organizational needs and objectives. There are many different types of mentoring that you can choose to benefit your objectives.

Some options you can implement include reverse mentoring, speed mentoring, or a combined mentoring and coaching program. You can also mix a traditional mentoring program with more modern mentoring approaches.

5. Determine how you will measure progress

Measuring the success of your mentoring program can be done in various ways. Organizations can choose to use some type of competency assessment tool to see if leadership skills are learned. Other available options may include asking the mentee to create specific goals and sending out surveys to participants.

6. Design survey questions

When creating a mentoring program for leadership development, tailor your survey questions. This allows you to find out if the mentor is helping the mentee to continuing to grow as a leader. Include questions that ask about their current role and decide if the mentor has benefited their career path.

When sending out surveys, also be aware of when and how you are sending them out. Make sure you choose a time that most participants will see and take them.

Also ensure the surveys are not too long. Studies show that the abandonment rate for surveys increases after 7 or 8 minutes. You can manage these surveys with mentoring software.

7. Consider long term reporting

An indicator of success specific to mentoring for leadership development are career changes in your mentees. These changes are especially important if they include vertical movement.

You will need to run reports to determine if this has happened. Ideally this would happen within 2 to 3 years of participating in the leadership mentoring program. Mentoring software can help you easily run these reports and track your results. It can also allow you to contact these individuals to participate in new or continuing programs.

Joining these data points together will allow you to see the effect that your mentoring program has on leadership development. Documenting this effect will help you retain executive buy-in and continue your leadership development strategy in the future.


Insala has assisted many organizations in launching a mentoring program to enable career development. Facilitating an effective mentoring program can be a cumbersome task, mentoring software can do the heavy lifting like mentee-mentor matching, collecting feedback, and more. Request a demo to speak with one of our experts today.

Through innovative web-based SaaS technology, Insala partners with organizations to accelerate performance and drive evidence-based decisions for organizations and their people.

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