- You’ve given them the tools, are they using them?
- Do they meet regularly?
- Are they producing the anticipated results?
- Is your program a showcase for excellence?
If your answers to all of these questions are a resounding YES, I congratulate you! You are in very elite company. You’ve put together a program that will foster a learning environment, produce breakthroughs in performance, productivity and advancement, build a strong leadership bench and keep your company sustainable far into the future.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case for the majority of organizations that start mentoring programs. The good intentions are there. Resources to get started are provided. People sign up and are excited. The emails go out introducing the mentoring partners to each other. BUT there are few important pieces missing.
Successful mentoring programs do not run on autopilot. In order for mentors and mentees to be effective, they need to have a strong framework for their mentoring process and specific strategies to powerfully engage in their mentoring conversations. Just because your mentors know how to do what they do, doesn’t mean they know how to develop those same skills and that knowledge base in another. These skills can be learned.
When you launch a new program, or re-launch a weak or failing program, these are the essentials that will make the difference:
- A complete overview of what is expected of the mentoring partners and how the program fits with corporate goals and strategy.
- Clear metrics for measuring progress and success.
- Staff to support the mentoring partners throughout the program.
- A launch event that includes a workshop in which your mentoring partners meet, learn and practice the basic skills that allow for effective mentoring, and learn to troubleshoot problems before they happen.
- Endorsement from the C-suite that this program is important.
- Participation must be a true honor for both mentors and mentees, not just another thing to do.
Susan Bender Phelps, speaker, trainer, consultant and author designs mentorship and leadership programs that help her clients increase employee engagement, productivity, and profits. She will work with you to strengthen your existing mentoring program or build one that’s strong from the start. Follow Susan on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.