To anyone who wants to gain a foundation in mentoring, and managers and team leaders who want to develop or refine their mentoring skills.
Successful Mentoring Program
Poorly-planned mentoring can be a waste of time. Mentoring relationships can fail for a number of reasons including lack of interest, poor participation, unrealistic expectations, and a failure to align mentoring with an organization's strategic objectives.
Many organizations have chosen to support and protect mentoring relationships by establishing mentoring programs. These programs formalize the expectations each partner has for the relationship and ensure the interests of the organization are aligned with those of mentors and mentees.
There are several characteristics of a successful mentoring program:
Most organizations encompass mentoring relationships. These can range all the way from the traditional informal spontaneous pairings, through to highly-structured formal relationships.
There are many similarities between informal and formal mentoring relationships:
In formal mentoring, relationships are assigned, maintained, and monitored by the organization, usually through a highly-structured program. The relationship adheres to an agreed-upon and documented timeline, action plan, method of communication, and standard of behavior.
The programs are directly connected to an organization's strategic business objectives. And formal programs give organizations much greater control over results.
In informal mentoring, relationships don't necessarily have a structure beyond what the mentor and mentee agree on in terms of when to meet and what to talk about. The relationships are more "ad hoc." They change and develop, and they usually last – as long as the participants still have the time and enjoy each other's company. The organization's input may be little
more than an acknowledgment or sanction of mentoring relationships. Objectives are unspecified or arise spontaneously during the relationship and are usually confined to the mentee's personal and professional aspirations.
TAKE AWAYS -
Successful mentoring programs need support from the organization's leaders, effective coordination of the program, trained mentors and well-matched participants, ongoing support, and effective assessment of the program.
Types and models of mentoring include one-to-one mentoring, group or team mentoring, executive mentoring, and e-mentoring.
Mentoring programs encompass different degrees of formality. Relationships range along a continuum from spontaneously-formed informal pairings through to highly-structured formal relationships.
Each type of mentoring has its benefits. Informal mentoring can create a strong emotional bond and encourages open and honest communication. Formal mentoring ensures potential mentees aren't excluded from the program and protects the interests of the employer as a partner in the relationship.
The most successful programs combine elements of both formal and informal mentoring.