Developing a Mentoring Scheme
Mentoring is an increasingly common developmental approach which can produce excellent results for the mentor, the mentee and the organisation(s) both parties are affiliated with. Its popularity can perhaps be accounted for by virtue of it being a low-cost yet highly personalised approach to development.
Mentoring demonstrates organisational commitment to the individual's development, but is not as directive as other developmental approaches such as training courses. The mentor is effectively a person who is not directly involved with the mentee’s job role but is backed by the organisation to listen to, guide and advise the mentee, in full confidentiality.
Nevertheless, mentoring needs to be complemented by other forms of learning and development, rather than being seen as a 'cure-all' or 'quick fix' to training and development needs in an organisation. Unstructured or informal mentoring can be perceived as a form of patronage, or as giving the mentee an unfair advantage.
Mentoring should not be seen as an additional or supplementary management task, but as part of a style and approach to management which puts the mentee's development at the heart of the business process. The mentee is not the only one to benefit however – the mentor gets a chance to 'give something back' and to gain (additional) experience of motivating and advising others. The relationship between mentor and mentee can be informal, with the mentee leaning on the mentor for guidance, support, help and feedback. It can also be a more formal arrangement between two people who respect and trust each other, and who have organisational backing to develop the relationship and seek positive outcomes from it.
Mentoring is a form of employee development whereby a trusted and respected person - the mentor - uses their experience to offer guidance, encouragement, and support to another person - the mentee. The aim of mentoring is to facilitate the mentee's learning and development, to enable them to discover and develop their capability and potential, and ultimately to enhance their performance and realise their ambitions for the future. Mentoring can enable individuals to build their knowledge and understanding far more rapidly than everyday experience would typically allow.
How to Develop a Mentoring Scheme
Below are the steps involved in developing an organisational mentoring scheme:
- Review organisational culture
- Establish the goals of the scheme
- Obtain the commitment of senior management
- Find a champion
- Make sure the scheme is fully integrated
- Establish terms of reference
- Start small
- Identify and train the mentors
- Identify problems in advance
- Work out the logistics
- Establish evaluation procedures
For detailed explanation of each step and to find out more about mentoring, view the guide below.
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