Mentoring Programs – What To Look Out For

Mentoring is regarded as having numerous organizational, as well as individual, benefits. In an effort to capitalize on the known benefits of mentoring, a growing number of organizations have implemented formal mentoring programs. These programs are thought to benefit the organization, as well as the individual mentoring participants. How do you evaluate and know which ones are the right ones for you since the success of a mentoring program takes more than just the commitment of the mentor and mentee? The questions to ask when examining a program are;
  1. What exactly is the program as experienced by participants? The effect the program has on participants depends on the realities of the program, not on its official description.
  2. Does the organization facilitating the mentoring opportunity guide and support the program? E.g do they provide tools and resources to help support productive interactions?
  3. Does the program regularly review data about its matches, youth and/or mentors? How does the program use that information to improve?
  4. Does the program have some way of assessing whether its goals are achieved?
  5. What mentoring technique(s) is the mentor(s)  using?
The focus of mentoring is to develop the whole person and so the techniques are broad and require wisdom in order to be used appropriately. Here are five commonly used techniques in mentoring programs;
  1. Accompanying: making a commitment in a caring way, which involves taking part in the learning process side-by-side with the learner.
  2. Sowing: mentors are often confronted with the difficulty of preparing the learner before he or she is ready to change. Sowing is necessary when you know that what you say may not be understood or even acceptable to learners at first but will make sense and have value to the mentee when the situation requires it.
  3. Catalyzing: when change reaches a critical level of pressure, learning can escalate. Here the mentor chooses to plunge the learner right into change, provoking a different way of thinking, a change in identity or a re-ordering of values.
  4. Showing: this is making something understandable or using your own example to demonstrate a skill or activity. You show what you are talking about, you show by your own behavior.
  5. Harvesting: here the mentor focuses on “picking the ripe fruit”: it is usually used to create awareness of what was learned by experience and to draw conclusions.
Now that you know what to look out for when evaluating a program let’s look at different types of mentoring programs

Types of mentoring programs

There are two major types of mentoring categories.All other types of mentoring programs fall into these two categories; 1.Formal mentoring; 2.Informal mentoring.
  • Formal mentoring relationships are set up by an administrative unit or office in a company or organization, which solicits and recruits qualified individuals who are willing to  provide training to the mentors, and then helps to match the mentors up with a person in need of mentoring
  • Informal mentoring occurs without the use of structured recruitment, mentor training, and matching services. Informal mentoring arrangements can develop naturally from business networking situations in which a more experienced individual meets a new employee and the two strike up a rapport.

Peer Mentoring Program(Mastermind groups).

Peer mentoring aims to enhance supportive relationships between two people, sharing knowledge and experience and providing an opportunity to learn from different perspectives. The mentor serves as a positive role model, promotes raised aspirations, positive reinforcement, provides open-ended counseling and joint problem-solving. Peer mentoring programs are beneficial mostly to students and business owners Example
  1. As the gig economy has supplanted old labor models in recent years, In Australia, Deakin University offers peer mentorship networks to new students in their social and academic transition. Similarly, the University of New South Wales has expanded the concept to each academic discipline as well as international and non-traditional students.
  2. Eccountability is a peer mentoring platform which connects the business owner with a tribe of entrepreneurs who support and motivate each other and hold every member accountable for the goals they set.

Group Mentoring Program

One mentor can be teamed with several mentees who meet at the same time.The group might meet 1x or 2x a month to discuss various topics. A wonderful synergy can develop in this environment. As the mentor poses questions, listens and reflects he or she draws all members of the group into the conversation. Each one has their own experience and insight to share and can draw their own learning from the discussion… E.g The Junto, also known as the Leather Apron Club, was a group mentoring program established in 1727 byBenjamin Franklin in Philadelphia. Although all the members were older than him, he was their mentor.The club met Friday nights, first in a tavern and later in a house, to discuss moral, political, and scientific topics of the day.

Mentoring Circles program.

This is a type of mentoring program in which participants are both mentors and mentees. They meet regularly as a group to learn, discuss and experience mentoring. Examples In Australia,
  1. The University of Alberta, the center for teaching and learning has a mentoring circle program whose aim is to encourage ongoing, shared exchange about teaching and learning across disciplines and specializations in order for participants to gain a broader vision of teaching across the organization and to aid in their development and success as university instructors.
  2. Nawo. a professional development program has a mentoring circle for its members to collaborate with a group of 5-8 high potential, mid-career women across different industries.

Benefits Of Mentoring Programs

Here are some benefits of mentoring programs
  1. Improves carrier skills
  2. Gives participants a greater sense of fulfillment.
  3. facilitation of knowledge transfer.
  4. Creates Long-Lasting Relationships
  5. Improves self-confidence

Conclusion

Mentoring is rapidly becoming recognized worldwide as a highly effective developmental process for employees and individuals in many diverse areas of life. If you are looking for the quickest way to join a mentoring program, Eccountability is your best bet.

About the Author:

Ronan Leonard is a Mastermind facilitator and Mastermind teacher. Connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners together to create the perfect Mastermind groups or teaching self-employed professionals how to run their own groups. Small business owners are often overwhelmed with to-do lists and need impartial advice to get the right support to help them achieve their goals.

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