How to Set-Up and Run a Mentoring Program
How to Develop a Mentoring Plan
Mentoring is used in schools, churches, and staff development programs. There is no single mentoring plan that fits everyone. Some are formal, official programs within an organization, while others are more casual and informal relationships that you create for yourself. Whether you are designing a mentoring program for others or are interested in finding your own mentor, learning how to develop a mentoring plan will help you get started.
Identify the purpose of your mentoring relationship.You may want to teach specific information or develop a particular skill. Having a clear purpose in mind will help you develop a specific mentoring plan that meets your needs and expectations.
- Academic mentoring relationships help students learn skills for studying, writing, and math that will help them succeed in the classroom.
- Personal development mentoring focuses on growing in social or leadership skills, or in developing one's character.
- Workplace mentoring often partners new employees with current ones in order to help them learn specific tasks or jobs. They may also be training opportunities designed to help an employee earn a promotion or transition into a different job.
Determine the format of mentoring you would like to put in place.Each person prefers a certain environment in which they can connect with their mentor. Decide what works best for you.
- Traditional mentoring consists of a one-on-one, face-to-face relationship.
- Group mentoring includes one mentor but several mentees.
- Team mentoring involves several mentors with several mentees.
- Peer mentoring consists of a more mutual relationship, where each person mentors the other.
- E-mentoring tends to be one-on-one, but takes place via email and the Internet. However, the individuals involved in e-mentoring often start their relationship with a face-to-face meeting.
Identify potential mentors.Mentors should be knowledgeable in the area you want to learn about. You should also have a good connection with them. If you cannot think of anyone, ask a friend or supervisor for suggestions.
Ask someone to mentor you.It is important that you are clear and upfront about your initial expectations for this mentoring relationship so the potential mentor can decide if they are a good fit. If the person declines, do not take it to heart. Simply ask someone else.
- If you are pairing others together in mentoring relationships, it is important that you consider your matches carefully. Take interests, personalities, and skills into consideration.
Brainstorm potential activities or discussions.You have a particular purpose for this mentoring relationship. Explore different things you may learn throughout it.
- Make a list of specific things you want to learn. For example, if the purpose for mentoring is to learn more about classic literature, identify authors like Shakespeare and Milton in whose work you have a particular interest in learning.
- Write a tentative agenda for mentoring sessions. Do this with your mentor. Allow them to add things to the list. For example, they may want to introduce you to a classic author you have never read.
Create a structure for your mentoring relationship.This helps both mentors and mentees have appropriate expectations and enables them to decide if the commitment is one they can realistically manage.
- Determine when and how often you will meet. Figure out which days and times work best for you. Then, based on your goals for this mentoring relationship, decide how often you will need to meet with your mentor.
- Decide where you will meet. Some mentors prefer to have their mentee tag along with them during daily routines. Others may want to meet in a more casual setting such as a coffee shop, a restaurant, or the park.
- Lay down relationship guidelines. Together, decide when it is appropriate to call each other, what information will be kept confidential, if it is okay to visit one another at home, and so forth.
- Set a tentative time frame for your mentoring relationship. Mentoring often takes place for 6 months to 1 year. At the end of that time, revisit your purpose for meeting and decide if you want to renew your commitment for another set period of time.
Commit to the mentoring relationship.Trust and reliability are two factors that are essential in strengthening the mentoring relationship. Each person needs to agree to show up regularly and on time. They also need to fulfill any personal obligations they agreed to throughout the mentoring. For example, if you are reading through a book together, each person needs to finish the reading for each session.
I want to develop a plan (PDCA) for myself in order to be equipped on my soft skills, leadership skills, and emotional intelligence skills. How do I do this?
How do I evaluate a mentoring program so I can develop a plan?
Should the tor come before identifying the mentors and men-tees?
- Use people from the past as mentors. Though you cannot meet with them face-to-face, you can read their memoirs, journals, or a biography. Historical figures may be able to teach us lessons others in our current society may not.
- Communicate why and how mentoring is effective if you are creating a mentoring program for an organization. Explain to potential mentors and mentees how mentoring can help someone learn specific skills, build relationships, and be a valuable resource for them.
- Discuss finances up front. If you are meeting at a coffee shop or reading through a book together, there are going to be expenses involved. Decide who will pay for what.
- Be careful in mentoring relationships where mentors and mentees have the potential to be attracted to one another. Create appropriate boundaries and expectations that you and your families are comfortable with.
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