Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WIIFMs and Your Successful Mentoring Program

“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” – Steven Covey

Your Successful Mentoring Program Depends on Your Marketing

We discussed in Your Business Mentoring Program Is Still Business that you need to position mentoring as a business strategy to not only your leadership, but to mentors and mentees too, so that they understand from the very beginning that working on mentoring is working on business.

And while we can’t stress enough how important it is that you stress that business mentoring = business to all stakeholders, for the most successful mentoring program possible you also need to appeal to the more WIIFM-y aspects of mentors and mentees.

Successful Mentoring Programs: WIIFMs and Your Communications

But how do you know what those WIIFMs are in order to appeal to them?

Ask them, or – better yet, get them to consider for themselves what their WIIFMs are. Be careful here: these WIIFMs shouldn’t necessarily pertain to their part (or potential part) in your mentoring program, but rather to their role at your company, their developmental needs and wants, and their overall career aspirations.

Mentoring training is particularly good for allowing participants to think this through, put it in a framework, and cement it in their minds as something to work toward in a way that allows you to:

  • Structure the conversation
  • Take care of any mentoring misconceptions
  • Gather the information you need to excite your mentoring program participants and get them to invest in their roles. 
This has the added benefit of oftentimes jumpstarting mentors’ and mentees’ thinking process, leading them to realize benefits they hadn’t previously considered.

Successful Mentoring Programs: WIIFMs and Setting Developmental Goals

The next step after you and you participants have talked though and identified the mentees’ WIIFMs is to translate them into targeted developmental goals and action items. Much of this should be done with their mentor in the first few meetings of the mentoring partnership, but for the time-shy mentor or mentee, this does two things:

  • Sets them on the path for getting the biggest bang out of their time “buck.” 
  • Gives them incentive to truly drive the mentoring partnership. 
Mentoring has tremendous power precisely because it’s a process of personal discovery, challenge-setting, and achievement. This is just the first step of that process. It’s up to you to not only make sure that it happens, but that you reinforce that process to all your stakeholders throughout the rest of your program for the most successful mentoring program possible.

Learn about how mentoring software can assist you with managing your mentoring program - including helping your mentors and mentees make time for mentoring.

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