Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Secret to Growing a Successful Mentoring Program

Lay the Foundations of a Successful Mentoring Program

Just to recap Tips #1-5 about how to get your mentors and mentees to make time for mentoring - and make your mentoring program successful at the same time - if you’ve been following along, you have:

  1. Positioned your mentoring program as a business strategy to decision makers. (Read more)
  2. Made the mentoring commitment clear to all possible mentoring program participants. (Read more)
  3. Communicated the benefits of mentoring to all stakeholders – and helped them discover benefits they may not have been aware of. (Read more)
  4. Gotten the buy in from your mentees’ managers. (Read more)
  5. Had your mentees and mentors book the time for mentoring into their calendars from the get go. (Read more)

(Of course, these are steps that are best taken before you launch your mentoring program, but if it’s too late and your mentoring program is already launched and you’re having problems, these tips can serve as remedial inspiration too! Or for additional help from a mentoring consultant, please feel free to contact us.)

If you’ve done any or (hopefully) all of this work laid out in Steps #1-5, you can’t stop here. Never assume that the good foundation you’ve built will sustain itself; it can’t. Never assume that the momentum you’ve created around your mentoring program will continue on its own; it won’t. That’s your job. You already know all the things that are challenging your mentors and mentees to make mentoring a priority. Those things aren’t going to suddenly stop when the mentoring program launches.

Think of it this way: you’ve planted a good seed. Now it’s time to nurture it and really let it bloom.


grow successful mentoring program

Nurture a Successful Mentoring Program

In my experience, the #1 reason that mentoring programs fail is because mentors and mentees don’t have someone to go to with questions or problems. That means they’re lacking structure – and to create structure, they’re going to make up the rules for themselves.

Consider your mentoring program and everyone involved – mentors, mentees, managers, administrators, decision makers, etc. – as a team. Together, you’ve agreed upon objectives for that team to reach. But if individuals in that team are pulling in different directions, there’s no way you’re going to reach your collective objectives, because your team is not only working in different ways, but working toward different things.

To keep everyone on track, be a resource to your team. Have continual check-ins with the mentor-mentee pairs to reinforce Steps #1-5 and also to determine if there are any issues that have come up that are being used as “excuses” for not meeting. This will:

  • Keep mentoring program momentum going. This is where organizations tend to fail in terms of longevity and sustainability, because they have a kickoff, and then just fades away.
  • Keep mentors and mentees accountable for their time. 
  • Keep mentors and mentees accountable for what they’re meeting about. 

For more information about how to grow your successful mentoring program, learn about mentoring training

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