Hot or Cold? Taking the Temperature of Your Mentorship Program
Throughout the course of a mentorship program, mentors will need to perform evaluations. The purpose of evaluations can differ depending on when a mentor decides to administer them, but the overall goal is to access the effectiveness of the program.
Evaluations performed early on are a means of pinpointing specific goals and determining if objectives have been set appropriately. A pause mid-program aims to expose any weaknesses in the relationship and determine if sufficient progress is being made towards target outcomes. Both of these scenarios allow mentors to make adjustments intended to strengthen the mentorship and keep it on course.
Finally, assessments made at the tail end or culmination of the relationship give mentors and mentees an opportunity to return to the initial objectives set for the program and evaluate them based on adjustments made over the course of the relationship and how much progress was made.
Regardless of when evaluations are conducted, it’s important that both mentors and mentees maintain an open mind. The process will be successful only if both parties are willing to accept and learn from the feedback they receive.
The format of evaluation is up to you. Mentors can gauge the progress of a mentorship by administering formal questionnaires or conducting informal feedback sessions. It can be as simple as meeting over a cup of coffee and going over the original intentions set for the relationship. The most important thing is that you plan the session to achieve maximum benefit. To do that, you need to make sure you have a plan.
Creating a planned evaluation program is simple. The essential elements are to create an intention and determine how you will measure success. Here are a few tips to help you in your planning:
- Set a purpose for the evaluation program. If you plan to conduct multiple sessions, make sure both you and your mentee understand the goal for each session.
- Decide how you will track goals and objectives. This should be part of your overall mentorship plan and will be especially useful when it comes time to scrutinize your progress.
- Determine how you will collect evaluation data. You may devise a system of your own or opt to use survey software.
- Incorporate worksheets for program planning and interaction during sessions. These will be useful for prompting feedback and recording lessons learned.
You can probably think of even more elements that are important to a strong evaluation program. Use your imagination and don’t be afraid to bend the rules. Every mentee is different and responds to feedback in different ways. Use what you learn about your mentee to determine how best to assess their satisfaction of the program and whether or not they are getting what they wanted out of your relationship.
If this post resonated with you, check with your organization to see whether you are part of the MentorCloud network. If not, sign up for a demo here! Our vision is to create a mentoring planet in which true equality is achieved and hard work is rewarded, but it’s only possible with your participation.