The Do’s and Don’ts of a High-Impact Mentoring Program
A mentoring program, when executed the right way, can work wonders for a company. It’s one of the best ways to boost morale, increase employee engagement, inculcate a collaborative culture, and more, all of which lead to business-changing results.
If, like many other successful organizations, your company is implementing a mentorship program for your employees, make sure you keep these in mind:
· Do lay down clear structures to follow
It’s critical that the program has clearly-laid out rules of engagement. Without a proper structure that you can follow or use a foundation, then there is a high chance that the program will not be as impactful as you want it to be. It may even fail.
To avoid this outcome, you need a system by which the mentors and mentees can create a realistic, pragmatic schedule, and always stick to agenda whenever they meet. Details such as how they are going to communicate, where and how they will meet (through video calls, phone calls or in person)., how often they are meeting, the duration of these meetings, and the final goal all need to be discussed beforehand.
· Don’t adopt a cookie-cutter approach
It is important to understand that one size does not fit all, and this applies to mentor too. Even though having a basic structure to act as a framework for the program is essential, it doesn’t mean that you follow the same procedure, the same style of mentorship for every mentee. Each mentee will have a style of mentoring that works best for them, and the more you can work this out, the more successful the program will be.
This also means that it is imperative mentees are paired with the right mentor. They need a mentor they respect and admire, yet feel comfortable with. They need a superior they can look up to and who understands them as a person.
· Do ensure both mentees and mentors carry out responsibilities
For a mentoring program to be highly impactful, both parties – the mentee and the mentor – need to be equally invested in the relationship, and carry out each of their responsibilities diligently. The mentee must be coachable, must be open to feedback and constructive criticism, must be willing to accept and work on their weaknesses, and must be responsive and active.
In the same way, the mentor should also have a genuine desire to help the mentee and guide them in the career. They should keep the mentee’s best interest at heart and help them navigate their professional life to the best of their abilities. A good mentor must also be understanding and willing to see things from the mentee’s perspective.
· Don’t let mentors spoon feed mentees
A huge mistake that many mentors often make is that they spoon feed mentees. They directly tell them all the answers and correct their mistakes for them. While this may seem like what mentors should do, it’s actually the opposite. In fact, doing this does not help the mentee, but rather make them dependent and complacent.
It may be easy for mentors to come riding in and save the day every time a mentee makes a mistake. But the more they do this, the less the mentee is learning. As a mentor, you should not provide all the answers every time. Instead, you should guide the mentee so they can find the answer themselves.
Keeping these points in mind will help you implement a high-impact mentoring program that the mentee, mentor and company as a whole can benefit from. That said, it’s essential to be ready and willing to welcome changes as a result of the program.