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The Best Practice Framework for "High Impact" Mentoring Programs

© By Barry Sweeny, 2005


It is NOT SIMPLE to develop and implement effective mentoring programs that will improve employee learning, professional growth, and performance AND increase results. If someone else tells you they can do it "quick and dirty", thank them and send them packing. They are in business for themselves, not for you!

Designing such "high impact" mentor programs is my specialty and I have been perfecting my knowledge and strategies for this task since 1987. I will MENTOR you and your program to excellence. I know what is needed in every setting, and I know what is needed that is unique from setting to setting. That means that, no matter what kind of organization you are in, I know exactly WHAT to do, HOW to do it, and WHEN to do it so the results YOU want happen in a planned, measureable process.

These statements are not bragging. They are statements of pride and are meant to reassure you that I can deliver what I promise.

Such a planned, measureable process is NECESSARY if your program is to capture high level support and remain sustainable across time. There is NO OTHER WAY to achieve these ends and to be COST EFFECTIVE, except to do it the right way.

Don't be timid about undertaking such complexities. The point of working with me is to:

  • Develop exactly the program that you need for the goals you want to attain
  • Get it right the first time, without trial and error learning and wasting of resources and time
  • Gradually develop your own internal capacity to be self-sufficient and conduct the full program yourself.


What follows here is a GIFT from me to you. The chart below is the WHAT or structure that an excellent "high impact" mentoring program needs. HOW and WHEN to do these things effectively is what I will help you learn. This chart shows the full range of mentoring and other support program strategies which are needed in organizations with results expectations for those programs.

My advice is, if you DO have such expectations, that you PLAN your program to include ALL of these components, but that you implement them gradually over time as you have the internal capacity to do so, until you have them all in place.

** Since the chart relates to all forms of mentoring, you should probably choose ONE vertical column for your program model. You may also elect to incorporate a subset of the components in that column, reject the full model, and I will still gladly work with you.

Note: The last three elements (PD goals, PD portfolios & PD action plans) may be optional IF your organization or profession does NOT have a set of performance standards or competencies against which employees are assessed.

 
EARLY
INTERVENTION

Student or youth
targeted for later
participation or employment

INDUCTION

INSERVICE

PROTÉGÉ > CHARACTERISTICS

Novice or beginner in the career
and new in the organization

New employee with prior experience in another similar job & organization

Current employee
increasing skills for the current responsibility

Current employee
preparing for or already in a new responsibility
- Leadership dev.
- Mgmt succession

PROGRAM
COMPONENTS \/

Career has NO
standards
for performance

Career HAS
standards
for performance

Formal protégé needs assessment:

- Self- assessment

X

X

X

X

X

X

- Supervisor's assessment

X

X

X

X

X

X

- Peer/subordinate assessment

n/a

Peer later on

Peer later on

Peer later on

Peer/subordinate

Peer/subordinate

Orientation to:

-
the organization

X

X

X

X

n/a

n/a

- the new job

to the potential job

X

X

X

n/a

X

- mentoring/coaching

 

 

 

 

 

 

Training designed for the protégé

X

X

X

X

X

X

Observation by protégés of experts in the same role as theirs, OR in the roles for which they are being prepared

X

X

X

X

X

X

Protégé peer support group

X

X

X

X

X

X

Mentoring & coaching to ensure implementation of training & to support & guide protégé growth in self assessment, reflective process & other work skills

X

X

X

X

X

X

Professional growth goals & planning based on protege's on awareness of needs

X

X

X

X

X

X

Goals & plan based on assessment against standards for performance

n/a

n/a

X

X

X

X

Professional growth portfolio of artifacts related to the professional growth
goals, plan, process & results
Save your stuff 2 Save your stuff Save your stuff Save your stuff

X

X

  2. Some portfolio processes may actual require time needed for effective work, and therefore, can be counterproductive to their own intensions. When a portfolio process, or any other professional growth process, inhibits work effectiveness, it becomes a useless process because it is seen as a compliance issue, not a professional growth support system.

The "Save Your Stuff" approach is a portfolio strategy that is designed to be developmentally appropriate for novice employees who have so much to do already, and so little time in which to do it. The requirements are phased-in over time as the protégé can handle them, and the mentor facilitates the reflection to ensure that it is productive and viewed as worth doing.