"Mentoring of Mentors: Training Program Leaders to Ensure High Impact Mentoring"
by Barry Sweeny, © 2008
Why YOU Need a "Mentoring of Mentors" Training
There are at least THREE REASONS why your mentors might need mentoring themselves:
- The changes in expectations of teachers today are so dramatic that even our best mentors are very challenged to be the teachers they know their students deserve. Given that, how can mentors show new teachers the path to excellent practice when they are trying to discover this for themselves?!
- Add to this that mentors have probably never experienced themselves the kind of excellent mentoring they need to provide new teachers now. How can mentors give "a gift" that they have never personally received?
- Clearly, the High Impact Mentor Training and the High Impact Coaching Strategies Trainings are critical INITIAL steps in addressing this challenge, but they are inadequate by themselves to ensure mastery of these powerful strategies and implementation of that training.
Every effective staff developer knows that mastery and implementation of new skills after training requires follow up coaching and support. Over twenty years of mentoring has shown that, unless you provide high impact support and mentoring for your mentors, you CAN'T EXPECT CONSISTENT HIGH IMPACT MENTORING of your new teachers. Mentoring of mentors ensures that your mentors have personally experienced and been taught how to be high impact mentors and that they have the support they need to IMPLEMENT that training in their work with your new teachers. THEN, you can expect a high impact from mentoring on teaching practices and student learning.
Description of the Mentoring of Mentors (M.o.M.) Training
THE M.O.M. TRAINING - The content of the Mentoring of Mentors Training is designed to ensure effective IMPLEMENTATION by all mentors of the "High Impact Mentoring Strategies Training". This, of course, assumes that leaders who would support that implementation, have themselves been through that initial training. Then, the M.o.M. Training is the powerful final step in the sequence. The M.o.M. training includes:
- 1. An initial short presentation of the M.o.M. model
- 2. A demonstration of that model, and a discussion of the experience and the model
- 3. Then, for most of the time, participants work in whole group, triads, and pairs to practice the M.o.M. strategies and process.
- 4. Corrective coaching from Barry Sweeny is continually provided.
- IF mentoring leaders have already attended the "High Impact Mentor Strategies Training", AND The "High Impact Coaching Strategies Training", THEN the "Mentoring of Mentors Training" can be accomplished in ONE DAY.
- IF these prerequisites are not yet experienced, then the mentoring leaders need those trainings FIRST. ONLT then can they be expected to demonstrate these powerful practices for others and support others' mastery of those skills and strategies. When the prerequisite trainings have not been attended, the sequence will require FOUR DAYS.
But, don't stop there. If you expect IMPLEMENTATION OF THE TRAINING, read on...
Description of the Follow-Up Support Needed for Implementation of the M.o.M. Training -
Don't expect your program leaders to be able to fully and effectively implement the High Impact M.o.M. Model from just attending the M.o.M. training. Just as mentors need to personally experience mentoring so they know what their own mentoring should be like, so YOUR mentor of mentors, will probably need to personally experience mentoring before he/she can be an effective Mentor of Mentors. That's why, following the M.o.M. training, Barry Sweeny should personally mentor your program leaders on-site as they begin to implement their Mentor of Mentors role.
A. Barry's follow-up support utilizes ALL the steps of the M.o.M. model, including individual consultation, observation of your M.o.M. at work and with mentors, reflective coaching based on the observational data, problem solving, as well as planning and support for making improvements in the M.o.M. practice of your program leader.
B. However, the M.o.M. process is not just used in supporting your mentors. The M.o.M. process should be consistently used in most of the leader's work of program coordination. Barry's follow-up support will help your leaders discover how this actually happens, how to do it effectively, and how to embed mentoring into their daily work. That is why Barry's follow-up support may not take a great deal of additional time. Some of the time is observation of the work your leaders are already doing.
In this way, your leaders will become consistent, daily models and teachers of the powerful process of High Impact Mentoring and Coaching. That consistent modeling and teaching of the model is what will ensure that YOUR induction and mentoring PROGRAM and all the PRACTICES of the participants in it are working to transform teaching. That is when, you can begin to expect effective implementation of the vision of high impact instruction and the improvement of student learning.
How Many People Are Needed to Do the M.o.M. Training?
It doesn't matter! Even though most of the description above is about a group of people being trained, the M.o.M. strategies can also be provided to JUST ONE person, or to a very few people. Whatever the size of YOUR program's leadership, Barry can make the process effective. Your induction program coordinator, mentor trainers, and any others who lead elements of your induction program should all be trained and supported so they can be effective Mentors of Mentors.
Barry has provided the M.o.M. Training for one individual, small groups of mentor trainers, groups of lead mentors, and groups of mentor site coordinators numbering over 120. When Barry works with a group, the process looks more like a "training". When working with an individual or just a few leaders, it is a one-on-one mentoring and coaching process that ensures your leaders will personally experience and develop skill in using the Mentoring of Mentors model. Either way works great because even in the training, every individual observes, uses, and is coached on the M.o.M. strategies.
Of course, the on-site follow-up support of your leaders happens primarily one conversation with one individual at a time. That follow-up mentoring of your program leaders takes some time, but that step is what will ensure the high impact on results that you need and expect.
Participant Comments About the Mentoring of Mentors Training
"Of the thirty categories to mark on the MoM training evaluation form, I scored five at "I was impressed" (I was!) and the remaining 25 at "This was incredible!" because the training WAS amazing. The days were long and challenging, but were packed full of wonderful information and activities. Barry did an excellent job of tying all the many pieces together too. I have gained so much more than I expected and I am very excited!" - Mentor Program Coordinator, Maryland.
"When I was assigned the job of leading this induction program, I had NO idea where to start or how to be sure that all our efforts would produce the results we knew we needed. I felt lost and overwhelmed. Wow! Barry really made me think. His detailed and structured model has given me a road map for my journey! I also love his presentation of the ideas because it addressed both left and right brained learners! It was very powerful and helpful. I would advise any other districts to REALLY consider adopting Barry's model and utilizing it. " - Anna Brock, Mentor Program Coordinator, Portales, New Mexico.
"Barry, the Mentoring of Mentors Training was great! These three days were just what we hoped for. Thanks for helping us address this challenging issue and showing us how to take our next step in quality mentoring." - Paula Mower, Induction Program Coordinator, Fort Worth Texas Independent School District.
"I was privileged to be in a group that Barry trained in Fort Worth earlier this year. That's WHAT led me to invite him to our district. Even though we have some very talented mentor managers and campus instructional specialists, we knew we did not yet have all the skills we needed to help our mentors reach the higher levels of mentoring practice we wanted. I knew our team needed to learn from him. That is why we asked Barry Sweeny to lead our Mentoring of Mentors training. We so appreciated his willingness to work with us to adapt his training to fit our specific strengths and needs. His insights and modeling were very helpful." - Jackie Hoover, Director of Staff Development, Kileen Independent School District, Kileen, Texas.
"Normally, I HATE doing role plays and simulations, even though I use them in my own mentor trainings. They often seem so fake. Still, I really was engaged by Barry's training, and I think it was because it was a REAL experience, and not a simulation. It was very powerful! I feel confident now that I can be the mentor leader I know I need to be." - Mentor & Induction Program Coordinator, Iowa.