Mentoring Idea Exchange: Contribution from Steve Smith, Mentoring and Professional Development Coordinator for an international energy company
When I was asked to develop a mentoring program for engineers and other industrial professionals, I looked at a variety of approaches including peer mentoring, group mentoring, circle mentoring, and e-mentoring. Because our focus was both professional development and knowledge transfer, I chose the more traditional face-to-face mentoring provided by the Mentors 2100 program. Also, because I am in the HRD/Training field, I understand the value in having peer-sharing follow-up sessions – rather than stand-alone workshops – and a design structure that incorporates both andragogy and action-learning. Following the successful conclusion of our first twelve-month pilot sessions, I put together the following “Lessons Learned” using the ADKAR© model designed by Prosci Research:
1. Many people do not understand what a “mentoring relationship” actually is.
2. Many people believe that “mentoring” is just another name for training or
3. Many people do not feel that they have a role in development (of themselves
4. Few people believe that their management actually cares about development.
1. The opportunity cost alone keeps many employees from spending much time
on development (rather than on something that is seen as more valuable by
2. The primary role of top management in this program is to make it clear
to everyone that participation as mentor and mentee is expected (i.e.
1. The current Mentor workshop is adequate for beginning the mentoring
relationship but mastering the mentoring process requires continued
2. The current Mentee workshop is adequate for creating a set of professional professional development goals and a set of targets for improvement in universal skills, but the Mentee must bring other areas of his/her development into the mentoring process (e.g. PMS goals, competency assessments, ad hoc IDPs, etc.).
1. Ongoing personal coaching by a local “Mentor’s Mentor” is needed in order
to embed mentoring behaviors into daily practice (ensure confidence
2. Support from the Mentee’s immediate Supervisor is required for the Mentee to have adequate time and opportunity to work on meaningful developmental issues and learning activities.
3. Support from the Mentor’s immediate Supervisor is required for the Mentor to have adequate time and opportunity to devote to both the Mentee’s professional growth and his/her own growth as a Mentor.
1. Individual employee PMP evaluations must include some type of requirement for self-development that is both feasible and trackable.
2. Manager/Supervisor PMP evaluations must include some type of requirement for the development of others that is both feasible and trackable.
3. The “balance of consequences” must shift toward participation (rather than avoidance).
The most important lesson I learned came from one of our Mentor participants who said, “There’s thousand reasons this won’t work… but only one reason that it will: commitment!”