In Part 1, we talked about mentoring having slipped off the agenda in some organisations, yet with some thought, it can be re-introduced to gain the benefits that we all know about, if done well.
I suggested that you consider the first three points and reflect on what you believe your organisation’s position is on these. We looked at:
1. Genuine leadership buy-in
2. Nominating an Internal coordinator
3. The Matching process
So now you’ve had time to soak on those aspects, let’s move on. We’ll continue to refer to Leith Gordon Ltd’s recent experience with Cabot Specialty Fluids (CSF), Aberdeen.
So, the next key items to reflect on are:
4. Train both the mentors and mentees – to deliver a consistently understood, transparent and positive programme, all parties needed to be aware of the boundaries. Amy Robertson, HR Manager at CSF was keen to get an external party to deliver the training believing that the level of knowledge and credibility would be enhanced. The workshops were full of questions, debates and quite a few ‘ah –ha’ moments!
5. Emphasise confidentiality and trust – Easily said, sometimes harder to adhere to. The fact that a mentoring partnership exists should not be secret…but the content of the discussions absolutely should be held sacred unless there is a mutual agreement to share further.
6. Communicate about the mentoring programme
- With mentees: don’t underestimate how people, particularly when feeling vulnerable, can hear the invite to be a mentee as being sent to the ‘naughty step’. If that’s what you intend, fine, carry on. If not, stop and think how you want your programme to be seen.
- With everyone else: questions you may get from those not invited to be a mentee include - ‘why not me?’, ‘Is this a secret society?’, ‘Is it because the mentee is sucking up to the boss?’. You don’t need me to tell you that stories spread quickly - so lay your pitch out before the rumourmongers get their hands on the messaging.
7. Identify success factors – There is a lot of debate on this point, but put quite simply, clarify why you are putting this programme in place and identify what benefits you want to see. CSF has identified a set of success factors that have been shared with the mentors and mentees and enable calibration of progress.
So again, take a little time to consider these points in relation to your own organisation and of course, please contact me with any questions or comments.
In Part 3 of 3 we will complete with a few more salient points.
Susan and her family lived in Azerbaijan for over 6 years. Whilst on assignment, Susan wrote the ‘Baku Diaries’ for the CIPD North of Scotland & Islands newsletter.
By request, these diaries have been included here. They are ‘oldies’ now, but hopefully still ‘goodies'. Enjoy!