How to implement a successful mentoring program
He was the President and CEO of a large corporation with employees in excess of 2,500 and he was proud of what he had accomplished. His “leadership” style was one that he directed from above. He was somewhat of a control freak – He had to have his fingers in most things that were going on. As a result of this leadership style, things on the home front were not as positive as they could be and yet he struggled with why that was. He could not take ownership for that – look at how successful he was and how people scrambled when he walked into the room. He had very few relationships – trusted ones that he could actually confide in. He was for the most part standing on his island by himself. However, he did have his work place as his sanctuary.
When this “successful” person was asked if he had a mentoring program in place, his first response was “of course we do”. Our program is so successful that we market to potential employees that we are one of the “best places to work!” We probed a little and found that they did have a mentoring program on paper, but it had faltered over the years as there was no champion despite their valid attempts at marketing the idea they had a fully functional one.
Employees when asked seemed to be disappointed as they wanted to be mentored - not managed. Some indicated that had they known there was no functional mentoring program, they likely would not have taken the position. Sure the money is good – but money isn’t everything and we want a work place with the right kind of leaders and a culture to support that leadership style.
Implementing a mentoring program that has: a) corporate support, b) structure, c) training and, d) the culture to support, it is a recipe for success! Implementing a mentoring culture creates a continuous learning and development environment. The culture and the mentoring program will be a living, breathing factor in your work place. It will be part of your continuous improvement process and will be subject to modifications when required. The feedback that you get on an annual basis from the participants of the program will validate the success.
The business values for mentoring are numerous and you will see improvements in each of those areas with the right approach to mentoring. Where is your organization with its mentoring program or mentoring culture? Is there a continuous improvement process built into your program/culture where it is evaluated in order to determine continued success and whether or not it meets the needs of the participants? Are you satisfied with simply stating that, “yes, we have a mentor program and it is working as far as I know!”? Mentoring done effectively truly embraces the “power of mentoring!! Can you afford not to?”