6 Steps to an Effective, Influential Mentoring Program

Oftentimes when managers balk at the notion of developing a mentoring program, mainly because they think it has to be a time-consuming, complicated process.

mentoringIn reality, you can develop a simple, yet highly effective mentoring program that will benefit your organization and your team in a number of ways.  Here are the 6 steps to developing a mentoring program that will help develop your employees into an accountable, responsible team.

1. Time Limit

Mentoring does not need to be an overly time-consuming activity. A meeting once per week, or every other week, for 30 to 60 minutes is all you really need to cover the important elements of you mentoring session. Just make sure you establish that time frame and block it out on your calendar. Your mentoring sessions should never move or be postponed for any reason (short of illness, etc.) Your team needs to know that you are committed to their growth and development, not that they will be cast aside every time a sudden “fire” pops up.

2. Establish Values

Your mentoring sessions are your opportunity to discuss the organization’s values with your key employees, and how their responsibilities fit into those values. This is also a great time to help them clarify their personal values. Establishing the connection between your team’s personal values and the organization’s values is a key element to influencing accountability and responsibility in your team, thereby increasing productivity.

3. Discuss Accountability and Responsibility

You definitely want to discuss accountability and responsibility during your mentoring sessions. Make sure there is an understanding that when they make a mistake, they need to take responsibility for it. Your employees need to understand how their actions affect other people, that their actions don’t just affect them, it affects the rest of the team.

4. Role-Playing Exercises

Incorporating role playing exercises into your mentoring program may sound difficult, but it’s really quite straightforward. Think about key scenarios that the employee may face that provides opportunities for learning. Examples could be team conflict resolution or working with an upset client. Role-playing exercises help create a higher level of responsibility in your organization, not to mention reinforcing the right way to handle tough situations.

5. Develop a Career Plan

Ask your employee: Where do you want to go? Where do you want to be five years from now? What are your career goals? These are important questions for all employees to have answers to, but even more so for the Millennial workforce who are increasingly looking to move up the corporate ladder and be recognized by employers.

6. Share Your Experiences

What has gone right for you as a manager and leader? Where have you fallen down and what would you do differently? Don’t just share the good, but share the bad too. Show people how you have learned from your mistakes, and how they can learn from theirs. That’s part of the mentoring process.

Mentoring engrains key areas of values, personal responsibility, and accountability. So spend time in mentoring your team to solidify organizational values, clarify their own personal values, and coach them on how to handle scenarios and plan their career path. Your commitment to mentorship will result in a more impactful, productive, loyal, and accountable team.

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photo credit: Mustang Mentoring 2011 via photopin (license)

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