5 Effective mentorship programme elements

To create an effective mentorship programme certain essential elements are necessary.

To avoid ineffective mentorship programmes be aware of these key elements, they can be warning signs of failure.

1. Training

A mentoring relationship requires training to be effective. Without any training less than 1 in 3 programmes (30%) deliver significant results for the participants (or the organisation). By training mentors you raise the success rate to above 60% (double the effectiveness). When we train the mentors, protégés and their line managers about the programme the success rate soars to above 90% (all parties reporting significant gains). Initial training sessions are rarely enough to give mentors more than a basic level of competence and confidence, to be really effective they need the support of continued coaching and expert advice on how to do their role. Knowledge management systems that share and develop skills and share experiences and add great value to the programme.

2. Rapport

mentorship programme

Rapport, a sense of common ground, is essential to any mentoring relationship. Both the mentor and the protégé need to spend time up front getting to know each other, and should take time to reinforce this rapport regularly for the duration of their relationship. Sometimes the mentor or protégé simply don’t like each other. This can be overcome by focusing on the protégé’s objectives, but sometimes this is not enough and the relationship should be terminated and a new mentor/protégé found.

3. Mentorship programme’s require clear Purpose

A clear purpose is essential for a successful mentor/protégé relationship. A clear purpose can help energise the relationship, giving both parties focus and a destination. Create a clear sense of purpose and a defined transition the protégé wants to achieve. The clearer the destination and the transitions are, the clearer the discussions are. This clarity also makes it easier to relate day-to-day issues to their larger goal. Agree up front the destination and transitions along the way, even if the main objective is for the protégé to have an occasional sounding board. A lack of clarity can lead to frustration and a reduction in rapport.

4. Balance

The mentor protégé relationship requires balance. Conversations cannot be one sided. It is important to find an appropriate balance between directive and “social” conversations. Additionally a key skill for the mentor is to recognise when to lead and when to allow the protégé to lead the discussions. A common complaint by protégés is that the mentor talks at them, rather than engaging them in dialogue which encourages reflection.

5. Mentorship programme’s require Commitment

Commitment by both parties is essential to success. A lack of commitment can sour a relationship e.g. if the mentor (or protégé) misses scheduled meetings, showing a lack of commitment to the relationship, the other will find it difficult to remain motivated. The purpose of the protégé has to be important enough for both mentor and protégé to devote time and energy to preparing for, being an active participant in and following up on the mentoring meetings.Effective mentorship programme elements Infographic

Effective mentorship programme elements


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Richard Riche

Change Communication and Employee Engagement specialist at One Clear Message Consulting
Richard specialises in helping you build real human communication skills. Employee Engagement / Experience, Emotional Intelligence skills, building high performance teams and a great place you want to work. TED style speaking and presentation skills. Training, consulting and coaching.
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