Mentoring and Human Resource Development

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Mentoring and Human Resource Development: Where We Are and Where We Need to Go Sarah A. Hezlett University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Sharon K. Gibson University of St. Thomas. The problem and the solution. Although mentoring theory, research, and practice have begun to mature, relatively few articles on mentoring have appeared in the human resource development (HRD) literature. The purpose of this article is to examine past theory, research, and practice on mentoring through the lens of HRD, in order to identify gaps in what is known about mentoring that are relevant to HRD professionals. After reviewing core aspects of mentoring central to all domains of HRD, the authors summarize key issues that have been studied regarding mentoring and career development, organization development, and training and development, proposing new directions for future research. The authors conclude with a research agenda that identifies where researchers need to go with mentoring research and HRD to better inform the practice of mentoring in organizations. Key Words: mentoring • human resource development • literature review • career • training • organization development






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Attributes of Effective Mentoring Relationships: Partner's Perspective Matt M. Starcevich, Ph.D. and Fred L. Friend

(Authors note: the terms protege or mentee are inappropriate for the type of relationship needed so we have substituted partner in the original report) Executive Summary Current writers seem to suggest a shift away from a one-way teacher-to-protégé instruction to a power free, two-way, mutually beneficial relationship. Are these two extreme, either or positions correct, or can it be both? Who better to ask than the partner? During the fourth quarter of 1998, 130 visitors to our home page completed our Effective Mentoring Survey. All we asked, as participants in the survey, was that they be partners not mentors and that they keep their most effective mentoring relationship in mind as they responded to the questionnaire. 1. Who the mentor was, peer, direct supervisor, friend, or manager other than their direct supervisor did not change what was seen as critical attributes of an effective mentoring relationship. The respondents were satisfied with the mentoring relationship. On a 5 point scale, the average response was, 4.2. The role of mentor, coach, and supervisor is different. The mentor is person-focused; the coach, job-focused; and the supervisor, results/productivity-focused. The top four words chosen to depict the mentor’s dominate styles were: direct, friend/confidant, logical, and questioner. Partners felt the primary benefits for the mentor was satisfaction from fulfilling a role as helper and developer of others and a learning experience for the mentor. The partner wanted a mentoring relationship for two primary reasons: career development and development of their potential. The three primary things provided by the mentor were they: listened and understood, challenged, and coached the partner. Partner's are very proactive in establishing and maintaining the mentoring relationship. Two "musts" to be a good partner were: listen, and second, implement, act on advice, put things into effect. Most of the contact between partner and mentor occurred at least once a week and in face-toface meetings. These results support the conclusion that mentoring is a power free, two-way, mutually beneficial learning situations where the mentor provides advice, shares knowledge and experiences, and teaches using a low pressure, self-discovery approach Detailed Report of Results Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, 2nd Deluxe Editions, defines mentor as "n. [from Mentor, the friend and counselor of Odysseus and Telemachus.] a wise and faithful counselor." In the thesaurus, synonyms like advisor, instructor, tutor, master, and guru appear. Current writers seem to suggest a shift away from this one-way teacher-to-protégé instruction to a power free, two-way, mutually beneficial relationship. Are these two extreme, either or positions correct or, can it be both? Does this represent the values of those charged with implementing mentoring programs and training mentors? Who better to ask than the partner? During the fourth quarter of 1998, visitors to our home page were asked to participate in an Effective Mentoring Survey. The limits of this self-selection process are known. All we asked, as participants in the survey, was that they be partners not mentors and, that they keep their most effective mentoring relationship in mind as they responded to the questionnaire. This article is based on the 130 respondents. Based on their E-mail top level domain name extensions, 73% resided in the United States; 18% were in International locations; 5%, 2% and 2% were from educational, government, and military organizations respectively. Does it matter who their mentors were? This reminds us of our recent trip to Germany when after looking at the menu, our first question to the waitperson was, "English?" and the response, "A little". As indicated in Chart 1, in excess of half the respondents felt their most effective mentor was their direct supervisor.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Mentoring is occurring both on a formal, organized basis and on an informal need basis. Who the mentor was, affected only the magnitude of the differences in determining most and least important attributes of an effective mentoring relationship, not the rank of the responses. The results will be presented based on the entire group. Bottom line, how satisfied were this group of respondents with this particular mentoring relationship? Very, on a 5 point scale, the average response was, 4.2. This article attempts to understand what contributing factors lead to such a high level of satisfaction. Is there a difference between a mentor, coach, and supervisor? This was an open-ended question, resulting in a resounding YES! Only 9 respondents saw no difference between the three roles, 5 felt the coach and mentor played similar roles different from that of the supervisor and 3 felt the coach and supervisor, played similar roles different from that of the mentor. In summary, the mentor is person-focused; the coach, job-focused; and the supervisor, results/productivityfocused. "A mentor is like a sounding board, they can give advice but the partner is free to pick and choose what they do. The context does not have specific performance objectives. A coach is trying to direct a person to some end result, the person may choose how to get there, but the coach is strategically assessing and monitoring the progress and giving advice for effectiveness and efficiency. The supervisor’s ultimate responsibility is to make sure the job gets done, they hold the person accountable for the deliverables of the job." "Mentor is biased in your favor. Coach is an impartial focus on improvement in behavior. Supervisor is the evaluator." "A mentor is a guide, there when you want them. A coach helps you better get from point A to B. A supervisor manages." The major theme for the mentor was one who had a deep personal interest, personally involved—a friend who cares about you and your long term development. The major theme for the coach was one who develops specific skills for the task, challenges, and performance expectation at work. The supervisor was almost unanimously seen as focusing on performance management, getting the job done as teller, director, and judge. What was disturbing was the consistent negative view of the supervisor’s role, a view that will not be altered by just a cosmetic change in title to "coach". It appears that a supervisor who wants to enter into a mentoring relationship with a direct report must wear different hats during those mentoring, coaching, and supervisory discussions. Can it be done? Evidently, since more than half the respondents said their immediate supervisor was their most effective mentor. This view of the mentor was further reinforced when respondents were asked to pick from a list of 14 descriptive words that best described your mentor’s dominant style. The top four are shown in Chart 2.

The four least chosen were Hard nosed, Spontaneous, Critical, and Gentle. Inclusion of the words "direct" and "logical" could lead to the conclusions that mentoring is not solely a passive Socratic process. From the partner’s perspective, the mentor achieved the type of satisfaction that reinforces this helping, engaging, personal focus. When asked the open ended question, "What benefits(s) did your mentor get out of this relationship?" Only 3 said none and 9 didn’t know. Fifty nine percent of the responses fell into two themes: Affirmation of the value of and satisfaction from fulfilling a role as helper and developer of others; A learning experience for the mentor from my feedback and insight. The later gives weight to the view of a two-way, power free relationship. Effective mentoring appears to be a learning and development process for both parties. This leads to this advice for current and potential mentors; explore and learn, don’t assume that you must be an allknowing expert in this area, such a position could be detrimental to the mentoring process; mentoring is a fulfilling assignment—let both yourself and the partner learn from the process. "In retrospect, he clearly saw his role at work and in life as a developer of young people and this allowed him to do so." "The ability to look at situations from a different perspective, I am a Generation X and he is in his 60’s." What do partners want from mentors? When asked "Why did you want a mentor?". Chart 3 shows the two run away favorites.

When asked to select those things this mentor did for them, the top group is shown in Table 1. Table 1: What did the mentor do for you? Category % of times chosen Listened/understood me 72% Challenged me 72% Coached me 72% Built self confidence 66% Wise counsel 65% Taught by example 65%

Role model Offered encouragement

65% 62%

This strong theme of helper, development, and growth is reinforced in the response to the open ended question: "What is the one most significant thing your mentor did?" The following four themes, capture 62% of the responses: ° ° ° ° Built my confidence and trust in myself, empowered me to see what I could do. Stimulated learning with a soft, no pressure, self discover approach. Shared experiences, taught me something, or explained things. Listened and understood.

Some of the comments included: "They let me struggle so I could learn." "Affirmed my abilities and my actions." "Led me through a series of discussion to help me better understand my thoughts and find the right answers for me." "He understands me." "Taught me to identify my strengths and weaknesses, and to recognize when I was letting my weaknesses get the best of me." "Generated responsibility in me." "Explained things thoroughly." "Never provided solutions—always asking questions to surface my own thinking and let me find my own solutions." In response to the open ended questions "What one thing should your mentor do more of?"; although 19% indicated that they were satisfied by writing, "nothing", the top three choices are shown in Chart 4

Conversely, the response to the open ended question: " What one thing should your mentor do less of?"; 65% indicated that they were satisfied by writing, "nothing". Only one significant theme, "imposing ideas, giving advice too early, giving me answers, and not letting me figure things out for myself" emerged, representing 17% of the responses. Consistent with the previous results and indicative of how the mentor-partner relationship is changing, in Chart 5 the percentage of time these words were chosen as the "best descriptive word for your most effect mentor." Teacher and partner win, hands down.

Hmm… In the thesaurus synonyms like advisor, instructor, tutor, master, and guru appear? Development via a two-way, power free relationship seems to be desired. Effective mentors provide feedback, their time and support in an effort to help the partner gain insight and find solutions. They sometimes share knowledge and give advice but know how to time it so they don’t preempt the learning process for the partner. What role do partner play in the relationship? These partners are a very proactive, taking responsibility for their own development and growth group of people. Selecting a mentor was a very purposeful action. This is supported by the responses to the open ended question: "How did you find or select this person as your mentor?". The theme, "they worked together as a peer or manager" accounted for 40% of the responses while, "through my search, they had traits I admired, and I asked them to be my mentor" accounted for 33% of the responses. To borrow a phrase, be careful, "smile, you’re on candid camera", seems appropriate. How others see and evaluate your skills and behaviors are driving their decisions to approach you to be their mentor. Take this request seriously, the data suggests that the partner has done the detective work to ferret you out as someone who could be helpful to their development and growth. Finally, 17% of the responses fell into the theme, "they were assigned or they asked me to be their partner". Finding a mentor is just the start, keeping the relationship alive is equally important. Again, the partner felt a strong responsibility for actions that would keep the relationship going as indicated by the responses to the open ended questions "What is the most significant thing you did to maintain the relationship?". Four themes included the majority of the responses, see Table 2: Table 2: The most significant thing partners did to maintain the relationship Category % of responses Kept in touch, and informed about the 41% mentor Listened, responded, and took action 18% Supported and understood the mentor 12% Confronted and questioned the mentor 11% Clearly, the partner is not a passive vessel, waiting for the mentor’s call and time. Additional support to this active partners role is given by the responses to the open-ended question: "What two guidelines would you way are "musts" to be a good partner?". Two thirds of the responses group into five themes, see Table 3: Table 3: Two guidelines that are "musts" to be a good partner Category % of responses Listen 21% Implement, act on advice, put things into effect 13% A willingness, desire, and commitment to learn and grow 13% Check your ego at the door—ask for and be open to 11%

feedback and criticism Be open-minded, willing to change and coachable


Sounds like a pretty serious group! Mentoring is more effective when the partner takes a proactive role in maintaining contact with the mentor. In fact, it may be an essential element. partner's should be made aware of the importance of taking the lead in maintaining the relationship and responding to the mentors efforts to help the process be successful. As final affirmation of the proactive partner role, when asked the open-ended question: "What will (did) cause this relationship to cease?"; "it will continue" accounted for 30% of the responses; 52% attributed it to "inaccessibility due to relocation or unavailability"; 14% to "other priorities, lack of contact, no value added, or we out grew each other"; while only 9% attributed a "lack of trust, competition, deception, harsh reactions, or taking credit for the accomplishments of the partner". Sounds like a pretty committed group. What was the nature of the mentor-partner interactions? High tech has not yet arrived, high touch still is in. For the question: "How often were you in contact with your mentor?", 69% said "at least once a week" and 20% "at least once a month". For the question: "What was your primary form of contact with your mentor?", 80% said "face-to-face", and 16% "phone". Effective mentoring is a significant personal commitment in time and energy for both mentor and partner. Is the mentor-partner relationship changing? These results support the conclusion that mentoring is a power free, two-way, mutually beneficial, learning situation where the mentor provides advice, shares knowledge and experiences, and teaches using a low pressure, self-discovery approach. Teaching using an adult learning versus teacher to student model and, being willing to not just question for self discovery but also freely share their own experiences and skills with the partner. The mentor is both a source of information/knowledge and a Socratic questioner. It is not an either or proposition, instructor/advisor or friend and facilitator. This data suggests that the partners actively seek out and maintain relationships with mentors who have the background and skills to do both in a way that maintains the partners freedom of choice and decision. About the Authors Matt M. Starcevich, Ph.D. CEO, Center for Coaching & Mentoring and Fred L. Friend each have over twenty years experience in training and organziation development, as internal change agents and external consultants. For comments or additional information email Matt from the selection below.

Mentoring Programs The concept of mentoring is becoming increasingly popular in both the school and the workplace as a means for improving educational and work outcomes. At the moment, there exists a noticeable mentoring movement in which "mentoring" is well on the way to becoming a buzzword--and losing a specific

definition which makes it possible to describe and evaluate this approach to education (Freedman & Jaffe, 1992). Mentoring has been defined, most generally, as a relationship between a young person and an adult in which the adult offers support and guidance as the youth goes through a difficult period, enters a new area of experience, takes on important tasks, or attempts to correct an earlier problem. Mentoring is thought to be useful in particular for providing positive adult contacts for youth who are isolated from adults in their schools, homes, communities, and workplaces (Flaxman, Ascher, & Harrington, 1988). The new importance of mentoring in youth programs is partly a function of the conditions in which young people increasingly live in America--in urban America, in particular. Widespread family breakdown, erosion of neighborhood ties, and time demands of parent work have created a situation in which few young people have even one significant close relationship with a non-parental adult before actually reaching adulthood (Steinberg, 1991). For inner-city youth, the problem of having positive adult role models is compounded by the relatively higher rates of single-parent homes, the existence of fewer working adults, the strength of youth gangs, and more prevalent substance abuse (Wilson, 1987). Mentorship programs for youth have been designed to help fill this need for positive adult role models, support, and guidance. The issue to be addressed in the following review of research, therefore, is the extent to which mentorship has been able to fill these needs. Mentoring programs aimed at facilitating the school-to-work transition and related issues such as dropout prevention and the transition from school to college have been implemented by four kinds of organizations (Crockett & Smink, 1991): schools, community organizations, business-education partnerships, and highereducation institutions. The following are examples of some of these programs. The school-based Norwalk Mentor Program began in 1986 and concentrates its efforts on potential high school dropouts (Weinberger, 1992). The signs used to indicate a high probability of dropping out of school and therefore used as criteria for admission to the program, include single-parent family status, poor school attendance, poor attitude in class, and a family history of substance abuse. The program consists of a number of steps, all of which are undertaken by program staff: (1) Mentors are recruited from the community and screened then (2) undergo an orientation and training program. As part of this phase, selected mentors sign an agreement regarding their responsibilities in the program. (3) Mentors are matched with participating students. (4) Mentors and students meet in weekly sessions on campus. Initially, program staff emphasize informing mentors about activities that are likely to cultivate effective relationships (i.e., "ice-breakers"). (5) The program is evaluated through surveys of mentors and students. (6) All participants mark the year's end with "celebrations and renewal" activities. Program staff, however, do all that they can to ensure that mentor-student relationships do not end at the close of the school year but instead continue in the summer months and into the following year. Community-based mentoring programs have been in existence for some time in this country. The Big Brothers/Big Sisters programs, for example, which involve mentor-like relationships, have been in existence for ninety years. An example of a program which aims more specifically to smooth the transition from school to work is the Greenville Urban League's Partnership Program Mentorship Component. This program offers minority students in grades ten through twelve the mentorship of an African American professional in the Greenville community. Students are encouraged to meet with mentors in the workplace, both to observe the world of work and to discuss issues. Another example is the Oregon Community Mentorship Program, a statewide effort resulting from Oregon's recent Student Retention Initiative. The goal of the program is to keep students in school and to provide orientation to the world of work. The first step in getting the program operating is to establish local committees of education and business groups, who then proceed to outline a program, select students, recruit mentors, and coordinate the program. Thus, although the mentoring is essentially a statewide effort, each mentor program is geared to the needs of participating communities. Project Step-Up is an example of a mentoring program initiated through a business-education partnership. The program was begun in 1985 at Aetna Life and Casualty to assist disadvantaged teens in the greater Hartford area make the transition successfully from school to work. Participating students start the program at age 15, having been referred to the program by school personnel. Aetna interviews the students and accepts a percentage of this group. Students begin the program by attending fifteen two-hour classes after school over a five-month period on the Aetna site. Classes cover a range of subjects, including business ethics, business writing, basic math, and computer literacy. Students who complete these courses are

guaranteed jobs with Aetna. Once on the job, students are assigned Aetna employees as mentors, who are expected to offer personal counseling, help with homework, and act as role models. Upon graduating from high school, most participating students join Aetna and make the transition to permanent, full-time employment. Other students enroll in a postsecondary institution and are guaranteed summer employment by Aetna. College- and university-based efforts to assist disadvantaged youth have become more common recently. A 1989 study found over 1,700 mentoring or tutoring programs sponsored by higher education institutions for primary and secondary students across the country (Reisner, 1989). Mentoring is the focus of 17% of these programs; and of these mentoring programs, 27% concentrate on secondary school students (Cahalan & Farris, 1990). There are, therefore, roughly 80 higher education-based mentoring programs for high school students across the country. Career Beginnings is an example of this kind of mentoring program. Organized by the Center for Human Resources at Brandeis University, Career Beginnings is a national program for high school juniors from low-income families who have average attendance and academic records. The program is therefore designed to serve students who have the potential to succeed in school and the workforce but are not doing so. The program operates 25 projects in 22 cities nationally. In all Career Beginnings-sponsored programs, at least half of the participating students must be economically disadvantaged, 80% must be of the first generation in their families to attend college, and 45% must be male. The program itself offers to students the mentorship of an adult and a quality summer job experience, job skills and college application training, and continuing guidance through their senior year and transition from school to college or work. The programs described in the preceding paragraphs are all explicitly mentoring programs. It is important to note, however, that many mentoring programs exist as components of larger school-to-work efforts. Mentorships are a component of the career academy model in California (Stern, Raby, & Dayton, 1992). Co-op programs such as Oregon's Partnership Project in the retail and manufacturing industries and the National Alliance of Business and Bank of America's Quality Connection banking program also use mentorship as a key program ingredient. In addition, youth apprenticeship programs such as the Youth Apprenticeship Demonstration Project in Broome County, New York, and Boston's Project ProTech generally reflect the view that mentorship is an important feature of an effective school-to-work program. Although the four types of mentoring programs illustrated above have important differences, stemming primarily from the perspective of the organization that operates the program, each type has in common the fundamental relationship of mentoring and a concern about the transition from school to work. Through mentoring, students are exposed to career education (or at least to postsecondary options), which is thought to help students understand the expectations of employers about the attitudes, preparedness, and skills required for work as well as to give students the chance to see the application of school activities to subsequent life. In addition, many mentoring programs offer youth assistance in obtaining summer and postgraduate jobs (U.S. Department of Education, 1990). At the most basic level, mentoring programs offer to youth the support of an adult, without which the educational and vocational futures of an increasing percentage of youth are in doubt. The popularity of mentorship in youth-serving programs belies the newness of the use of mentorship in a systematic way in these programs. Not surprisingly, therefore, there is little research evidence to support the intuition and anecdotal evidence of the success of mentoring for youth (Greim, 1992). The evidence that exists is mixed. The Adopt-a-Student program, for example, has been evaluated by several analysts. Stanwyck and Anson (1989) find that students who were assigned mentors were more likely than the comparison group to enroll in a postsecondary institution. Freedman (1991), however, asserts that participants are no more likely to graduate from high school or to be employed subsequently than students without mentors. Similarly, in the case of Career Beginnings, Moloney and Mckaughan (1990) argue that the majority of adults and youths in the program felt good about the mentoring experience and could identify important benefits. Cave and Quint (1990), however, find that participating youth went on to college at only slightly higher rates than the control group. Additional research indicates that youth and mentors form successful relationships in fewer than half of the matches made in the Campus Partners in Learning mentoring program (Tierney & Branch, 1992). Yet, an evaluation of the Norwalk Mentor Program indicates that almost all mentors (96%) report excellent or good relationships with their students, and 85% feel that the relationship has made a positive impact on the

student's life. This evaluation contained less subjective evidence as well: 87% of participating students show improved attendance, and 96% show greater cooperation in class (Weinberger, 1992). Despite the current lack of conclusive knowledge about whether and how mentor programs work, several analysts have begun to produce "best practice" recommendations for future efforts (see Freedman, 1991; Greim, 1992; Hamilton & Hamilton, 1990; Styles & Morrow). Hamilton and Hamilton (1990), for example, have concluded that • • • • • Mentors should be recruited through organizations and not on a one-at-a-time basis. Mentoring programs should concentrate on youth who need this kind of support and guidance. Mentors need clear goals in order to be effective. Mentors need continuing support from program staff. Mentoring needs a context such as the workplace or the school site in order to be meaningful to youth.

In summary, mentorship programs designed to assist in the school-to-work transition are becoming more popular. These programs enjoy several advantages over other approaches to this issue, including their relatively low cost, the directness of their intervention in the lives of youth, their simplicity, and their flexibility (Freedman, 1991). In addition, on a theoretical level, the need for mentorship programs, particularly for urban youth, has never been higher. However, on an empirical level, the evidence is mixed. There has not been, as yet, a study that conclusively demonstrates the contribution that mentoring programs are thought to be capable of making. It is worth keeping in mind that mentoring programs create relationships that are but one of many influences on the youth involved (Freedman, 1991). Mentoring, in this sense, is a "modest intervention." Its power to substitute for missing adult figures is limited. Until more extensive research has been conducted, it is important that mentoring programs not be oversold, for such could lead to the diversion of attention from the causes of the problems these programs have been devised to ameliorate in the first place (Flaxman et al., 1988).

Why Do I Need a Mentor? BYU employs thousands of hard-working, highly-qualified staff, administrative, and faculty personnel many of which directly supervise student employees. These supervisors can be a valuable resource to you as you prepare to enter the workforce. Working closely with a mentor will help you get a head start on your career. According to a recent article in U.S. News and World Report, an "on-campus job may afford the opportunity to build up a resume while banking cash." You can easily get hands-on experience right here on campus while going to school. These work experiences will help you develop skills that will transfer to any job after graduation. These mentored jobs are not ordinary on-campus jobs. They have undergone a screening process to ensure that you will be given challenging experiences to help you grow and develop more than you would with a regular job. You and your supervisors will get all the help you want and need to ensure that the quality of your experience will rest solely on your desire and dedication. In addition, you may – depending on your major – qualify for internship credit. Think of it – you get all the benefits of working on campus (competitive pay, lower taxes, close proximity, etc.) with the careerenhancing benefits and college credit of an internship! Find out from your respective department or the internship office to see if you qualify.

Coaching / Mentoring / Consulting / Learning Organizations Find coaching, mentoring, consulting, knowledge management and how to build a learning organization resources. Knowledge Management (1) Consulting (32) Networking (4) Dealing With Bad Bosses ... Group Mentoring Effective relationships and learning are the mainstays of organizational success today. Organizations that find meaningful ways for their employees to connect are more likely to realize greater productivity, enhanced career growth, freely flowing innovation and overall improvement in employee performance. Group mentoring is a value-added tool for connecting employees and advancing learning within the organization. What Do You Mean My Company’s a Stepping Stone? With baby boomers – all 80-plus million of them – starting their exodus from the workforce and into retirement, the labor pool is shrinking. No, Chicken Little, that doesn’t mean the sky is falling. But it does mean that organizations that distinguish themselves as destinations for talented and valued employees will see their stock rise - and not just on Wall Street. Find mentoring to be an employee recruitment and retention strategy.

GROUP MENTORING Effective relationships and learning are the mainstays of organizational success. Organizations that find meaningful ways for their employees to connect are more likely to realize greater productivity, enhanced career growth and overall improvement in employee performance. Group mentoring connects employees and advances learning within your organization. Group Mentoring Is Efficient Group mentoring affords an organization the opportunity to extend its mentoring efforts and reach more people in a time-efficient manner. It solves the dilemma of mentoring many people when there are not enough qualified mentors in an organization to make one-to-one mentoring matches. Group mentoring is a way to honor and share the knowledge and expertise of individuals and to provide other employees with exposure to their specific know how. Group mentoring also avoids the perception of favoritism that can result when there are limited numbers of mentors and many potential mentees. Organizations have found group mentoring to be a welcome alternative to combat mentor fatigue and burnout. Group Mentoring Promotes Diversity Because group mentoring involves more than two individuals, it promotes diversity of thinking, practice and understanding. The diversity of perspectives that emerges from group mentoring interaction is a powerful motivator for employee development. Group mentoring supports individual accountability, establishes a more-connected workplace and provides a welcome alternative for those who learn better in group settings. Group Mentoring Contributes to a Vibrant Culture Group mentoring also contributes to the vibrancy of a mentoring culture, especially when coupled with one-to-one mentoring. It expands the mentoring capacity of the organization and affords the opportunity to move learning to the next level. What Exactly Is Group Mentoring?

Group mentoring involves a group of individuals who engage in a mentoring relationship to achieve specific learning goals. There are many ways to approach group mentoring. Three of the most popular are facilitated group mentoring, peer-group mentoring and team mentoring. • Facilitated group mentoring:

Facilitated group mentoring allows a number of people to participate in a learning group and to benefit simultaneously from the experience and expertise of a mentor or mentors. The richness of the experience multiplies as each group participant brings personal experiences into the conversation. The facilitator asks questions to keep the dialogue thought provoking and meaningful, shares their own personal experiences, provides feedback and serves as a sounding board. Example: Once a month seven physicians meet to talk about issues pertinent to their small subspecialty area of practice. For each session, they choose an outside facilitator (usually a medical academician) based on the topic they are exploring. • Peer-group mentoring:

Peer-group mentoring brings together peers with similar learning interests or needs. The group is selfdirected and self-managed. It takes responsibility for crafting its own learning agenda and for managing the learning process so that each member's learning needs are met and everyone derives maximum benefit from each other's knowledge, expertise and experience. Example: Each participant presents a problem or issue. The other members of the group respond to the problem or issue presented. As a result, the collective wisdom of the group is harnessed to solve problems and improve practices, and value is created for all group members. • Team mentoring:

Team mentoring offers a methodology for facilitating the learning of an intact team. Together the individuals making up the team articulate mutual learning goals and work simultaneously with one or more mentors who guide them through a deliberate and deliberative process to facilitate their learning. The mentoring process allows the team to be supported and to learn from each other’s experience and knowledge. Example: In a law firm, two mentors with different legal specialties work with an internal group of associates with the goal of helping them better understand what they do and how they do it. There are many variations on these themes and innovative group mentoring practices are emerging all the time. Strategies for Success in Group Mentoring: What You Can Do To be successful, group mentoring requires creating organizational readiness, providing multiple opportunities and ensuring ongoing support. Readiness for Group Mentoring Readiness starts with clear articulation of the goals and purposes for the group mentoring concept. An organization must develop a standard of expectation and practice for mentoring groups. It must clarify roles, and the responsibilities of the individual participants and the group must be mutually understood. 1. Align your group mentoring process so that it fits your organization’s culture. 2. Establish ownership for mentoring groups in the organization.

3. Get the right infrastructure in place to support the group mentoring process. 4. Provide adequate budget and time. 5. Articulate roles and responsibilities in group mentoring. Opportunities for Group Mentoring Create multiple group mentoring opportunities to meet a variety of learning needs in your organization. Experiment and be creative. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Choose the model that will afford your organization the greatest success and build from there. Train your mentoring group leaders. Share new strategies, ideas, and best practices across mentoring groups. Provide opportunities to integrate new learning. Monitor the progress of the mentoring groups.

Support Group Mentoring Organizational mentoring requires multiple supports, some visible to the eye, others not. Think proactively about the structures and practices you need to put in place to support group and individual mentoring. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Support the time taken to mentor. Check in and check out how things are going. Assign responsibility for mentoring and group mentoring management. Continuously evaluate your efforts and expect to make changes along the way. Build in safety nets to ensure success.

Clearly group mentoring is an organizational practice whose time has come. Isn’t it time you considered how group mentoring can benefit your organization? More About Creating a Mentoring Culture Coaching and Mentoring ResourcesBuild a Mentoring CultureMentoring and Baby Boomers: Mentoring Is a Strategic Business Imperative More About Creating a Mentoring Culture Coaching for Improved Performance The Strategic HR Coach Want a Superior Workforce? New posts to the Human Resources forums: • • • Related Articles • • • • • Creating a Mentoring Culture: Eight Hallmarks of a Mentoring Culture Creating a Mentoring Culture: Eight Hallmarks of a Mentoring Culture Develop a Mentoring Culture Profiles of Arizona Homeschool Support Groups and Organizations Homeschooling - Profiles termination information Recalls required? Bureau of National Affairs


The people in your organizations train for years and go into debt for college. People work late nights and weekends. People spend the entire day taking phone calls when they’re supposed to be on vacation. And people generate ideas and create the solutions that your organizations need. People do these things. The people you have working for you today and the people you may hire tomorrow. And, the people who may resign because no one has recognized their abilities. Yet, clearly, organizations do not do a good enough job developing and promoting their most important resource – their people. What does it take to develop your people? It takes more than writing “equal opportunity” into your organization’s mission statement. It takes more than sending someone to a training class. It takes more than hard work on the part of your employees. What development takes is people – from the CEO’s office to the mailroom – people who are willing to listen and to help their colleagues. Development takes coaches; it takes guide; it takes advocates. Development depends on mentors. Time after time, successful people I talk to say that one of the most important keys to their success is having a mentor. It is hard to make it without a mentor and it takes too much time without a mentor. But often there is no mentor around when you need one and especially when you face “particular challenges.” What do I mean when I talk about the “particular challenges" that people in organizations face? Challenges That Need Mentoring Let me give you a few examples of some challenges we working people all deal with. Imagine that you are facing these situations. How would you react? First scenario. You’ve been working in a staff job and a line job opens up in another city. It would be a perfect career move for you but the company fills the job without even asking if you’re interested. They don’t ask because they assume your spouse wouldn’t want to leave his or her job to relocate. What would you do? Or imagine this. You’re in a meeting. It’s your opportunity to shine in front of upper management. You’ve got an important point to make and you start to talk. Someone cuts you off. What would you do? Or let’s say you make that important point—and no one says a word about it. But five minutes later, a guy at the other end of the table says the same thing you did. This time it’s a brilliant idea, and he gets all the credit. What would you do? You’re in another meeting — there’s always another meeting - and one of your bosses tells a demeaning joke about the Pope - you are Catholic, and everyone knows it. What would you do? Or a joke about gays — which you are, and maybe no one knows it. Or a joke about women — which you’re not, but some of your colleagues sitting right next to you are. What would you do? My point is not so much whether you or I know how to react in each of these situations. My point is really that we need to recognize that there are people in every organization — whether they’re men or women, minorities, or people who grew up without any business role-models in their lives — who don’t know how to react in these situations.

And it’s our responsibility to teach them. Organizations are only as successful as the men and women who make them work. So, if we care about our organizations and our people, we have to share our knowledge of the organizational culture; we have to share our wisdom; we have to mentor. Mentoring Best Practices If you want to establish a mentoring culture within your organization, here are some mentoring best practices. • Set organizational goals. Don’t establish a mentoring program just because it is a good business practice. Develop a mentoring program based on solid business goals such as increasing diversity or making your organization a better place to work. • Find out why the talented employees you wanted to keep left you.

• McKinsey and Co. asked top people what they look for when deciding which company to join and stay with. The answer: a great company and a great job. Talented employees want exciting challenges and great development opportunities. They leave because they are bored. Mentoring is a key to attracting and retaining talented employees. • Develop people to their fullest potential. In order to develop your people, provide training opportunities, challenging projects and assignments, feedback, coaching and mentoring. In one study with people who had experienced real mentors, half of them said the mentoring experience “changed my life.” Those are powerful words. • Foster mentoring for women and minorities. Ten years ago, when I began a new job, I sat with female colleagues during company presentations, and wondered, “Why are the guys up there and we’re not?” One of my first job assignments was to develop and manage a mentoring program. We included a special group mentoring program for women. Today, many of the young women I knew ten years ago at that company, have, in fact, climbed onto the stage themselves. Mentoring helped move women into the ranks of vice president, senior vice president and division president. • Point to the money. Losing talented employees and wasting talent costs companies money.

And remember, whatever programs you design; they won’t be effective unless there is commitment from the top. Visible, daily commitment.

More than ever before, organizations, large and small, are looking outside traditional mentoring paradigms to raise the bar on the practice of mentoring by creating a mentoring culture. A mentoring culture continuously focuses on building the mentoring capacity, competence, and capability of the organization. A mentoring culture encourages the practice of mentoring excellence by continuously:

• • •

creating readiness for mentoring within the organization, facilitating multiple mentoring opportunities, and building in support mechanisms to ensure individual and organizational mentoring success.

In a mentoring culture, eight hallmarks build on and strengthen each other. All are present, at least to some degree, however they manifest themselves differently depending on the organization’s previous success with mentoring. When each hallmark is consistently present, the mentoring culture is fuller and more robust. As more and more of each hallmark is found in an organization, the mentoring culture becomes progressively more sustainable.

The Eight Hallmarks of a Mentoring Culture

Accountability. Accountability enhances performance and produces long-lasting results. It requires shared intention, responsibility and ownership, a commitment to action and consistency of practice. Accountability also involves very specific tasks: --setting goals, --clarifying expectations, --defining roles and responsibilities, --monitoring progress and measuring results, --gathering feedback, and --formulating action goals.

Alignment. Alignment focuses on the consistency of mentoring practices within an institution’s culture. It builds on the assumption that a cultural fit already exists between mentoring and the organization and that mentoring initiatives are also are tied to goals larger than just initiating a program. When mentoring is aligned within the culture, it is part of its DNA. A shared understanding and vocabulary of mentoring practice exists that fits naturally with the organization’s values, practices, mission, and goals.

Communication. Communication is fundamental to achieving mentoring excellence and positive mentoring results. Its effects are far-reaching; it increases trust, strengthens relationships, and helps align organizations. It creates value, visibility and demand for mentoring. It is also the catalyst for developing mentoring readiness, generating learning opportunities, and providing mentoring support within an organization.

Value and Visibility. Sharing personal mentoring stories, role modeling, reward, recognition, and celebration are high leverage activities that create and sustain value and visibility. Leaders who talk about formative mentoring experience, share best practices, and promote and support mentoring by their own example add to the value proposition for mentoring. In the first part of this article you learned about the first four hallmarks of a mentoring culture. Here are four more hallmarks of a mentoring culture.

Demand. Demand for mentoring has a multiplier effect. When it is present, there is a mentoring buzz, increased interest in mentoring, and self-perpetuating participation. Employees seek mentoring as a way to strengthen and develop themselves and look for mentoring opportunities. Mentors become mentees and mentees become mentors. Employees engage in multiple mentoring relationships, often simultaneously. Demand spurs reflective conversation and dialogue about mentoring adding to its value and visibility.

Multiple Mentoring Opportunities. In a mentoring culture, there is no single approach, type or option for mentoring. Although some mentoring activity goes on in nearly every organization, most need to work at creating a culture that concurrently advances and supports multiple types of opportunities. For example, many organizations couple group mentoring with one-on-one mentoring; the learning from one reinforces the other.

Education and Training. Continuing mentoring education and training opportunities are strategically integrated into the organization’s overall training and development agenda. Existing training platforms support mentoring and vice versa. Opportunities for “next step” and renewal education and advanced skill training are available for “veteran” mentors. Networking and support groups meet regularly to exchange best practices and promote peer learning.

Safety Nets. Mentoring cultures establish safety nets to overcome or avoid potential stumbling blocks and roadblocks with minimum repercussion and risk. Safety nets provide just in time support that enables mentoring to move forward coherently. Organizations that proactively anticipate challenges are more likely to establish resilient and responsive mentoring safety nets than those that do not. A mentoring culture is a vivid expression of an organization's vitality. Its presence enables an organization to augment learning, maximize time and effort, and better utilize its resources. The relationship skills learned through mentoring benefit relationships throughout the organization; as these relationships deepen, people feel more connected to the organization. Ultimately, the learning that results creates value for the entire organization.

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