Mentoring from the Greek word meaning “enduring”-is defined as a sustained relationship between a youth and an adult.
“Through continued involvement the adult (usually older & always more experienced) offers support, guidance and assis-tance as the younger person goes through a difficult period, faces new challenges, or works to correct earlier problems.”
Mentoring is thus a development-oriented initiative.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines mentor as “a trusted counselor or guide”.
For their Mentor/Protégé Program, many corporate houses define mentor as “a wise, loyal advisor or a coach”.
In a broad sense, a mentor is someone who takes special interest in helping another develop into a successful individual.
Types of Mentoring:
The two types of Mentoring are:
Natural mentoring Natural Mentoring occurs through friendship, collegiality, teaching, coaching and counseling.
Planned mentoring In contrast planned mentoring occurs through structured programs in which mentors and participants are selected and matched through formal and informal processes such as interviews, personal profiles, comparative interest inventories and get-acquainted sessions.
In cases where mentors and mentees choose each other, planned mentoring takes many forms of natural mentoring.
The Mentoring Process: “The How to Mentoring”
Organizational Mentoring has been widely assumed as:” Mentee being guided and learning from a much experienced and senior Mentor under the establishment of a written organiza-tion-wide scheme that is centrally monitored and embedded through training.” Thus most prescriptions on Mentoring implicitly advocate a hierarchical model of Mentoring. Research indicates that these emphases are misplaced and in need of review.
There is one powerful alternative model—Peer Mentoring and there are grounds for switching our attention to Informal, local mentoring, that is backed by thorough monitoring and evaluation. The approaches and styles of Mentoring totally depend on the organizational culture and Leadership.
What Do Mentors Do?
Most successful mentoring relationships go through four phases:
Establishing Rapport (Initiation)
Direction Setting (Getting Established)
Progress Making (Development)
Moving On (Finalizing /Maintenance)
Each of these phases has there own tasks, dynamics and skill requirements.
Mentoring works best when it is learner driven, so what follows is not prescriptive, and it is expected that some relationships will take quite different paths driven by different urgencies.
Tasks: During this time the mentor and the learner will:
Whether they can get on and respect each other
Exchange views on what the relationship is and is not
Agree a formal contract
Agree a way of working together
Set up a way of calling meetings, frequency, duration, location
Set up other contacts
Dynamics: This phase can be characterized by:
Impatience to get going
Tentativeness and unwillingness to commit
Testing out and challenging
Skill Requirements: In this phase the mentor may need to:
Be open to hints and unarticulated wishes or concerns
Be clear about what needs establishing and open about what can be left out
Establish a formal contract
Agree a way of working together
Set up details of future meetings
Tasks: The mentor and learner will
Learn about the learner’s style of learning
Think through the implications of their style for how they will work together
‘Determine learner’s goals and initial needs
Set objective measures
Identify priority areas for work
Keep open space
Clarify focus of their work
Dynamics: Characteristic issues may include:
Over inclination to shut down on possibilities
Unwillingness to set goals
Reluctance to open up possibilities for diagnosis
Skill Requirements: In addition to those mentioned earlier there will be:
Using and interpreting diagnostic frameworks and tools
Encouraging thinking through-of implications and diagnosis
Setting up opportunities for diagnosis to be informed by third parties
Adopt developmental approach to goal setting for the learner
Help the selection of the initial area for work
Give feedback/set objectives/plan
Have clarity about the next step
Tasks: Now the mentor and learner will:
Create a forum for progressing the learner’s issues
Use each other’s expertise as agreed
Establish a means for reviewing progress and adapt the process in the light of this review
Identify new issues and ways of working that are required
Be ready for the evolution of the relationship
Dynamics: This phase will typically include:
Period of sustained productive activity
Dealing with a change in the relationship or the learner’s circumstances
Reviewing and adapting the relationship, preparing for moving on
Skill Requirements: This phase also requires:
Monitoring progress of learner
Relationship review and renegotiations
Recognizing achievements/objectives attained
Timing and managing the evolution of a relationship
Tasks: Now the mentor and the learner will:
Allow the relationship to end or evolve
Move to maintenance
Review what can be taken and used in other contexts
Dynamics: This phase may include:
Dealing with rupture and loss
Major renegotiations and continuation
Evaluation and generalization
Skill Requirements: In this phase there may be a need to:
Address own and other’s feelings of loss
Develop next phase and/or
Orchestrate a good ending
Think through and generalize learning
Measures for Monitoring the Success of Measuring Mentoring Initiative
Mentoring operates in the realm of the intangible, and does not readily lend itself to parameters which are either instantly measurable or directly impact the business.
Such measures are available in the People Capability Maturity Model (PCCM), and can be suitably modified.
To determine the status of mentoring activities, measure the:
Number of mentoring relationships established in the company
Rate at which senior employees apply to become mentors
Efficiency with which these new mentoring relationships are established.
Frequency with which mentors & mentees interact.
Number of problems identified and improvements made in mentoring relationships.
To determine the value of mentoring activities, measure the:
Growth of core competencies in individuals or groups being mentored
Ability of individuals or groups to use the resources of the organization.
Performance of individuals or groups
Career development of individuals
Alignment of individual-group, and team motivation along with the objectives of the organization.
recommendation for advanced degree
programs or employment
The “glass ceiling” in research
Collegiality in Research
Working as a member of a research team
Sharing equipment and facilities
Maintenance and care
Sharing research data