Mentoring 2

Mosaic Web Resources Index

What makes an effective mentoring program: The most effective mentoring program requires frequent contact between the mentor and the protégé, so that communication lines remain open. Mentoring is an interactive relationship where both parties can contribute to each other's growth as a person. It is far different from counseling and neither is it being buddies, because mentoring is a tool that is used for personal and professional development.

The role of a mentor is to aid the protégé in reaching his or her goals. While the mentor can certainly learn a lot from teaching and leading others, the relationship between the mentor and the protégé should be protégé-centered. So the mentor should listen, guide and even challenge the protégé to do his or her best in their role. Within this representation, a mentor serves as a leader, a teacher that encourages thinking abilities, an advocate of realistic principles, an overseer and an analyst. A protégé, on the other hand, is a student who is willing to be taught and is ready to embark on a journey toward an absolute learning experience.

Why mentoring is important: Mentoring programs establish the self-confidence and the self-assurance of minority professionals who use it as a tool for personal and professional development. Protégés have reported enhanced growth, an improvement in skill building and an increase in networking opportunities. The organization benefits by realizing a high ROI of staff time and a boost in retention.

Larry Ambrose, managing partner of Perrone-Ambrose Associates, Inc., and the author of A Mentor's Companion writes:

In a diversity-driven mentoring program, protégés will prepare for their own career success and learn about the process, responsibilities and qualifications necessary to be an effective leader. At the same time, leadership will learn the value of a culturally diverse environment, experience cultural and gender differences and gain perspective in the value of including those factors in their daily decision-making process. The overall benefit will be a broader appreciation of diversity principles with a greater emphasis on integrating those values and beliefs in the daily operations of the organization.

Mentoring is actually a two-way relationship, and both the mentor and the protégé will learn something from the mentoring program. At the start of any mentoring program, both the mentor and the protégé are encouraged to clarify their goals and expectations from the program. They need to create a well-designed plan and follow a specific course of action. There are a lot of cases where the mentoring program far exceeded the expectations of the protégé because the program provided:

  • An insider's realistic perspective on career goals and progress
  • Clearer understanding of career plans
  • Exposure to varied experiences and perspectives
  • Access to powerful sources of information
  • Access to resources within the industry
  • Greater knowledge of self and goals
  • A wider network of contacts
  • Identification of any lacking skill that is required for career advancement
  • Establishment of a foundation for a lasting professional career
  • Access to a support system during the critical stages of career growth

How long should a mentoring program last? The amount of time for a formal program could be set according to these parameters listed by Business Review: time to achieve the program objective, enough time for mentoring to occur and time for the lessons to sink in. In a formal program, a contract can be developed between participants outlining when meetings will occur and topics to be discussed. Such a contract helps to keep both the mentor and protégé accountable and complete the relationship within a set time frame.

1 2 3 4 5 6–7
Mosaic Web Resources Home