You’ve recognised the value of mentoring to address a business challenge – whether it is succession planning, retention, supporting diversity, building leadership capability or driving change.

Yet successful mentoring programs take thought, planning and careful design to ensure maximum impact and outcomes for the participants and organisation.

Following best practice guidelines and a structured process will help achieve the best results. Here are five steps to follow when setting up your organisation’s program:

1. Formalise and design the program.

Clearly define the objectives and goals of the program. What does success look like for participants and your organisation? When designing the program consider the selection criteria, structure, participants, matching and resources. Set a clear time frame for the program to keep participants focused.

2. Communicate and identify champions

Position the program as a reward and recognition program that is highly valued by your organisation. Identify internal senior champions to inspire participation and promote benefits. Ensure all stakeholders are aware of the program, its objectives and the professional development opportunities for both the mentee and mentors. This will foster a mentoring culture and drive commitment to the process from all parties.

3. Provide training and resources

Provide training to both mentors and mentees on how to get the most out of the experience. Discuss their roles and responsibilities, the level of commitment required and mentoring best practice guidelines. Clarifying expectations and roles will build a more effective mentoring relationship.

Offer tools and resources to help facilitate and structure the process. For example, our one2one online resource increases structure and guidance to the mentor and mentee and shares tips and advice on how to get the most out of the relationship.

4. Connect carefully

Matching is critical to the success of the program. Consider goals, expectations, experience and personality of both parties. Each mentee needs to have the right person to challenge, stretch and guide them. The organisation can match strategically to help drive innovation, collaboration and communication across business areas and skill sets.

5. Measure the program’s effectiveness

Measure and evaluate the program’s effectiveness against goals and key business performance indicators. Reporting also helps participants to stay accountable and encourages them to reflect on key learnings and outcomes. Communicate the results to leaders, managers and participants.

When done well, mentoring can be a powerful unique professional development tool that delivers strong results.

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