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These articles have been sourced from the Internet and are provided for information purposes only. The Peel Mentoring Network does not specifically endorse or promote any author or their work.

We hope you find these resources useful.


Mentoring a Movement: My Personal Journey. Dr. Susan G. Weinberger. Norwalk: CT. 2005.

Stand By Me. Dr. Jean E. Rhodes. Harvard University Press, 2005.

Handbook of Youth Mentoring. Edited by David L. DuBois and Michael J. Karcher. Sage Publications Inc., 2005 (Chapters written by Canadian researchers as well as Dr. Susan G. Weinberger)

Learn steps for establishing a formal mentoring system in your organization by Jim Perrone

Article from the Healthcare Executive, May/June 2003

More and more organizations are creating formal mentoring programs - and with good reason. From a happier staff to increased organizational productivity, the benefits of a workplace culture that actively supports and organizes mentoring are abundant. While organizational mentoring programs may take on different shapes and structures, there are critical steps for a group embarking on establishing a mentoring system. Following are steps most often followed by organizations that have been able to initiate and sustain a meaningful mentoring process.

1) Define the business case for mentoring.

Mentoring should be seen as a critical element in helping the organization achieve its strategic goals. A formal mentoring program can help:

  • improve retention
  • build morale
  • accelerate leadership development
  • provide ongoing career development
  • build teams
  • facilitate organizational learning

A strong business case must be made to demonstrate why the organization should devote the attention and resources required to make a formal mentoring process work. For example, a healthcare organization foreseeing tremendous growth in a specific area may want a mentoring program to help prepare individuals for future managerial positions. Or an organization planning integration may be interested in a mentoring program to help shape talent that would fit the total entity. The point is, the reasons for establishing a mentoring program must be linked to your organization's business goals.

2) Establish a mentoring strategy.

A clear mentoring vision has the capacity to act as a guiding mechanism for the mentoring effort. Senior management and others responsible for the mentoring system must come together to design the strategy, define objectives, and plan the implementation. Some questions to be considered during this process include: What is the purpose for establishing the program? What are the short-term and long-term goals? Given our goals, how many mentor and protege pairs should be considered? Who should we focus on to be mentors and proteges? A steering committee should be established and a coordinator selected to oversee implementation. It is important that committee members and the coordinator are truly interested in the success of the program and believe that the development of future leadership is critical. Members of the steering committee may include interested senior-level individuals, a human resource representative, department heads, and others, depending on the goal of the mentoring program. For example, if the objective of the program is to develop leadership skills in nurses, then nurses should be represented on the committee.

3) Select proteges and mentors.

Using the organization's strategic intentions for mentoring as a primary reference point, the steering committee must define the criteria and characteristics for selecting and matching mentors and proteges. For example, if the goal of your organization is to develop new leaders as a part of succession planning, the committee will want to choose mentors who have many years in a leadership role, who are high performers, or who have many individuals in their department who have been promoted. To choose the appropriate proteges, the committee may want to identify those individuals who have demonstrated clear evidence of future leadership. Keep in mind that for the program to be effective, proteges and mentors must join the program on a voluntary basis; appointing them will not work. The mentor and protege must be enthusiastic and willing.

4) Provide mentor and protege skill training.

Successful mentoring programs always provide formal training to mentors regarding the special mind-set and skill set required to establish and sustain a learning partnership with a protege. This training should emphasize to mentors the difference between a mentoring role and a management role. It should also highlight the different skills and competencies mentors should develop, such as the ability to empower other people, to support them, and to challenge them. They must also have the ability to listen as a mentor and not as a problem solver. Proteges must receive training on how to be the driving force in a mentoring relationship. The training should also help them assess their strengths and weakness, identify developmental objectives, and decide how they will use their mentor. Training sessions are the perfect time to spell out the roles and responsibilities for participants. For example, mentors should not get between proteges and their managers or get overly involved in the detail of the protege's work. Proteges need to understand that having a mentor doesn't guarantee that they will get promoted or have unlimited access to their mentor.

5) Link up proteges and mentors.

How proteges and mentors are matched up is based on the goals of the mentoring program. Formally bringing mentors and proteges together to define their expectations of each other and the process is an extremely important step. During this meeting, a formal mentoring agreement is created that serves as a reference point throughout the mentoring process. The mentoring agreement should include the goals and objectives of both the protege and the mentor, how and when they will meet, and a confidentiality agreement.

6) Evaluate the program.

Those mentoring programs that do the best job of institutionalizing their mentoring programs evaluate the impact of the mentoring from two primary reference points. The first is the degree to which the process has assisted the protege in achieving the developmental objectives that were defined at the beginning of the program. The second reference point is the degree to which the program was successful in achieving its strategic business case goals, such as retention or the development of high potentials. Furthermore, successful programs bring mentors and proteges together for check-up meetings and follow-up training several times during the typical mentoring year. The best programs usually have a way of ending the mentoring relationship formally. During this time, the protege and mentor can decide if they want to continue the relationship formally or informally, or if they want to move on. Ultimately, formal mentoring works best in an organization where people development and organizational learning are supported and nurtured by leadership at all levels. A mentoring culture is more important than just going through the administrative motions of carrying out a formal system.

About the Author

Jim Perrone is a founder and managing partner of Perrone-Ambrose Associates, Inc., an organizational development consulting firm that helps organizations create mentoring cultures. Perrone-Ambrose Associates, Inc.2 N. Riverside Plaza, Ste. 1433Chicago, IL 60606, (800) 648-0543

To Reap Mentoring's Benefits, Sow a Mentoring Culture by Lois Zachary

Article from MentorNet News, April 2005

Mentoring plays a crucial role in job satisfaction and effectiveness, says business development expert Lois Zachary. But success requires more than simply implementing a program-it requires a mentoring culture. Zachary explains the concept in her new book, Creating a Mentoring Culture: The Organization's Guide, due out this month from Jossey-Bass. She spoke recently with MentorNet.

MentorNet: Research has shown that mentoring helps people learn and grow, and helps create more effective organizations. Why do you think that happens?

Lois Zachary: At the heart are two things: better learning and better relationships. You have to grow beyond yourself to be successful; if you're not learning, you're not growing. And if people in an organization aren't growing, the organization isn't growing.

[Relationships are important because] we live in hard and fast times... and they get you through the hard times and the transitions. People have something to hold onto in all the turmoil if they have a relationship they can trust.

What led you to write this new book?

I've always had great mentors and I believe that mentoring is part and parcel of being a leader. Mentoring has gotten increasing visibility because of the results it produces - its power to recruit, attract, retain and support employees. It's not just an activity. It is a way of thinking. I see many organizations put a lot of resources into developing mentoring programs, then the players change and the program and effort go by the wayside. My experience showed me that if you have certain hallmarks [in place] you can have sustainable mentoring in organizations. How do you define a mentoring culture?

First, it requires aligning mentoring with the business reasons for doing it. To mount a mentorship program without solid reasons for doing it doesn't do any good. Mentoring needs a culture that supports it - something for it to stick to.

You should always be working on a mentoring culture. Mentoring needs infrastructural support - time and money - and committed leadership; those who are invested in it have to create value and visibility. Communication is key.

Also, you need to create multiple mentoring opportunities. It can't just be informal; you have to provide for different kinds of learning experiences. For example, you might have face-to-face mentoring, group mentoring, and one-on-one mentoring. There could also be distance as well as cross-cultural mentoring.

In a mentoring culture [you have] training and programs. A mentoring culture also provides a safety net, so the people succeed as well as the mentoring itself.

What does a mentoring culture provide?

I've seen workplaces where people built meaningful relationships so they're more connected at the center to what they're doing and why they're doing it. [A mentoring culture] helps raise morale, and it helps people get in touch. It makes for a more connected workplace and more connected people.

One of the things I see is that people get more knowledge about other parts of the organization and how it works. Mentors talk about their expanded perspective; they're not so isolated. The person being mentored also has a safety net, and a place where they can test out ideas. They get candid feedback they can't get anyplace else. It helps them navigate the organization.

Does any aspect of mentoring develop naturally, without external prompts?

Informal mentoring does take place - mentoring in the moment, if you will. In a workplace people gravitate toward those who can help them or who are more experienced. With a mentoring culture, these relationships can be much richer. People need to have a shared definition of mentoring - for example, it's not just about taking somebody under your wing, it's about giving somebody wings to fly.

Does MentorNet meet your definition of a mentoring culture?

MentorNet is creating a culture of mentoring. People [who work with MentorNet] are aware that mentoring just doesn't just happen by itself. It's brought about by constant effort and tending. One example is how MentorNet builds in coaching cues. [It provides] education and training opportunities online.

What advice do you have for MentorNet participants? How can they develop the best relationships?

The temptation in distance mentoring is to make it a transaction. But mentoring is not an information exchange. One of the challenges is getting to know somebody online, and taking the time to develop that relationship and identify goals.

Foster personal accountability: take the time to negotiate the relationship and set up reasonable benchmarks. Evaluate continuously, and ask, "What are we doing in the relationship? Are we making progress?" Use the time you have well. Try not to do mentoring on the run - don't multitask! Use your mentoring time to mentor.

And tell stories. Online, you may feel pressured to keep it short, but by revealing who you are and what you do, you enrich the learning experience. Don't be in a hurry. It is well worth taking the time.

About the Author

Lois Zachary will be a featured speaker at a MentorNet workshop in September. Learn more. To order Lois Zachary's book click here.

People Development By Judith Lindenberger

Article from Build a Mentoring Culture

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.

Why Mentoring Works

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.

The Strategic Mentoring Culture by Barry Sweeny

Formal mentoring programs that have a high impact on the effectiveness of mentoring, the quality of work, the success of clients, and attainment of organizational goals, all have a number of common elements.

Creating such results is why each organization needs to become a learning community, or as this author asserts, a Strategic Mentoring Culture.

In a Strategic Mentoring Culture there needs to be:

  • Expert - Novice mentoring at every level of practice and within the program
  • Peer - to - peer mentoring at every level of practice and within the program
  • ONE set of common mentoring strategies implemented at all five of the levels of the program

The diagram to the right shows what the first two elements of that culture are like. Every person should be involved in both kinds of mentoring, both giving and receiving support for growth and improvement.Below on this page is an illustration of what the complete Strategic Mentoring Culture looks like. Each arrow represents the dialogue described above.

Below on this page is an illustration of what the complete Strategic Mentoring Culture looks like. Each arrow represents the dialogue described above.

Examples of Each Kind of Strategy

Program Strategies include how an organization:

  • Recruits and selects mentors
  • Matches mentors and proteges, and resolves mismatches
  • Trains mentors for their role
  • Provides on-going support for mentors
  • Evaluates and continually improves the mentoring program.

Leadership - Mentoring of Mentors Strategies are:

  • Who has a formal role in coordinating the program
  • Who supports mentors and holds them accountable for continually improvement
  • How these persons model effective mentoring in their daily work

Mentoring strategies include how mentors:

  • Build safe, trusting, relationships with their protégés
  • Promote protégé development
  • Provide positive, but challenging feed back
  • Help a protégé become and remain open to external feed back
  • Assess what a protégé needs for their developmental level
  • Design mentoring interventions that are developmentally appropriate

Working strategies are the ways experts in a job or role work to effectively accomplish what is expected of that role. These might include how:

  • Teachers teach students
  • Managers supervise subordinates
  • To lead effective group meetings
  • To lead a strategic planning process

Client strategies are those done by the persons with whom employees work, and could include:

  • What students do to learn effectively
  • What customers do within effective sales relationships
  • What employees do in relationship with their supervisors

In a Strategic Mentoring Culture, all these strategic levels are intentionally designed to support learning and improved performance.

BOTH Formal AND Informal Mentoring?

Yes. In powerful, effective, learning organizations there are:

Formal "Mentors", to assure that:

  • The team of colleagues and the supervisor of a protégé are effectively supporting the protégé
  • The needs of the protégé are assessed and addressed, AND...
  • Not even ONE employee is left alone to learn by trial and error.

Every powerful, effective, learning organization also uses...

Informal "mentoring" which is:

  • What everyone does to ensure their own continued growth, and...
  • What everyone does to support the growth of others.

Add together formal and informal mentoring and the two types of mentoring dialogue, and what you have is a "Strategic Mentoring Culture" in which everyone is growing, improving, and supporting each other. It is a true learning community which is continually improving.

Where Do We Start?

Most programs begin their mentoring efforts at one of the levels illustrated in the Strategic Mentoring Culture diagram. Such an approach is both logical and practical. To become effective quickly, we must KNOW the bigger picture of mentoring that we eventually need to develop, but we need to START by taking small, calculated steps to patiently build readiness for and the capacity needed to move toward such a mentoring culture over time.

Where we start is not all that important, as successful programs of all types have begun at many different places.

  • If development and retention of new, novice employees are the greatest challenge for your organization, start with an orientation and induction focused mentoring program to ensure their early career success and, a short learning curve with quick productivity. In that case, your mentoring will focus initially at the "mentoring strategies" (#3) and "working strategies" (#2) levels. Eventually, as the protégé masters the basic tasks of effective employees, your focus should shift to include the effective "client strategies" (customer) level as well.
  • Perhaps you want to ensure that middle managers are retained and that they build the skills needed to ensure a strong "pool" of high performing candidates for upper management positions. In that case, you will start a management level mentoring program in which executives at the leadership level (#4) of the Strategic Mentoring Culture are trained to and serve as mentors of the middle managers. Eventually, as middle mangers are successful with their tasks as managers (the working level #2), you should shift to include two other mentoring levels:
  • Development of those skills in middle mangers, which will make them more effective in assessing and addressing client or customer level needs.
  • Development of the middle managers as mentors (#3) so they can, in turn, develop their direct reports and other subordinates whom they supervise.
  • The ideal way to build a Strategic Mentoring Culture is to start at the top of that diagram and work your way down, creating and building success at each of the upper levels before moving on. However, to succeed the first time with such a terrific and logical approach requires considerable foreknowledge of what is going to happen at the other levels before it happens. Otherwise how could you prepare people at the higher levels to be successful later at lower levels when those lower levels are as yet uncreated and you have no experience working at those lower levels yet?
  • The answer is to employ an expert mentoring consultant and trainer who has worked with these levels before, who knows what to anticipate and how to solve the usual and unexpected problems before they have even happened, and who can MENTOR your leadership and program. In other words, if YOU don't have the foreknowledge, because you haven't yet had the experience by which you could have learned it, you should work under the guidance of someone who HAS had these experiences and whose wisdom can help you avoid the time-wasting, painful process of trial and error learning.

ONE Core Mentoring Strategy

No matter where you start to build the Strategic Mentoring Culture in your organization, as you have opportunities, build mentoring at the other levels of the culture and in your program. However, make very sure that the mentoring that happens at every level is the SAME highly effective mentoring process. Doing so is a recognition that all development at any level works the same core way. Doing this also makes sure that the lessons learned at any one level can be immediately and directly applied to the work at all levels so everyone benefits from the learning of anyone person.

As complex as it is to make that simple statement a reality, the best way to ensure it CAN happen is the use of one core mentoring strategy. Ask Barry Sweeny about "The Essential Mentoring Strategy", which is that core strategy which everyone at every level needs to use.

About the Author

Copyright 2005, Barry Sweeny, Best Practice Resources 26 W 413 Grand Av. Wheaton, IL 60187 (630) 668-2605

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