Mentoring Programmes in Organisations | My Perspectives

Mentoring Programmes

I was very flattered to be contacted on the subject of Mentoring Programmes a few weeks ago by the editor of Mentoring & Coaching Monthly, at the UNM Mentoring Institute.

The editor was interested in my perspectives on the development of mentoring programmes and wondered if I would be willing to help them by participating in an interview for publication in their June issue.  I was and I did.

You can download the newsletter here UNM Mentoring Newsletter June 2014


My perspectives on the development of Mentoring Programmes

Here is a transcript of the interview:

1. What first attracted you to the area of leadership development?

My first job was with Procter & Gamble and I was given management responsibility from Day One. It was the most challenging but most rewarding aspect of my role.

I quickly discovered that people and the way they behave are the key to success in business.

P&G used managers to deliver a lot of their corporate training so I became a management skills trainer in addition to my role.  Before long I realised I preferred developing people to developing washing powders.  That’s when I made a career change and have specialised in leadership development ever since.

 2. From the perspective of an institution, what are the first steps to take when creating mentoring programmes?

I use a four stage approach when developing mentoring programmes for an organisation or institution.  Those four stages are:

1.  Engagement

2.  Training

3.  Matching

4.  Support & evaluation

The first step to take as part of the Engagement phase is to bring a group of key people together to help plan the programme.  An inclusive approach not only gathers valuable ideas but also minimises any obstacles.

3. What is the biggest mistake that institutions make when creating mentoring programmes?

The biggest mistake I see is not training mentees.  Mentoring is a two way relationship.

Most organisations recognise that mentors need training to develop the skills to have effective mentoring conversations and support their mentees.  But mentees also need training in how to get the best from their mentor and how to take ownership for developing themselves and their career.

4. What are some of the differences between coaching and mentoring? Are there times when it can be difficult to discern the two?

This is always a grey area. Both activities involve helping an individual come up with ideas and solutions to make progress with a challenge they want to address. And in both cases, it is up to the individual to decide how they are going to act on those ideas and solutions.

The simplest distinction I can make is that in coaching, all those ideas and solutions come from the individual; in mentoring, ideas and solutions are generated together through reflection and sharing of experience.

5. How is an individual supposed to know whether a coach or a mentor would better fit their situation?

A complicating factor is the fact that coach and mentor are words used to describe the people carrying out the activity as well as the activity itself.

In reality, the activities are rarely clean-cut.  A coach might do some mentoring and a mentor is likely to use coaching skills.

For that reason I’m not sure the labels are too helpful. It is more important that the individual is clear on what support they would like and can then find the right person – coach or mentor- to provide that.

So those are some of my thoughts on Mentoring Programmes in organisations.  I’d love your perspective too.  What would you add?


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