Implementing successfully


How to implement a successful mentoring program

Implementing a successful mentoring program goes beyond choosing the right participants and offering a comprehensive introduction for mentors and mentees. If you want to exploit the potential of mentoring to transform and grow your company, you need to consider four key aspects:

Four Keys to Success

  • How does this mentoring program help your company to grow?
  • How does this mentoring program help your mentors and mentees to grow?
  • How will you know that your mentoring program is a success?
  • What support will you offer to the program?

How does this mentoring program help your company to grow?

First of all, you have to understand how does your proposed mentoring program help the company to grow? This is likely to be of interest to the senior management team!

Even though it might be enjoyable and useful for the participants, you also have the opportunity to make the mentoring program work hard for the company by helping to achieve its strategic objectives. This, in turn, provides a clearer link to profitability and the ability to adapt to the changing business environment. This success key also helps you to identify the characteristics, knowledge and position in the company of your ideal participants.


How does this mentoring program help your mentors and mentees to grow?

The second key to success is to identify how this mentoring program will help your mentors and mentees to grow. Wouldn't it be great if, as well as enjoying the mentoring experience, the participants also developed their knowledge, skills and abilities in ways that helped your company to achieve its strategic objectives?

To do this, there are several aspects to consider.

  • You need to think about how this mentoring program fits with your other learning methods and tools. Does the mentoring program complement or compete with your current development offerings?
  • You have to be clear about what mentoring is and isn't - the differences between other forms of development such as training and coaching within your company, for example. A clear understanding of the unique contribution of mentoring to your employees' development will help you get management buy-in.
  • The strategic objectives you identified in the first key success factor have to be translated into topics for mentoring conversations - how can you support and facilitate that?
  • You need to consider what are the rewards and benefits associated with participating in the mentoring program for example, will it be linked to promotion or used to raise participants' profiles?

The ‘right' answer to these questions depends on your particular circumstances but will be heavily informed by the link to your company's strategy, which you identified in the first step.


How will you know that your mentoring program is a success?

This is the third key to success and the one that is most often overlooked or somewhat neglected. There's an old saying ‘a man without data is just another loud mouth with an opinion'. Having good data on the impact of your mentoring program helps you to go beyond opinions and anecdotes.

This key to success is ‘how will you know that your mentoring program has helped your company and your employees to grow?' A beneficial answer to this question goes far beyond ‘our participants enjoyed participating in the process and thought it was useful'. Unfortunately, this is often as far as many companies get in evaluating their mentoring programs, either because they consider that time or resources prevent them being more structured, or because they're not clear on how to evaluate mentoring effectively.

It is important to be far more focused and structured in your evaluation because when you have good data about the impact of your mentoring program, you make better decisions about its future. Neglect this step only if you can afford to waste resources in your company.

On the positive side, once you have established more structured ways of evaluating your mentoring process, it actually becomes much simpler to run the evaluation thereafter as you use more automated processes and systems.


What support will you offer to the program?

The final key to success, the fourth key, is having a good understanding of what support you will offer to the program.

Why is this the final key?

Because when you have answered the first three questions you will be in a much stronger position to offer active and appropriate support to your mentoring program! In fact, most of the questions surrounding this key success factor will probably be self-evident by this point.

You can get a head start on implementing a successful mentoring program by considering the following:

  • Your support structure should take into account the major challenges of mentoring.
  • You should support individuals and the overall participant group to get the best out of the wider impact of mentoring. Consider how you can provide opportunities for the mentoring program participants to network and share their experiences to create a ‘mastermind' effect.
  • Treat mentoring like a project, not a magical process. You will enhance your chances of creating a successful mentoring program if you take a more structured approach.

To receive a free audio teleclass with even more in-depth success tips for creating a successful mentoring program, sign up for our Successful Mentoring e-mail newsletter, which includes practical tips and strategies for creating successful corporate mentoring programs.


Projektgruppe wissenschaftliche Beratung GbR
Dr. Andre Lehnhoff Managing
Wendy Kendall Partner of PwB
Ohlanden 35
25582 Hohenaspe
Tel.: +49.4893.220256
Fax: +49.4893.220256
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Projektgruppe wissenschaftliche Beratung GbR

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