Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mentoring Programs Toolkit

Mentoring continues to be a high priority for me and with the publication of my book "Connecting My Dots", I have been able to inspire many leaders to dedicate time and effort to mentor junior associates and emerging leaders across their organizations.

Now that I am taking a short time off from Corporate America, I can advise organizations on how establish successful mentoring programs.

Few weeks ago at the LISTA 2nd Annual Technology forum on the Hill, I had the opportunity to award a copy of "Connecting My Dots" to US Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis. During the event we discussed the importance of setting mentoring programs to promote STEM careers and develop emerging leaders for the new global economy. We talked about the importance of role models for Latinas and emerging leaders in STEM professions.

On June 2009, we successfully launched the NCTA WISE professional mentoring program for women in STEM in the Charlotte region. The program is running as a pilot this year and women from over 10 different organizations are participating in the program. Through the mentoring program we have identified the right mentoring relationship based on needs, preferences and career goals.

If you are looking to establish a mentoring program in your organization here is a summary of the critical steps you will need to consider:

1) Problem Definition
a. Initial step to define the need, goals and objective of the mentoring program
b. Define success metrics and expectations

2) Data Gathering
a. Survey managers and potential pool of participants to understand expectations for the program

3) Determine mentoring model
a. The mentoring model must fit the needs of the organization and participants. Mentoring programs that are tailored to the needs of one department tend to have more structured than mentoring programs that go across organizational boundaries.
b. Questions to ask when developing the model:
i. Duration of the formal program and Frequency of the interactions
ii. Level of engagement from Human Resources (career coaches, training courses)
iii. Mentor/mentee ratio
iv. Roles and responsibilities of Executive sponsor, Program manager, HR consultant, mentors and mentees
v. Select training materials (e.g. Personality tests, Career assessments, etc)

4) Recruiting participants
a. Self-selected
b. Nomination by managers

5) Application process
a. Both mentors and mentees need to submit an application requesting the participation in the program. Mentees will need to obtain approval from the direct line manager to dedicate time to the program during working hours.
b. The application form should contain the following information:
i. Career objectives and expectations from the program
ii. Preferred communication style
iii. Personal preferences
iv. Approval from line manager (for mentees)

6) Matching process
a. This is a critical step in the process and should be conducted by the mentoring program managing team (e.g. program sponsor, program manager, HR consultant)

7) Implementation and Communication
a. Develop a communication plan to executive sponsors and participants

Post a question to Get additional advice about connecting with a mentor.