Ellen Ensher provides an overview of sample topics and approaches for mentor training curriculum such as setting the structure, developing trust, avoiding stumbling blocks, improving mutuality and logistics. Provide a sample outline of a mentor training program.
- The biggest challenge you will likely face in training your mentors is getting them to come to the training. Typically in a formal mentoring program, your mentors are high status, busy, and probably feel like they already know everything about mentoring. So, you may find that you need to sell your mentors on the value of training more so than your proteges. I'm going to mention a few key ideas for reluctant mentor trainees, and walk you through a sample curriculum for mentors.
There are three reasons why mentors should participate in training. First, the mere presence of the mentors at a training session signals everyone around them that this matters. Second, your mentoring program can be a great way to build community across your organization. The mentors often find that attending mentor training helps them by providing a chance to network with their peers and share ideas and resources.
Third, mentors should come to training because they might learn something new. Think about what you can offer in the mentor training that will make their lives better. Now, let's talk about the design of the training. I'm going to use the model of prepare, present, practice, and conclude to walk you through a sample mentor training curriculum. I find two hours is usually about right for mentor training. In the prepare step, share a focused agenda, learning objectives, and ground rules.
I like to incorporate a polling tool using smartphones, so that the mentors can get immediate feedback on their perspectives on data related to mentoring. People sit a lot at work, so I find that starting with an icebreaker like a scavenger hunt, that gets folks moving, is a great way to spark conversation and transition to the content. I direct people to move around the room and find someone who has mentored more than 10 people, feels like they had a defining moment related to mentoring, can name one famous mentor-protege pair from sports, business, or in the movies.
In the present step, I make sure I cover the core benefits of mentoring for the mentor. Give them a detailed preview of the program, review common obstacles, and discuss how to manage expectations for the protege. I might discuss new research in mentoring such as how to build gritty proteges, or how to deal with common relational challenges between mentors and proteges. For more on these ideas, check out the videos from my course, Being a Good Mentor.
In the practice step, I love to get the mentors applying the material, so it might be creating a relationship conversation guide, designing an action learning project, or doing anything that gives them a jump-start on their meeting with their protege. Finally, in the conclude step, I encourage them to give feedback and make a connection with their fellow mentors in the room, so they can rely on each other to share ideas, experiences, and support each other in the future.
The best way to get mentors to your training is to make it worth their while. Of course, giving mentors food might help too. For one client, we used to host monthly mentor training sessions around the theme of mentoring and margaritas. These were a lot of fun and very well attended.
- The benefits of formal mentoring programs
- The types and purpose of mentoring programs
- Designing a framework and a needs assessment
- Creating a mentoring culture
- Ensuring organizational support
- Choosing participants
- Training essentials for mentors
- Concluding and celebrating your program
- Evaluating your program
- Making your mentoring program last