Mentoring is a tool used by various organizations and other entities for the personal development and empowerment of their employees. Mentoring is a powerful process and an effective approach in helping individuals in developing their careers. Mentoring is a partnership between the mentor and the mentee who share similar experiences or who are in the same field of work. Apart from personal development, it is about relationship building. This is basically what distinguishes mentoring from coaching.
Successful mentoring is based on a step-by-step process which has the role to build the relationship and conduct the mentoring session effectively. Just as coaching follows a structured process, mentoring is also conducted through a process. Lack of planning in mentoring obviously does not generate a successful and productive outcome.
Effective Mentoring Process
For a successful mentoring relationship, a four-step process may be used as guide:
1. Building the relationship
The mentor-mentee relationship is the first vital aspect of mentoring that needs to be established. This first step is not to be rushed, not even skipped. Time and effort must be invested in building a good relationship. The mentor and mentee must take their time in getting to know each other and build a foundation of trust. With this, mentoring is an easier activity to do.
2. Negotiating agreements
The next step is to establish a set of agreements to be implemented and followed during the mentoring relationship. This would include defining the roles, setting schedules for mentoring sessions, identifying limitations and mentoring style preferences. Doing so paves the way for a smooth and harmonious mentoring relationship.
3. Developing the mentee
This is the longest step of the mentoring process since the focus is now on the functions of mentoring. During this stage, both the mentor and the mentee will define mentoring goals, create a list of mentoring drills and activities to achieve their goals, and keep a constant communication with each other.
4. Ending the relationship
The mentoring process ends with a celebration of the accomplishments and an evaluation of the outcomes. The mentoring relationship must end on a highly positive note for a gradual transformation into a casual partnership rather than closing abruptly. In certain cases, mentoring relationships develop into something more solid.
A Working Model for Mentoring Process
The working model has been developed over time based on the experiences of several mentors and has been applied in many mentoring sessions of various organizations. The stages in the working model represent the whole mentoring process and are set for a 2-year period. The meetings have to be scheduled depending on the mentoring goals and the need of the mentee to develop performance. The communication has to be constant so the mentoring relationship will continue to flourish during the mentoring process.
Stages in the Mentoring Process Working Model
Stage 1: Introduction
As the initial stage, the objective of the introduction is to build a connection and start the relationship between the mentor and mentee. This is a good time to get to know each other better before starting the mentoring sessions and to create a comfortable relationship with each other as the mentoring process progresses.
Stage 2: Foundation
This stage entails an agreement about the mentor and mentee roles and sets the expectations for the mentoring process.
Stage 3: Orientation
The mentee is oriented to the process in order to lessen the tension and increase motivation.
Stage 4: Collaboration
The mentor works together with the mentee and is seen as a caring partner.
Stage 5: Problem Solving
At this stage, the mentor helps the mentee identify the issues about his skills and performance.
Stage 6: Personal Framework
The mentoring relationship is strengthened and the mentor is regarded as a trustworthy partner. The mentor makes an effort to help develop the mentee’s confidence and self-esteem.
Stage 7: Professional Framework
At this stage of the mentoring process, the mentee views the mentor as a role model and now the focus is set on skill improvement and performance progression.
Stage 8: Transition
This last stage encourages the interdependence of the mentor and mentee. The mentee is taught to work independently, but the guidance of the mentor is still there.