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Voluntary mentor scheme in your organisation


I am currently setting up what is effectively a voluntary mentoring scheme in my organisation. I recruit experts, or 'Aces' as they will be called, who are specialists in particular subject areas (e.g. aspects of finance or IT). People learning skills in these areas, for example, attending related courses, are put in touch with the corresponding Ace or Aces in order to receive their guidance in learning. I will maintain the list of Aces, periodically contact them to get a feel for the activity levels and provide support for them.

Does anyone here have experience of managing a similar scheme? What experience can you share? Did it work well or not and what were the key factors?

Many thanks again
David Cleave

2 Responses

  1. Be structured
    Dear David

    From personal experience:
    1)Indicate right from the start what the role of the Mentor is meant to be and that it mentoring does not end as soon as the person they are mentoring is standing on own two feet – provide a short session outlining responsibilities expectations etc.
    2) Make sure that each Mentor knows exactly what tasks or knowledge they are expected to or should pass on to thier mentees. Ideally this should be documented in a folder or workbook where the learner signs off that they have adequate knowledge or understanding of a task/subject provided by the Mentor, otherwise the both stakeholders won’t know the goals.
    3) Organise informal regular meetings where the Mentors can meet one another to discuss problems/issues and gain support. I used to supply a monthly newsletter to all Mentors and include those Mentors who could not make it to the meeting yet as a result would still feel part of the group.

  2. Help the mentees to drive the learning agenda.

    My advice would be to get clear on what is the mentor’s role. In my experience it pays to put some work in to helping mentors tease out from their mentees what precisely is their interest in a particular topic. For example your Accountant Ace may find s/he has mentees keen to learn about reading a balance sheet, putting a budget together, interpreting the monthly accounts or understanding the financial position key competitors find themselves in – a wide variety of needs. With this understood the mentor can gear his or her material to the mentees needs. The risk of not doing this is that learning activity is all about passing on what the Ace knows about the subject irrespective of its usefulness. People will be grateful and polite about the Ace’s efforts but the learning process could be made to be a lot more powerful with this upfront work done first.

    Roger Martin
    01993 813721


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