Part 2: Mentorship Programme for Life-Long Holistic Human Capital Development (OBJECTIVES, METHODS & TOOLS)

Although everyone may become a mentor, we would like to advocate for the professionalization of mentoring programme. As a mentor you have huge responsibility to your protégés and sponsors of your programme. Many books have been written on Mentorship. In this series I am intending to consolidate some useful insights on the subject from various contributors. I am a practitioner Mentor-Coach, Mentor, and Coach, and enjoys sharing knowledge that can be applied immediately to the real situation. My overall purpose is to introduce, promote, and support the concept I call LIFE-LONG HOLISTIC HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT, which I have been practicing for more than twenty two years. My company, COMETSA, has evidence of many young people who went through development programmes using this concept. Mentorship is one of the main pillars of the concept. 

Some of the commonly listed objectives of Mentoring are to; create opportunities for new contacts and networks; utilize the organization’s existing know-how; share experience between different production units; support company-wide,  cross-hierarchical and cross-generational knowledge management; and build social capital.

Mentoring can be used to support the organizations’ Diversity Management & Inclusion Programmes, and encourage junior executives who are underrepresented in boardrooms; raise awareness of possible differences and inequalities in access to leadership positions; increase the expertise of all those involved in the programme; appreciate and promote diversity.

Among others one should master the methods and tools for mentoring, namely, 

COMPETENCE PROFILES: Progress measurement in the mentoring process, assignment of the mentor and mentee;

MENTOR GUIDELINES: Guidance for the mentor throughout the entire mentoring process;

MENTORING AGREEMENT:Confidentiality and commitment are ensured;

RULES OF THE GAME: Agreement on personal interaction, e.g. behavioural norms or assessment standards;

CHECKLISTS: Ensure “safe” environment for mentee, continuous processing and operational support;

QUESTIONING TECHNIQUES: Support strategy development through questioning. Asking relevant and powerful questions, followed by active listening unlocks potential of the mentee.

MENTAL TECHNIQUES: Personal conduct (stress management, focus on objectives, conflict resolution, etc.);

ORGANIZING PRIORITIES: Joint development of a list of priorities, processing urgent strategic issues and ensuring their handling;

DOCUMENTING SUCCESSES: Document progress and events, motivate through successes already achieved;

METHODS OF SELF-MANAGEMENT: Support focus on goals and priorities, create a balance between professional and personal interests, stress management, etc.

In chapter 13 of their book, CONNECTING (The Mentoring Relationships You Need To Succeed In Life), Paul D. Stanley and J. Robert Clinton, list ten commandments of Mentoring;

Commandment 1: RELATIONSHIP! Spend time at the beginning of the Mentorship Programme focusing on the establishment of strong relationship with the protege. 

Commandment 2: PURPOSE! You, the mentor, and your mentee must jointly agree on the purpose of the mentorship relationship. Do not take it for granted that the reason for the relationship will reveal itself to both of you.

Commandment 3: REGULARITY! In today’s busy world it is absolutely critical that the mentor and mentee formally agree on the number of times they will interact under the programme, either face to face or virtually.

Commandment 4: ACCOUNTABILITY! The mentor and mentee hold each other accountable. Their responsibilities are made clear and fulfilled with passion.

Commandment 5: COMMUNICATION MECHANISMS! Set up communication mechanisms upfront. Some mentors prefer to set limits to the communication with their mentees. Others leave it open, preferring to be fully accessible to their mentees.

Commandment 6: CONFIDENTIALITY! Universally, mentoring and coaching requires adherence to confidentiality. If the mentor wants to share the information from the sessions, the mentee must agree to that.

Commandment 7: LIFE CYCLES OF MENTORING! Each mentorship programme has its own life cycle. It must be determined at the beginning of the programme as part of contracting. 

Commandment 8: EVALUATION! What does not get measured cannot be achieved. The mentor and mentee must agree on the performance measurement metrics and the frequency of the evaluation of the programme.

Commandment 9: EXPECTATIONS! The parties’ expectations must be engaged with and if necessary modified to fit the real-life-mentoring situation. 

Commandment 10: CLOSURE! It is advisable that the mentorship relationship is officially terminated, irrespective of whether the objectives have been achieved or not. Do not leave the relationship hanging if you feel like ending it.

The following are the roles of the Mentor;

Supports the mentee when his/her limits are exceeded;
Tutors the mentee on specific topics;
Coaches the mentee when the need arises;
Creates an environment conducive to risk taking;
Ensures the mentee has the possibility to grow and develop;
Focuses on the mentee’s objectives and not their own agenda;
Advises the mentee on matters of life and professional career;
Guides the mentee through challenges;
Partner the mentee in thinking and challenges him/her to think out of the box;
Motivates the mentee to get out of their comfort zone;
Gives the mentee honest and useful feedback.

The benefits of Mentoring are obvious for the Company, Mentor, and Mentee;

COMPANY: Explore options regarding the development and career of the mentee; Support managers internally by utilizing the mentor’s know-how and experience; Provide individualized support to improve learning transfer; Ensure the development of a mentee’s potential through appropriate measures.

MENTOR: Improve consulting expertise; Take responsibility; Commit to a social issue such as supporting and promoting young executives

MENTEE: Receives individual encouragement; Get help and support regarding career questions; Benefit from mentor’s experience and knowledge; Develop awareness of own abilities, strengths and weaknesses, as well as possible opportunities and risks.

The mentoring can take a negative connotation without adequate support and professionalization of the mentoring process. 

Some of the reasons could be;

Lack of a reliable mentoring process;
Difficulty in developing open and honest communication between mentor and mentee;
Mentor’s inclination to give advice, rather than support a mentee’s ability to find their own solutions;
Role ambiguity which creates a feeling of rivalry between mentor and mentee;

Executive Mentorship Programme is critical in Leadership Development, wherein it helps leaders in their formulation of their Mission and Vision, Goal Definition, Promoting Attractiveness of their Roles, Identification with their Responsibilities, their successful participation in their companies actual Leadership Development Programmes, and guaranteeing the Commitment of their Executives. 

The Executive Mentoring improves the following Management and Leadership Skills of the Business Leaders;

TEAM COMPETENCE: actively contributes to team success;

SOCIAL COMPETENCE: appropriate communication behaviours between different hierarchical levels;

ABILITY TO IMPLEMENT: solutions can be implemented quickly and consistently;

SOLUTION EXPERTISE: complex questions can be contextually analyzed, understood and solved; 

NETWORK COMPETENCE: professional or personally important networks can be built, integrated and maintained;

INNOVATION COMPETENCE: participants can leave “old” paths to discover new unknown paths;

REFLECTION SKILLS: the company is considered from different perspectives;

CORPORATE AND BUSINESS SKILLS: various assessments are shared, developed and dealt with by partners;

David Clutterbuck in the latest edition of his book, EVERYONE NEEDS A MENTOR, writes about the Drivers of Second Wave Mentoring as, among others, the following;

AVAILABILITY: The desire good to make mentoring available to much wider audience, at lower cost;

LINK TO HR PROCESSES: The need to link mentoring more closely with key HR processes, in particular, talent management, performance management, succession planning, and achieving diversity objectives;

VALUE FOR MONEY: The need to demonstrate value for money, which is in turn leading to more effective measurement process; 

FRUSTRATIONS: Increased frustration in developmental mentoring programmes, when mentors relapse into sponsorship behaviours; 

EXPECTATIONS OF TARGET GROUPS: Increasing expectations of some target groups (e.g. the lesbians, gay, bisexuals, and transgender community - LGBTI) of a greater role in the design and management of mentoring programmes intended to support them.

We will look into the characteristics of the second wave mentoring, as presented by David Clutterbuck, in future articles. In Part 3 of this series we will be looking at Leadership Development and the role of Executive Mentoring.


ABOUT SAM TSIMA: The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of COMETSA GoC International (Pty) Ltd, specialists in mentorship, coaching, advisory, networks, holistic human capital, management and leadership development consulting. You may contact Sam Tsima and COMETSA at email: callcentre@Cometsa-GoC.com; or visit our website: http://www.Cometsa-GoC.com

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