Mentoring has become one way to expedite diversity efforts, develop future leadership and satisfy the need for a balanced scorecard. Much of the focus on mentoring has been on the program structure, but the heart of mentoring is the relationship between the mentor and mentee.
The resources spent on the planning, designing and marketing of most mentoring programs are sorely out of balance with the resources needed to ensure the success of the relationships that are the core of the program.
Frustrating, unfulfilling mentoring unions are a dime a dozen. Often both mentor and mentee devote little time to the relationship. One of them—sometimes both of them—consistently cancel and/or postpone meetings, and naturally put off the important task of setting relationship expectations. They lead with their intuition or improvise, instead of making strategic plans for the relationship. In a climate like this, there's no accountability for the success or failure of the relationship. Not only will the individual relationship suffer, the program as a whole will probably fail.
It's time we step out of our perspective as administrators and try to see the program from the participant's eye. At the end of the day, the participant does not care whether the program is online and competency-based. He only wants to be part of something that is worth his time, effort and energy, and that will meet his needs.
Where do you go from here? Here are tips to help participants and administrators get back to the basics of mentoring.
Tips for the Mentors: