supervisor support
mentorship

Mentorship

(MEN-tor-ship)

liquid elements

LIQUID

What is Mentorship?

Mentorship is a pairing of individuals that allows a lesser-experienced individual to gain insights into specific pathways toward success from a more-experienced individual.

Other Common Names

Other common names for mentorship include:

  • Coaching
  • Advisors
  • Guides

Key Properties of Mentorship

A mentoring relationship can be either formal (many organizations have formal mentoring programs to match less experienced employees with someone who has experience or expertise in a particular area) or informal (think of someone you meet regularly for coffee to discuss issues at work).

Here are two core properties of mentorship:

  • A supportive relationship
  • At least one person in the relationship has experience or knowledge in a specific area
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Elements likely to bond with Mentorship

goal settingGoal Setting

Is mentorship intended to create greater connection among employees? Is it intended to reduce the amount of time employees spend in a formal training program? The goals for any sort of mentorship need to be clearly defined to make sure it’s an effective element in your learning program.

virtual meetingVirtual Meeting

PATH, a global health organization headquartered in Seattle, Washington, recently overhauled a training program was once held completely in person. With the program transitioning to an online environment, the creators were concerned that the participants (who are dispersed in field offices around the world) wouldn’t have a connection to a real person. PATH chose to incorporate a virtual mentorship program in which experienced staff would leverage a virtual meeting platform to connect with trainees, answer their questions, and simply let them know that they weren’t working in isolation.

subject matter expertsSubject Matter Experts (SMEs)

People who have expertise in their field can offer a lot when given an opportunity to enter into a supportive relationship with those hungry for their knowledge. While SMEs may not have a lot of time to offer, time spent in a mentoring relationship truly is quality over quantity.

instructional designInstructional Design

If mentorship is going to be part of a formal learning program, then it needs to have an intentional design. Beyond the mere idea of incorporating mentors into a program, you’ll have to identify the mentors, make sure they are adequately prepared and have clarity around what they’re expected to do, and ensure their mentor meetings are a productive use of everyone’s time.

spaced learningSpaced Learning

Whether it’s connected to new employee onboarding or some other training program, using mentors to follow up with training participants in a periodic, ongoing manner can help keep the learning fresh and offers participants an opportunity to ask questions and reflect on experiences after they’ve returned to their desk and tried things out in the real world.