Assessments for Effective Mentoring Relationships

Barry Sweeny, © 2003

PAGE INDEX


How These Assessments Work

1. First are presented the information on Ways to Structure More Effective Mentoring Relationships“.  Mentor & protege would read this information separately and NOT discuss it just yet.

2. Next below that, is the self assessments which mentor and protege do separately.

3. Following that activity, the mentor and protege are prompted to compare their separate assessments, and discuss the implications for their work as a mentoring PAIR. The assumption is that each partner must both bring specific strengths to their work, and defer to the strengths of their partner, when they realize that THEY may not, by themselves, have all the essential qualities for mentoring success.

4. Finally, there are suggestions about what mentors and their proteges might do to use this information to build a more effective partnership.

Ways to Structure More Effective Mentoring Relationships: FIND A FIT OR MAKE IT WORK ?

© 1990, By Barry Sweeny

What are the “keys” to effective mentor-protege relationships? One view holds that the mentoring partners should be matched with each other by personality type, learning style, educational philosophy, or some other such factor. They cite “research” which they feel proves this is what proteges want and should get. The logic for those who hold this view is:

Match for similar people factors = mentors & proteges get along = good results.

However, none of this research shows that matching on such factors will actually make the relationships more effective and productive.

Another group believes that mentors and proteges should be carefully matched to each other for working conditions factors – the factors that will impact the pair’s ability to meet and work together. Such an approach places a high priority on:

1. Close proximity to allow easy informal, quick mentoring minutes;,

2. Common scheduled time to meet, such as same lunch period for teachers, same shift for employees, some released time each week like an hour for mentoring every Friday afternoon at 3 pm for managers, etc.

3. Common jobs – The mentor has or has recently had the same job as the protege now has.  This is done to better position the mentor to be able to help the protege with improving on job-related skills and understanding of the work flow, etc.

This opinion is based on the following logic:

Train partners on using diversity as a strength + Train partners on effective communication and conflict resolution = Effective partnership and high level learning.

Click here to see a synthesis of the research on the matching question. The conclusion from this comparison of 9 research reports is that the support is behind the latter “working conditions’ factors” as the best way to match. There is another factor to consider however.

 

Now, other evidence suggests that, while matching for similar personal qualities may lead to “smoother”,  less stressful mentoring relationships, but that it also frequently can reduce the extent of actual learning between mentor and protege. Instead, it seems that differences between a mentor and the protege can be understood and even planned for, and are positives in that these differences create learning opportunities which do not exist when two people think in similar ways. In other words, diversity can be a strength if people are prepared to work that way and respect each other.

What is necessary for a quality mentor-protege relationship?

 

 

 

 

The relationship must be…1. COLLABORATIVE – WORKING ON A SHARED AGENDA2. EXPECTANT OF GROWTH AND OF LEARNING FROM EACH OTHER

3. MUTUALLY SUPPORTIVE AND CARING, RECIPROCAL IN ACCEPTANCE

4. BASED ON A BELIEF THAT IT IS WORTH MAKING TIME TO CULTIVATE AND MAINTAIN THE RELATIONSHIP

5. POSITIVE, OPENNESS TO LEARNING, EACH RESPECTING THE DIGNITY AND EXPERIENCE OF THE OTHER

6. GOAL ORIENTED AND PROBLEM SOLVING FOCUSED, CHECKING ASSUMPTIONS

7. CONFIDENTIAL, PROMOTING A LOW-RISK CLIMATE FOR TRYING NEW IDEAS AND RISKING MISTAKES FOR THE SAKE OF LEARNING

8. DEVELOPMENTAL, EVOLVING AND CHANGING OVER TIME AS THE PROTEGE GROWS PROFESSIONALLY

9. OPEN TO ASSISTANCE FROM OTHER COLLEAGUES OUTSIDE OF THE MENTOR-PROTEGE PAIR  – TEAM BUILDING

 

10. PROFESSIONAL, ORIENTED TO CONTINUALLY IMPROVING WORK PRACTICES, PERFORMANCE, AND RESULTS.

11.REFLECTIVE, SELF-ASSESSING, ANALYZING & EVALUATING


Self-Assessment

After mentors and proteges have discussed the “Ways to Structure More Effective Mentoring Relationships” (above) they should do the self-assessment described here.

1. Print out the chart below, duplicate enough copies of it to provide one to each of the mentors and proteges.

2. Ask each to read the ten items listed.

3. Next, point out the two columns labeled “Mentor” and “Protege”. Ask them to use the appropriate column and circle a number from 1 to 5 to indicate the extent to which they will individually remember to do that behavior without being reminded. Use a 1 if the person will probably never remember to do it and a 5 if the person will easily remember to do it frequently.

The mentors and proteges should not discuss or see each others’ responses at this point.


Comparison of the Mentor & Protege’s Self-Assessments

© 1994, By Barry Sweeny

Using either the mentor or protege’s copy of the chart, transfer the other person’s scores on the “Self-Assessment for M-P Relationships” to this chart. Then…read an follow the directions below the chart.

Mark the items with LESS than a joint total of 4 points  /
Mark items rated 3 or more by BOTH the mentor and protege.   /
Successful Mentor-Protege Pairs Will: Mentor Self-Assessment
Protege
Self-Assessment
1. Work for accurate communication
by checking perceptions, such as with paraphrasing.
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
2. Seek specific topics of joint interest & which can serve as a focus for their work together. 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
3. Use observation to collect information about their work. 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
4. Use positive, non-judgmental description to discuss their observations. 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
5. Analyze & evaluate the information they collect for meaningful patterns. 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
6. Use the data to question assumptions & to develop & test out a range of options. 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
7. Build a relationship through shared work & discovery of shared values & beliefs. 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
8. Establish mutual trust and understanding by being reliable in meeting commitments & clear
in their expectations of each other.
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
9. Remain willing to learn from and give support to each other. 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
10. Seek each other’s welfare and  respect each others’ knowledge, experience, & perspective. 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

After completing this chart, the mentor and protege should discuss the similarities and differences in their responses.

A successful mentoringpair should be able to do each of these 10 items, whether naturally, or by structuring it so they remember to check when the item might be needed. When an item was scoredat least 3 points by each of the mentor and protege (total of 6 or more), they are very like to adequetly remember to do this item and to do it well.

Where items were scored less than 4 by their combined points, this means that neither feels they will naturally remember to do the item. In this case, the pair needs to strategize a way to ensure that they remember to do what the item describes, or at least to check whether it might be appropriate to do that item a certain points in their work.

In this way, the mentoring pair can set some intentions or goals for their relationship which should make it a more effective one.