Mentor Support For Protege Growth Goals & Plans

By Barry Sweeny, 2003

Research that is described at “How Mentoring is the Critical “Bridge” for Successful Development of People” demonstrates that without a mentor’s follow up support in the workplace, the majority of what the protege may be asked to do for professional growth:

  • May be perceived as and may become a contrived, useless process
  • May not lead to actual professional growth, and…
  • Is not likely to be implemented in practice as improved performance.

Follow Up, Follow Up and Follow Up + Successful implementationThat’s why it’s part of the mentor’s job to be sure the protege’s professional growth activities actually DO result in growth and improvement in the protege’s performance and work. That role includes guiding and supporting a protege in reflecting on their own practice and industry or workplace standards or competencies, setting professional growth goals and laying and implementing plans to achieve those goals.

As crucial as this principle of mentor follow up support for implementation is, there is one BIG potential flaw. The mentor’s ability to facilitate such processes for the protege (bridge theory and practice), and to ensure that those processes are not done just to comply, but actually lead to professional growth, ALL DEPEND ON the mentor’s OWN EXPERIENCE with these same professional growth activities.

The point is, if the mentor has never experienced these processes themselves, or if doing such processes has always been a compliance, not a growth experience for the mentor, how can the mentor effectively lead the process for the protege and produce a different, more positive result?!It’s not very likely.

The real question is, “What do mentors need to experience & learn to do so they can facilitate proteges learning it?”

Here are some suggestions.


By Whom When Process Iincluding
A. By the Mentor Initial mentor training Self-reflection & assessment against the ideal mentoring practices, setting growth
goals & writing an implementation plan
A. Description of current knowledge/skillB. Professional growth goals

C. Indicators to be used to indicate that each goal was accomplished, ie.:

• Tasks done, participation

• Knowledge learned

• Skills mastered

•Results achieved:

– growth as mentor/protege

– work competency-behaviors

– desired results of actions

D. Evidence of selected indicators

E. Steps/activities in sequence

F. Estimated time line

G. Resources/ support needed

3-4 times a year Facilitated by the Mentor of Mentors:• Progress on mentor growth goals

• Reflection & self-assessment versus the ideal mentoring practices

• Revising or setting new goals & writing or revising the implementation plan

B. By the Protege On-going during the work year: • Mentor facilitated reflection & self- assessment comparing models of excellence, data & artifacts, setting professional growth goals, using:
• 1st quarter on the job • Organization’s or profession’s model of excellent practice and/or competencies
• 2nd quarter on the job • Observation of expert workers & the mentor by the protege
• 3nd quarter on the job • Data from mentor observation of the protege on the protegeís growth/learning priorities
• End of 4th quarter on the job • Artifacts saved by the protege on his/her professional growth goals (the “save your stuff portfolio”)