Example of Phased Program Implementation

Barry Sweeny © 1999


  • Factors That Effect Program Implementation
  • Implementation Assumptions
    • Year One – Program research and planning, implement orientation
    • Year Two – Implement Guide Program, plan & seek management approval for Mentoring Program, appoint program leader, recruit mentors
    • Year Thre – Enhance orientation, implement & evaluate some mentor program components, plan others
    • Year Four – Refine implemented parts of mentor program & implement & evaluate remaining components, plan peer coaching
    • Year Five – Implement the local model for peer coaching, pilot a standards-based protégé assessment
    • Year Six – Implement peer coaching for experienced staff & standards-based performance assessment, plan use of results-oriented assessment
    • Year Seven – Implement use of results-oriented assessment to demonstrate program impact

Factors That Effect Program Implementation

Designing a high impact mentoring program is challenging, but use of The Best Practice Framework for a Mentoring & Induction Program and other models provided on this web site should help a great deal. However, implementing such a program is quite another task. Of course, the rate and process of implementation will vary from program to program, depending on the specific components of the program being implemented and on those that may already be in place, plus human and organizational readiness for changes, resources available, leadership capacity, etc. Also, a simple program requires less time to phase in than does a more complex one. As a result of these and other factors, implementation may require anywhere from a few months to a number of years!

Click here for info on Using a Full or Phased Implementation Process.

Implementation Assumptions

The following process is the one I recommend should be used to guide planning the implementation of a new mentoring program, although with some adaptations, this process could easily be used to plan implementation of changes for anexisting program.

This sample implementation process assumes several things:

1. IF the GOALS are increased performance and results, then the EVENTUAL, comprehensive program that organizations need must include:

  • A new employee orientation event, probably of several days length;
  • A professional development training series specifically designed to address the needs of new employees;
  • A Mentor Program, at least for beginning employees;
  • A Guide or Buddy Program for new but experienced employees;
  • Training for Guides and Mentors;
  • Observations by new employees of expert experienced staff;
  • Peer support groups for proteges and for mentors;
  • A professional development portfolio designed to prompt reflection and to facilitate and document protege growth;
  • Professional development goals and action plans developed by proteges with mentor support;
  • Program evaluation during and at the end of every year.

2. The complexity of this ideal model necessitates a phased implementation requiring several years of work before the desired comprehensive program could be fully in operation and effective. The phase-in approach uses a staggered, overlapping schedule of researching, planning, gaining approval, piloting, fully implementing, evaluating, refining, and revising various program components over time. This phased approach is very important, but WHAT specifically is phased-in each year is a local decision, so this model can be adjusted to your local needs.

Refer to the page titled “A Suggested Time Line for Gradually Implementing a Mentoring LINK &&&&&&&&Program”. That chart and the section to follow on ths page should be used together as the chart is just a more graphic variation of this text.


• The Training and Development Department or Career Development Committee develop and coordinate a one day new protégé orientation event.

• A collaborative Mentoring Program Advisory Group (MPAG) is formed.

• An expert consultant and trainer in mentoring is hired to ensure that all design decisions use the best known research-based practices.

• The Mentoring Program Advisory Group researches the organization new protégé retention data, protégé needs, retirement, and organization expansion plans, information on effective staff development, and effective mentoring programs.

• The MPAG writes a written description of the needs of the organization for attracting, retaining, and developing quality employees and of the developmental and professional development needs of new and beginning employees.

• The MPAG develops an mentoring program model and seeks management, union/association, and Board support for the plan.

• The MPAG develops specific plans for Year Two  implementation, including enhancing protégé orientation, protégé staff development, Guide training and, the Guide Program fore new but experienced staff, requirements
for protégé observations of expert experienced employees, guidelines for informal professional development goal setting, and plans for initial program evaluation.


• Add 2 days to the protégé orientation, including 2 morning sessions about the organization’s expectations for which the new protégé will be responsible and training in the associated skills, and 2 added afternoons for proteges working at the local site with the supervisor and mentor.


  • the enhanced protégé orientation program;
  • protégé staff development for first year staff;
  • Guide/Buddy Program training;
  • the Guide/Buddy Program;
  • protégé observations of expert experienced employees;
  • informal professional development goal setting;
  • initial program evaluation, review of data for unmet needs, and recommendation of revisions.

Develop the Mentoring Program, including:

  • program purpose and goals, and that year’s objectives;
  • mentor, protégé, and manager roles and tasks;
  • mentor selection and mentor-protege matching process and criteria;
  • mentor training and follow up support for continued mentor growth and implementation of mentor’s training;
  • mentoring incentives and recognition;
  • definition of the mentoring relationship;
  • a model of the mentoring process, based on a staff development model (CBAM).

Develop the remaining Mentoring Program components including:

  • guidelines for the professional development portfolio;
  • guidelines for the professional development goal setting and action planning processes.

• Seek management input & approval for the Mentor Program;

•  Appoint a Mentor and Guide Program Coordinator;

•  Held Mentor Program information meetings to explain the new program and recruit the first mentors.


• Add a day to the new protégé orientation, including a morning session to inform new protégés about the organization’s strategic plan, training curriculum and organization improvement systems, and other improvement initiatives which they are expected to support and in which they will participate – an additional afternoon of working with the manager (f needed) and mentor.


  • the Mentor Program including selection and matching, training, support groups (see below), mentoring, incentives and recognition, and the Mentor and Guide Program Coordinator role;
  • the remaining components of the Mentoring Program, including informal “save your stuff” professional development portfolios, professional development goal setting and action planningr, new protégé staff development for second year staff, and mentors accompanying new protégé during their observations of expert
    experienced staff and debriefing them afterwards to ensure learning is applied to their work;
  • additional assessment of all new program components just implemented.

• Use the expert mentor trainer to conduct the first mentor and coaching training and initial new protégé and mentor peer support group meetings. Identify local program staff who will lead future mentor training and peer support groups. Conduct mentor training and peer support groups so they also function as a training of trainers.

•  Develop:

  • Expectations for the program coordinators role as the “Mentor of Mentors”
  • The organization’s own models for mentor training, assign responsibilities.
  • The organization’s own models for mentor and protégé peer support groups. Assign responsibilities and implement ASAP.
  • A directory of expert employees willing to have guests to see demonstrations, especially on organization strategic initiatives. Ask mentors to utilize the directory to advise protégés about selection of staff to observe that best address their professional development needs and goals.
  • Guidelines for full implementation of professional development portfolios, professional development goal setting and action planning for year four.

Evaluate the full Mentor and Guide Programs.



  • Mentor of Mentors role for Mentor Program Coordinator with all mentors.
  • The organization’s own mentor training
  • Collection of materials in professional development portfolio which demonstrate level of skills with the organization or professional / accreditation standards
  • R eflection on the professional development portfolio as evidence of the protegeís current performance skills, the desired level of skills relative to the standards, and writing of professional development goals and action plans with the mentor for implementation in year four.

• Use the expert mentor trainer to conduct the second year’s coaching training.

• Identify local program staff who will lead future coaching training. Conduct coaching training so it also functions as a training of trainers.

• Evaluate the expert coaching trainer’s training. Develop the organization’s own model for coaching trainings. Assign responsibilities.

• Develop an instrument to use to assess the skills of beginning and new protégés relative to the performance standards. Develop a variation of the instrument to promote self- assessment and reflection.

• Add assessment of the usefulness of professional development portfolios, goals, and action planning for promoting the professional. growth of protégés.


Implement the organization’s local model for coaching training.

Pilot the assessment of beginning protégé skills relative to the performance standards using the organization instrument. Refine the instrument.

Develop a peer coaching model for use by experienced staff to support each others’ implementation of learning from company training.

Develop a peer coaching training for experienced staff. Assign responsibilities.


Implement the organization’s peer coaching training and program for experienced staff.

• Assess beginning protégé skills relative to the performance standards using the organization instrument.

•  Evaluate extent of increase in beginning protégé skills relative to the performance standards.

•  Plan collection and analysis of customer / client and other results data to evaluate the
impact of mentoring on desired results and for progress toward program goals.


Analyze customer or client and other results and performance data to evaluate impact of mentoring.