Participant Training

Adequately preparing mentors and ensuring they have all the tools they will need to succeed is the single most crucial program component. That makes our answers to the following questions rather important.

THE KEY QUESTIONS for this section

  • Mentor Training
    • What are the implications of mentor roles and tasks for their training?
    • How can we determine which roles and tasks mentors may struggle to do well, and therefore may need training in?
    • Are any of the desired roles or tasks not feasible for training, and so are better addressed by selection?
    • What are the goals-outcomes for the mentor training?
    • How can we train every mentor so they can successfully accomplish the program’s goals?
    • How should we train and assist mentors in learning and mastering needed tasks?
    • What mentoring strategies do most excellent employees already know and what strategies will mentors probably need to learn during training?
    • When will the training take place and how many times should we train each year?
    • What should be the agenda, sequence and length of training?
    • Will mentors be required to participate in the training?
    • Should protégés attend any parts of the mentoring training?
    • What roles will other stake holders have in the training?
    • What will be the optimal way for mentors to learn the skills they have not yet mastered?
    • What employee already has the necessary knowledge that could teach it to the mentors?
    • What employee might already have the skills that could model and teach the skills to mentors?
    • If no employee has the needed knowledge or skills, who does, and how can we arrange to learn it from them?
    • Should we learn to be effective trainers from an outside mentoring expert rather than try to do it ourselves?
    • What effective, proven mentor training materials are available which we might access to give us a starting place?
  • Protégé Training
    • What are the implications of protégé roles and tasks for their training?
    • What are the goals-outcomes for the mentor training?
    • What needs assessment research and local data have we to inform planning this training?
    • What local needs assessment data do we need to obtain and how will we obtain it?
    • How should we train & assist protégés to learn & master needed tasks?
    • How should we train protégés to work effectively with their mentors?
    • What should be the agenda, sequence and length of training?
    • What employee already has the necessary knowledge that could teach it to the protégés?
    • What employee might already have the skills that could model and teach the skills to protégés?
    • What effective, proven protégés training materials are available which we might access to give us a starting place?

    * Supervisor Training

    • What are the implications of supervisor roles and tasks for their training?
    • What are the goals-outcomes for the supervisors’ training regarding the mentor program?
    • What needs assessment research and local data have we to inform planning this training?
    • What local needs assessment data do we need to obtain and how will we obtain it?
    • How should we train & assist supervisors to learn what they need?
    • How should we train supervisors to work effectively with the mentors?
    • What mentoring skills do effective supervisors need?
    • What should be the agenda, sequence and length of training?
    • What supervisor already has the necessary knowledge that could teach it to the supervisors?
    • What supervisors might already have the skills that could mentor, model and teach the skills to other supervisors?
    • What effective, proven supervisors training materials are available which we might access to give us a starting place?

Should Managers Attend Mentor Training or Have Their Own?

Each method can work, but be aware of the issues as you decide.

It’s not a problem to have managers attend mentoring training. Their roles as supervisors includes a requirement to be a ‘staff developer” for all their direct reports, so knowing how to be an effective mentor is critical, even if they are not called “mentor” as those in the program are.

However, in many cases, it’s not good to have employees and direct reports around when a trainer and managers are discussing how to do that. It’s OK for mentors to know and think of managers as informal mentors, but the problem is not that. The problem is that, for managers to talk candidly about the extent to which they even know how to do these things can create embarrassing situations, and that is to be avoided, both to encourage manager honesty, and to promote manager learning.

That is why it is often BETTER for manager to have their own training, something like, “What Effective managers and Supervisors Need to Know About Mentoring”. Note however, if such a managers only training is done, they must be told about what the regular mentors have learned to do. managers should hsve the knowledge they need to really respect what the mentors can do and know.