Designing & Evaluating Protege Training & Support

Other web pages on this site have asked, “If your program exists to develop people, on what research-proven model of human learning and development do you base your program structure and processes?” Those same other pages have suggested that mentoring programs use the CBAM Stages of Concern (link below) as that human development model. This article provides guidance in how specifically to use the CBAM to design, evaluate and improve protege (or mentor) training by using the CBAM, the best such model this author has found and used.

By Barry Sweeny, 2003


If you are wondering why this topic is discussed on a MENTORING web site, you will need to read through the page to the end to see the full “connection” that is made. Basically, mentoring is the follow up support that protégés need to help them successfully implement what they have learned in a training back at their workplace in their practice. If you have not yet read about this ” Bridging” function of mentoring, click here.

The information on this page is a SUMMARY of the whole process for designing, evaluating & improving employee training & support.   It is designed to give readers a “big picture” and as such, does not provide all the details needed to actually DO this process. The links embedded in the text will allow the reader to jump to other web pages on this web site which provide greater details about some of the topics.



Illustration - Topic needs assessment prioritiesDesign and assessment of protege perceived needs for learning in TOPICS by examining topics suggested by research on protege needs (i.e. Veenman, 1984 & Odell, 1986) .

From these PERCEIVED needs, protege views on priorities for learning topics can be determined. Caution, assessment of perceived needs is tricky.

INTEGRATE THESE RESULTS WITH other topics which have emerged since the dates of the research you just used. (e.g. What competencies/standards, technology, accountabilities, etc. are recent priorities for protege learning?)

See an example in the “tools” section of this web site.

WHEN – Mail out on hiring or protege starting in the program and collect prior to new employee or student orientations so the data are a true “base line” indication of initial perceptions of their own needs and not shaped by those orientations.

STEP #2: WHAT- Use the tally of perceived needs data and compare them to:

  1. Local perceived needs data
  2. The research on needs for the same topics
  3. Expert advice on employee needs
  4. Organizational needs (ie. strategic initiatives) and the calendar/events

Reach conclusions about protege needs and training topics likely to best target these needs.

Example - Training Schedule based on assessed needs


  • Schedule protege trainings to reflect priorities seen in needs data
  • Assign staff or external leaders to present and facilitate each training.
  • Inform participants of schedule & requirements for attendance, then…
  • – Inform and invite (optional) thementors to come too.
  • Guide trainers to plan the training’s TENTATIVE AGENDA based on the needs data priorities.



  • Trainers begin development of training content and collection of resources.
  • At the same time, trainers design a needs assessment for their one topic using the CBAM “Stages of Concern”. This means framing assessment questions so results could be displayed on appropriate steps of the CBAM.


How participant needs data might look on the CBAM Stages

  • Send out needs assessment 1 month prior to event
  •  Collect & tally needs assessment data on the topic 2 weeks before training.
  • Display the attendee data on appropriate steps of the CBAM.

STEP #5: WHAT – Needs assessment data on the learners’ “Stages of Concern” is used by the assigned trainers to design their training based on participant needs and the number of participants at each Stage of Concern. For example, if an attendee needs basic information before they can do higher stages of learning, the training should include a presentation of the needed info. If other attendees already have that info and have already started to implement the skill or strategy that is the training focus, their needs will be met by not requiring their attendance until after the basic info is presented and when problem identification and solving are scheduled. Each learner’s needs are met by planning the sequence of activities according to the model of growth (CBAM).



  • Conduct the training according to the plan
  • Assess “stages of concern” for each individual again at end of the training. Display it to show the number of participants who are at each Stage of Concern at the end of the event.


Example - CBAM Post Event Needs DataSTEP #7: WHAT

Compare the new data (post training) against the old data (pre training) “stages of concern” data to see the amount of progress and growth by individuals and the whole training group.

– Decide what needs exist for continued training, for mentor guidance, or for further trainer support for support of better protege implementation of their learning at the training.

– Schedule needed additional training and group level support by trainer.

– Inform mentors of individual stages of concern data and remaining needs for on-going support for implementation.


– Trainers use analysis of stages of concern data and progress found to design follow up group level support and any next training for those who need it.

• Trainers should also use that progress on the Stages of Concern data to plan and implement improvements on their training design just used.


  • Mentors use individual stages of concern data to plan mentoring support for each protégé for the implementation of training.
  • Mentors use observation & coaching to prompt the protege’s reflection, problem solving, and improvement leading to mastery.