Planner for Working With a Mentor Program Consultant

By Barry Sweeny, 2010     BWS – LINKS IN CHART TO DO


Symbolically, there is consulting, and then there is CONSULTING.

Consulting is more about getting a little help to do something short-term about which you know little or nothing, but for which you want an expert level of help. An example would be someone to deliver a mentor training, or someone to give you guidance about only your next step. The “Consulting Process ”
provided below can probably help define that small step for you, but that’s not what it is particularly designed to do.

CONSULTING is providing expert guidance through an longer term process. This is what this “Planner” is for. More specifically, it’s either the process of designing a NEW, or refining and EXISTING program.

The following check list helps you to . . .

  • Think carefully about the process you will use to design and improve your program. (This may be your only use of this form.)
  • Decide the extent and kinds of help you want from a consultant during the process.

Click on links throughout this plannerfor greater details on many steps in the process.To use it requires a series of THREE decisions.

  1. First, select the steps you want to use (see just below for guidance on this step.)
  2. Next, decide when the steps need to be done. (see below).
  3. Finally, decide if you or the consultant will do each step.

When all finished, print out the completed planner.


Should the Steps In This Program Planner Be Done In the Order Shown?

Although this check list is presented in the order which the author recommends that you work, the actual work sequence can be changed. If you question the sequence for any step, select the step on the planner anyway, and then ask your consultant for his/her ideas when you negotiate the contract to work with them. They may have a reason for the sequence that you have not considered or may agree with you about a different sequence.

Click here if you’d like to see an example of the author’s rationale behind placement of step #21 in the sequence.


How to Use This Planner (PLEASE READ ALL THESE HINTS CAREFULLY.)

The following Consulting Planner is:

  • Appropriate for developing a NEW or improving an EXISTING program
  • Recommended by the author as the best process. However, that does not mean it is always best to do all these steps right now.
  • Recommended to be done in the sequence presented. There are very good reasons for this sequence. (See the rationale behind placement of step #21 for more about this issue.)

1. If all you want is a consultant’s guidance for the design of an effective
program EVALUATION process, you can go directly to the following steps in the planner and skip all the others:

  • Steps 14 A. through 14 G, and
  • Steps 23 through 26.

2. If you just want help with development of aNEEDS
ASSESSMENT, you can go directly to the following steps in the planner and skip all the others:

  • Steps 7 and 8
  • Steps 14B, 14C. and 14 F.

If you want guidance for the design of a needs
assessment
you would develop yourself, click here.


3. If you are designing a NEW program AND want comprehensive help, you should start at the BEGINNING of the Planner.

4. IF you have an EXISTING program, read down from the beginning, and select the steps that you feel:

  • Need to be redone to improve clarity and provide better direction
  • Need to be done because they are missing in your process so far.

6. AS YOU USE THE PLANNER, decide WHEN each of the steps need to be done. Consider organizational and peoples’ readiness for change, or factors like when data are needed to answer key program questions, etc.


7. Decide which of the activities YOU WILL DO, and for which you do NOT WANT a consultant’s advice or guidance.

8. For any of the activities in which you WANT a consultant’s advice, guidance, and/or facilitation, SELECT the level of support you want.

  • “ADVICE” means the consultant would provide you consulting assistance one time before you do the process.
  • “GUIDANCE” is more on-going advice & problem solving at any time DURING a process.
  • “LEADING” means the consultant would actually LEAD that step in the rocess so you can be a participant.
  • “DO IT” means that you want the consultant to actually do that step for you, so you and your staff DON’T have to do it.

9. After you have completed the appropriate parts of this checklist:


A Planner for People Working WITH a Consultant

WHEN WILL IT BE DONE? LEVEL OF ASSISTANCE DESIRED?
THE STEPS IN THE ONSULTING PROCESS
FOR PROGRAM DESIGN & IMPROVEMENT
THIS YEAR NEXT YEAR LATEROR NEVER YOU WILL DO THE ACTIVITY BY YOURSELF WANT CONSULTANT
ADVICE, BEFORE YOU DO IT YOURSELF
WANT CONSULTANT
ADVICE BEFORE & GUIDANCE AS YOU DO IT
WANT CONSULTANT
ADVICE & GUIDANCE & FOR the CONSULTANT TO DO IT
1. Create a program planning group (PPG):A. Identify needed institutional & constituency partners

(See an explanation)
B. Identify, contact & recruit representatives

2. Discuss and define desired results, and write a program purpose statement
3. Discuss and define/select the conceptual framework underlying participant development & improvement of results. (See an explanation)
4. Discuss and define links among this program and other existing improvement initiatives
(See explanation)

5. Search the relevant literature for program & participant best practices linked to desired results:A. Collect articles and research reports This yr. Next yr. Later? Do it yourself Want advice but do it your self Want advice & guidance but do it your self Want advice, guidance & the consultant to do it
B. Read articles and write summaries of content(See info on pros & cons of doing a literature search)

6. Presentation to the PPG of the best practices linked to desired results

7. Assessment of local needsA.Protege needs
B. Organizational needs (retention, improved performance, etc.)

8. Review information & select appropriate strategies:A. Discuss research information & data This yr. Next yr. Later? Do it yourself Want advice but do it your self Want advice & guidance but do it your self Want advice, guidance & the consultant to do it
B. Reach conclusions about which needs to address
C. Reach conclusions about program strategies, components & participant practices that will address selected needs

9. Set measurable long-term program goals and shorter-term objectives for each of the first three years – (See an explanation)
10. Discuss & set a program implementation time line

11. Define participant expectations, roles & tasks:

A. For proteges
B. For a program coordinator
C. For managers at various levels

12. Discuss and define necessary
participant incentives & recognition
13. Define or assess what each participant group already knows and can do related to expectations, role & tasks and what they will need to learn thru training. this yr. next yr. Later? Do it yourself Want advice but do it your self Want advice & guidance but do it your self Want advice, guidance & the consultant to do it

14. Plan the program evaluation:A. Develop parameters & standards for program evaluation

(See an explanation of “parameters & standards“)

B. Define evaluation questions to be answered based on future decisions to be made by and about the program.
C. Defineaudiences
for evaluation data, conclusions & recommendations(See explanation of “audiences”)

D. Discuss & select measurable indicators to evaluate

* Completion of planned program activities & extent of program implementation

(See explanation of “indicators”)

* Completion of planned participant activities & extent of implementation of desired practices
* Attainment of program goals and objectives
* Professional growth of participants & leaders (such as changes in levels of professional function on conceptual framework)(See an example) this yr. next yr. Later? Do it yourself Want advice but do it your self Want advice & guidance but do it your self Want advice, guidance & the consultant to do it
* Extent to which identified needs are met
* Extent of change in professional practices by participants and leaders
* Changes in the final desired results

E. Check alignment of evaluation indicators to program goals & objectives(See an explanation of this step.)

F. Define data collection process:* Identify target audiences from which to collect data this yr. next yr. Later? Do it yourself Want advice but do it your self Want advice & guidance but do it your self Want advice, guidance & the consultant to do it
* Identify or create tools needed to collect data & decide if you need to validate these tools(See an explanation)(validate)
* Define data collection, analysis, and reporting process & time line
* Select person(s) responsible for implementation of evaluation plan

G. Develop targets for improvement for each indicator.(See an explanation of this step)
H. Observe, survey & collect the data using designed instruments
I. Collate,tally and analyze the data, thenwrite a report with conclusions &recommendations
15. Discuss, define and plan participant selection (& matching?) processes & criteria.(May not be needed in non mentoring programs.) this yr. next yr. later? Do it yourself Want advice but do it your self Want advice & guidance but do it your self Want advice, guidance & the consultant to do it
16. Discuss, define program leadership needs & plan program leadership training & support needed.
17. Discuss, define & plan participant training & support needed.

18. Discuss, define & plan other needed program activities & their coordination.
19. Define resources and budget needed to support the program.
20. Prepare a program proposal for use in seeking the resources & budget needed to support the program.(See Barry’s recommendations for this step.)
21. Communicate with and seek program support from key decision makers.(See rationale for placement of this step at this point in the sequence)

22. Use your program proposal to seek grant funding for initial implementation until you can show data regarding program impact to your organization’s decision makers and gain sufficient support from them. this yr. next yr. Later? Do it yourself Want advice but do it your self Want advice & guidance but do it your self Want advice, guidance & the consultant to do it
23. Implement plans according to the implementation time line.
24. Implement needed program revisions. (Those you want the consultant to guide or advise you about, or to do for you.)
25. Report to decision makers and participants on program and participant progress with implementation and on progress toward goals.

All done? Now… Print a copy of this information for yourself and your consultant.

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