Ideas to Enhance Your Mentoring Initiative

by Shawn Mintz

Shawn Mintz, IMA member and founder of Mentor City

Shawn Mintz, IMA member and founder of Mentor City

Have you started a mentoring program or are you thinking about starting one? This is great news because mentoring is one of the most effective ways to transfer knowledge, keep your members energized and engaged, and help them develop important skills. Whether your mentoring initiative is informal or has a formal structure, here are a few ideas on how you can build some buzz.

Have a Mentoring Team

The mentoring team will be responsible for defining the mentoring program’s goals and objectives. They will create a plan outlining the organizational benefits, member benefits, who the mentors and mentees are, the number of projected matches for the year, and how to measure the program’s success.

They will also be responsible for running the program on a day-to-day basis. You should define each team member’s roles and responsibilities. After deciding who will be the project lead, you should appoint individuals to be in charge of training and events, marketing and communications, providing customer service and support to the participants. If you decide to create a virtual resource centre with up-to-date reports, articles, and videos about mentoring, this can be assigned to a team member, as well.

The mentoring team will also want to have regularly scheduled meetings to ensure everything is on track and to start incorporating some of the participants’ feedback into the program.

Promote your Marketing Initiative

Marketing is one of the key components of any successful mentoring program. The trick here is to develop a comprehensive marketing and communications plan for your program’s launch and then to maintain or build the enthusiasm as the program matures and adapts to your company’s needs.

You can create posters, send out a monthly email recognizing your members and sharing success stories, post event photos on your internal/external social media sites, leave a Hershey Kiss with a mentoring tip on everyone’s desk, get media coverage about your initiative, and have your executive ambassadors speak about your mentoring program whenever an opportunity presents itself.

Host Training Sessions and Events

You will want to schedule regular orientation sessions, which can be attended by both mentors and mentees and which will provide everyone with an understanding of how the mentoring program works and its objectives.

You may also want to train your participants in the art of mentorship by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to have meaningful mentoring relationships.

Also, host events that will bring everyone together—you can book inspirational speakers who will address some of the common goals of the mentoring community, such as leadership development, do an express mentoring event (think speed dating), and host a discussion with some of the participants who can share their experiences and answer questions.

Lots of Recognition and Incentives

Build in a few ways to recognize people for participating in your mentoring program, such as recognizing a mentor every week for providing the best piece of advice.

You can also offer points for every mentoring relationship established or the number of hours in a relationship. Points can be redeemed for merchandise, vacation days, gift certificates and professional development.

Another idea is to enter your members in a monthly draw for a mentoring meeting with the CEO over coffee. Nothing will encourage participation more than seeing that everybody in your organization—from the top on down—is invested in the success of the initiative.

About the Author: Shawn Mintz

Shawn Mintz has over 10 years’ experience in the career and employment services sector. He has developed innovative mentoring solutions that have helped thousands of people to achieve greater success.His latest innovation is MentorCity, which is based on several mentoring best practices. The website effectively matches mentees to mentors and then guides them through the mentoring process.

MentorCity can be accessed by everyone at no-cost There are also options to customize MentorCity to reflect your organization’s brand and to establish a mentoring community for your employees, alumni, members, and/or customers