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M2.05. Recording and reviewing the mentoring process

Site: EcoMentor Blended Learning VET Course
Course: Course for mentor in the sector of eco-industry
Book: M2.05. Recording and reviewing the mentoring process
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Monday, 19 October 2020, 11:06 PM

1. Analysis of the mentoring process and mentoring types

Among many mentoring kinds/types, we may distinguish:

  • informal mentoring
  • formal mentoring

Informal mentoring: usually has a dyadic form (it is traditional, individual). Relation with the mentor is established gradually and it is difficult to unambiguously indicate its beginning. The mentor-mentee relation is developing naturally, without interference from the side of an organisation (workplace). This type of mentoring may be commenced both by the mentee and by the mentor. The need for being needed constitutes the mentor's motivation to start an informal mentoring. However, there prevails the opinion that the future mentee is more often an initiator.

Informal mentoring does not depend on social roles played by the mentor (master). In this case, the mentoring relation is long-term, referring to various aspects of learner's functioning. Usually, it is described with great intimacy and familiarity resulting from the similarity of the system of values and (mentee's) perception of the mentor as a role model. The mentor perceives a "younger version" of itself in its mentee.

This mentoring type is more satisfying (informal relations develop slowly, so building trust is easier and relations - deeper), as mentors performing their function by their choice are more involved, while personality match of the mentor and the mentee is generally better.

In this case, the mentoring process analysis is based on an agreement (often spoken) between the mentor and the mentee. Analysing progress within the scope of learning, meeting the mentoring goals is based on honest conversations, analyses founded on mutual trust. The mentor's communication skills and competences concerning the feedback provision are highly important.

Formal mentoring is the second mentoring type, significant from the point of view of assessment and analysis of the process. It is usually initiated by company representatives (in the workplace), while the mentor's function constitutes here an element of corporate culture related to the transfer of knowledge and skills by more experienced employees. Within the framework of formal mentoring, we may have to deal with individual mentoring (often supported by e-mentoring), but usually it is the mentor's relation with a group of mentees (group mentoring). This mentoring type corresponds well with the working environment (mentor: experienced employee – mentee: young, lay employee, intern).
Here the mentoring relation is usually concentrated on the achievement of objectives determined by the mentee, compliant with the enterprise's objectives, and is subject to assessment by the organisation.

Now the majority of organisations implements mentoring in a systemic way. Usually, we have to do with formal and group mentoring (with elements of or only in the form of e-mentoring), while the mentoring process is supervised by persons responsible for human resources management. Process standardisation consists mainly in the establishment of the method of monitoring the mentoring process, i.e. answer to the following questions:


Is mentoring conducted within the framework of some project for which external financial support has been acquired?

- If yes, usually its provisions impose the monitoring obligations and tools that should be applied
- If not, subsequent question should be formulated:

Is it necessary to report the course of the mentoring process for the achievement of an enterprise's strategy objectives, implementation of the human resources development policy?

- If yes, decide:

  • how often reporting should be conducted (frequency should depend on the assumed duration of the mentoring process and on frequency of assumed meetings/consultations of the mentor and the mentee),
  • to what extent and how the mentoring process reports are to be prepared? – it should be kept in mind that the mentor-mentee relation is based on trust, while the mentoring contract always includes a spoken provision or agreement concerning confidentiality that must be kept.

- If not, subsequent question should be formulated:

How will we verify effectiveness of the implemented mentoring process?

- i.e. establishment of who and according to what criteria shall assess effectiveness of the mentor-mentee work.
It should be kept in mind that assessments may be external, but it can also be a mutual assessment system (or combination of both systems).

If mentoring is implemented in the organisation gradually as a formal mentoring, within the framework of the process employees must have all the information concerning assessment, monitoring of the learning progress in the organisation, and access to documentation concerning their progress, achievement of objectives, etc. Clear (simple) and efficient communication appears to be crucial in this process.

2. Principles and methods of assessment and monitoring of the mentee's progress

Correctly planned and executed mentoring process assumes continuous monitoring, combined with feedback for the mentee. The mentee's progress assessment should consider principles of assessment of adult education. Therefore, if adult motivation for learning (while mentoring is a form of learning, available at various stages of professional development) is determined by the following factors:

  • success (belief in the capability of learning new things and skills)
  • will (co-determination of a form and content of performed educational activities)
  • value (benefits for use in professional and everyday life)
  • pleasure (satisfaction)

description of methods of assessment and monitoring of the mentee's progress is worth of being referred to this scheme.

Success constitutes the combination of the principle of individualisation and compensation.

The individualisation principle refers to the preferred learning styles – therefore, assessment should include an answer to the question whether, within the scope of mentoring, as a mentee I am provided with learning methods and tools adjusted to my needs, so also the communication method? This principle is easier to be respected in the individual mentoring (especially informal), as every standardisation related to formal mentoring entails lesser individualisation.
Compensation – related to equality of educational opportunities, is significant, if in the mentoring process our mentees are at various age, with different educational experience. Assessment should cover the following aspects: whether in the mentoring process one draws attention to various educational experience of participants? whether in case of significant diversification mutual learning from each other is possible (elements of lateral mentoring)?

Will is the co-determination of a form and content of performed educational activities. By assumption, mentoring is a process in which the mentee defines goals that it wants to meet. The mentor accompanies it at creative discovery and development of its potential.
Questions worth of being asked as a part of assessment of the mentee's progress include:

  • does mentoring suit my educational needs?
  • if it is formal mentoring in which the organisation defines the main goals, do my individual developmental goals correspond with them?
  • what is my relation with the mentor, is it a partner relation assuming bilateral cooperation? are educational goals my goals, or are they formulated "top-down" by the mentor?

Value, that is benefits for use in professional and everyday life
Here, professional and practical knowledge and experience of the process participants constitute the starting point. Mentoring may be treated as training of skills acquired previously and transferred by experienced employees to learners (trainer-player relation). The mentee acquires skills of efficient operation in a given sector, discipline.
Questions worth of being asked as a part of assessment of the mentee's progress include:

  • can I apply new skills acquired in mentoring in everyday work and which one?
  • does my experience constitute the basis for sharing with others?

Pleasure (satisfaction) - mutual respect and the principle of inclusion.
In mentoring, trust and respect for oneself, as well as drawing up objectives and activities that will allow for meeting goals are crucial. Realistic goal setting and their proper staging guarantees satisfaction with the learning progress (positive satisfaction consisting in achieving small successes). Mentoring, especially for new employees, is also a type of socialisation (which is assumed by the principle of inclusion), getting to know a group and a team with whom somebody works. This principle may be particularly useful in international companies, where an aspect of getting to know and understanding cultural differences often constitutes an element of mentoring.
Questions worth of being asked as a part of assessment of the mentee's progress include:

  • is the relation between the mentee and the mentor based on respect?
  • do I achieve small successes throughout the educational process (perform activities that bring me closer to achievement of the assumed goals)?
  • does the mentoring process affect better cognition of colleagues, team integration?

3. Feedback in the learning progress assessment and in the mentoring process

In order to make self-improvement and achievement of assumed objectives conscious and motivating, it is necessary to provide the mentee with constructive feedback. Feedback provision constitutes one of the most important tools for the mentor's disposal, allowing for affecting the mentee's competences and behaviour, notifying it of its progress and what else it should learn. The mentee must accept (with understanding) feedback, approve the transferred content and respond to feedback in the form of specific activities (sometimes adjustment of adopted goals).

Feedback constitutes one of communication methods. Communication is a key element of mentoring, but when conducted incorrectly it may constitute a serious barrier to it. The most frequent communication errors affecting the mentoring process concern:

  • lack of skill to take a look at the situation from the speaker's perspective (inability to empathise with somebody)
  • susceptibility to emotions
  • perceptual difficulties, but also mood
  • use of stereotypes
  • criticising, threatening and insulting the speaker
  • commanding
  • preaching
  • interrupting and confrontational attitude
  • failure to listen and selective attention
  • decision-making for the other person
  • advice offering
  • being convinced of one's right (without orientation to dialogue)
  • lack of a clearly specified purpose of conversation (communication)

 

Feedback constitutes the most important tool at the mentor's disposal in order to provide the mentee with information on progress and assessment of activities in the mentoring process.

To be effective, feedback must meet the following criteria:

  • The mentor's motives must be clear, there is no place for such emotions as anger or resentment.
  • Statement must be coherent – verbal and non-verbal signs should be compliant with each other, moreover permanent eye contact is recommended.
  • The speaker (here mentor) should speak only in its own name, use the I-message, e.g. "I don't see any commitment from your side..."
  • Feedback should be oriented towards the future and one's expectations, instead of past errors and their reproaching.
  • Feedback should help, instead of destroying interpersonal relations, that is why it should be problem-oriented, not people-oriented. Feedback should concern an issue, task, behaviour, instead of a person or feature that it has.
  • Feedback should indicate specific behaviour on which the given mentee may have influence. It should refer to a specific situation, as generalisation and such phrases as "always", "everybody", "never", received by the mentee as unfair and offending, should be avoided.
  • Feedback should include the comparison with an applicable standard, and not with other employees, as it should be describing, not assessing.
  • Remember that messages (should be simple) should be addressed only to the interested person.
  • Feedback should occur shortly after an event it concerns, it should include justifications so that an addressee (mentee) may understand why the communicated information is important.
  • Feedback should be provided in a deliberate and accurate way, it should never transform into providing advice
  • One should ensure (by asking questions) that an interlocutor understood what one wanted to say.
  • Remember that nothing works better than one's own example – so care about coherence of what you expect with an example you give with your behaviour.

4. Feedback provision methods and techniques

In order to provide feedback in an effective, efficient and successful way, it is worth to learn about feedback provision methods and techniques, including:

  • I-message
  • information sandwich
  • FUO model
  • model "keep it up"

 

I-message - it is to express one's feelings related to some situation and to formulate one's expectations concerning this situation.
The I-message includes four parts:

  • FEELING – we describe our current feelings related to a given situation – I feel
  • SITUATION – we present facts, description of a specific situation – when you
  • RESULT – we indicate results of a given situation (its consequences) – because
  • EXPECTATION – we disclose our expectations concerning the mentee – I want you to

We formulate the I-message with use of the following phrases: I feel / when you / because / I want you to

Remember! The I-message does not include assessments, focuses attention (of mentor and mentee) on action, facts, not on a person. It facilitates the problem solution, simultaneously not causing negative emotions and not violating the speakers' limits. It focuses attention on important issues and allows for the adjustment of behaviour. It is the clear information on the addresser's feelings and needs, thus making communication more specific and honest.
Thanks to the I-message development principles, it performs well e.g. in the superior-subordinate communication or between persons with a large age difference.

 

Information sandwich is the feedback provision method in which we include praise and criticism against the learner. We start from positive information. Then we say what is wrong, that is we communicate negative information. At the end, we say something positive to end optimistically.
The information sandwich scheme is as follows:

 

 

The third model of feedback provision is FUO

The FUO model is an acronym of names of parts that form it:

  • FACTS (F) – naming, defining a specific behaviour
  • ATTITIUDE (U) – definition of emotions and one's response to the learner's given behaviour in the area/place of work – consequences for me/company resulting from the other person's behaviour
  • EXPECTATION (O) – information on the preferred and/or recommended (by us as a mentor) behaviour

 

 

The fourth feedback provision model is named: "keep it up" (it is named also "square in square")

The "keep it up" model contains five elements:

  1. Start doing something you have not been doing so far and what would contribute to the improvement of your performance
  2. Stop doing something that puts you off achieving good results
  3. More – do more of what you have already been doing, but what, when intensified, would let you improve your performance
  4. Less – reduce intensity of works that do not require such an expenditure of labour or can be reduced without harming the results
  5. Keep it up – what works very well and what is worth of being continued