M2.03. Analysing the conditions relevant to the mentoring process at the workplace

2. Uncover problems regarding the learner’s job satisfaction or mentoring process thanks to inputs from the mentee

Mentoring is “to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be” (Eric Parsloe, The Oxford School of Coaching & Mentoring).

Putting the mentee first: An effective mentoring programme ensures that it fully understands the circumstances and specific needs of its clients and delivers a service which is geared to serving their best interests and supporting their individual progress. A statement of the values will signal commitment to providing a service which reflects the mission and vision of the programme and which demonstrates good practice. For example, we aim to:
  • provide structured and supported relationships that meet the needs of the mentee and the mentor;
  • promote caring and supportive relationships;
  • encourage individuals to develop to their fullest potential;
  • help individuals develop their own vision for the future.
Mentors and mentees should build in a regular review of the relationship and the progress they are making. Failure to do this can reduce the chances of achieving the goals which have been set – goals and actions need to adapt and in some instances change as things progress. If you do not monitor and review the quality of the relationship regularly and with honesty, problems may go unrecognised or acknowledged causing, in some instances, irreparable damage to the relationship. Mentoring is a protected relationship in which learning and experimentation occur through analysis, examination, re-examination and reflection on practice, situations, problems, mistakes and successes (of both the mentors and the mentees) to identify learning opportunities and gaps. Mentoring is about helping the learner/mentee to grow in self-confidence and develop independence, autonomy and maturity.
The mentoring relationship is a special relationship where two people make a real connection with each other. In other words they form a bond. It is built on mutual trust and respect, openness and honesty where each party can be themselves. It is a powerful and emotional relationship. The mentoring relationship enables the mentee to learn and grow in a safe and protected environment.
As a Mentor, it can be very easy to want to just jump in and solve Mentee’s problems for him/her. However, Mentor’s role is to help the Mentee think for him/herself, and to do so, this involves asking thought-provoking questions in order to help Mentee to reflect on his/her experiences and learn from Mentor’s ones. Dialogue between Mentor and Mentee is an opportunity to:
  • Uncover additional facts and information about the mentee;
  • Confirm mentee’s goals, aspirations, and needs;
  • Explore strong feeling about situations;
  • Define problems and possible solutions;
  • Discover mentee’s commitment to his/her growth.
Monitoring and evaluation strategy: It’s important to establish the strategy for monitoring and evaluating impact during the early design stage and integrate it into the day to day activity. This will provide evidence to guide on-going quality improvement and enhancement.

Monitoring is conducted on an on-going basis as a health check, allowing for early intervention when things go off-plan or to alter aspects of the programme in light of experience. Mentors and mentees should be primary contributors to the process of monitoring and to the final evaluation. Asking them what they found most useful and what they feel needs to change will empower participants and provide valuable evidence about their experience of mentoring. Methods of gathering monitoring data can include:
  • scheduled meetings with mentors and mentees;
  • methods for collecting on-going feedback (suggestion boxes, mentor supervision sessions);
  • written records e.g. meeting logs, action plans which track the mentee’s journey;
  • evidence from support and or supervision sessions with mentors;
It’s important to ensure that the purpose of the evaluation is clear, knowing what to evaluate will help identify where goals have been met and to what extent. Demonstrate and communicate results which show that the programme has made a difference.
The evaluation process should be based on an outcome analysis of the programme and of the mentoring relationships.
Suggested methods of gathering evaluation data:
  • interviews or feedback sessions (singly or as groups) with mentors, mentees and line managers at appropriate intervals;
  • include exit interviews;
  • focus groups;
  • self-report questionnaires from mentors and mentees. Decide how often this is done. This will depend to some extent on the duration of the mentoring activity;
  • assessment of achieved and missed milestones, goals and outcomes which are identified and recorded through action planning processes against desired outcomes.