M2.05. Recording and reviewing the mentoring process

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.