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The Growth Connection
Mentoring Connections Newsletter
June / July 2004
In this issue
Welcome to the second edition of our mentoring newsletter. It is a little later and a little shorter than we planned, due to a death in the family and related overseas travel. However, the next edition will make up for it!
As mentoring programs continue to proliferate in organisations and - a very positive addition for Australia - into community mentoring, it is perhaps timely to remember a few basic principles. The many benefits of mentoring now have a solid body of national and international research and experience on which to base effective program designs, yet, some programs fail.
Because mentoring is a 'natural process' some program managers and co-ordinators assume that programs will just happen, if there is a group of mentors and a group who need mentoring.
Not so. The key to success is sufficient framework and support to facilitate and manage the process while the mentoring relationships feel as much like informal mentoring as possible. It is a delicate balance. More about this in our next newsletter.
Meanwhile, the mentoring program killers remain:
Thank you for the enthusiastic response to our first Newsletter. We enjoy hearing from you so please send requests for articles and mentoring tips, examples of your mentoring experience to share, and comments on the Newsletter.
Details of the next mentoring Connections Network Meeting in Sydney will be in our next newsletter.
John Eddy, Director of Human Resources spoke about the mentoring experience at Citibank at our first 'Mentoring Connections' meeting for 2004. He described their mentoring approach, and how this aligned with broader organisation-wide talent management strategies.
In 1997, Citibank implemented a mentoring program in partnership with The Growth Connection to support their two year Management Associates program for graduates.
The program has been an enduring success, and in 2003 there were two groups, including Citibank secondees from Shanghai developing their skills and careers in Australia.
The mentoring program has proven to be a valuable, effective support to the Management Associates as they rotate through different business segments. From an organisational perspective mentors take a wider, strategic view of the progress of the new employees, while the Sponsoring and Rotational Managers retain day to day responsibility for the MA's progress.
MA's have consistent, trusted support over the two years and develop real corporate knowledge at a faster rate.
To date, there has been 100% retention of the MA's for the last three annual intakes; the feedback from their Sponsoring/Rotational Managers has been excellent and the current graduates are on track to exceed the deliverables required on their first rotation.
Michael Danby, a graduate of the Management Associates program, also presented at the March meeting. In the next issue we will share his views on mentoring within Citibank, from the mentoree perspective.
Youth mentoring is one of the 'hot topics' in the media today. Mentoring has long been established in the corporate world and in universities in Australia, but (unlike the US) it has had a much slower start in supporting the needs of Australia's youth. However, there is a growing recognition of mentoring as a:
"cost efficient, practical and very personal means of enabling disenfranchised young people to remain connected to key social and economic institutions, including education, training, work, family and community." 1
In mid May, three of Australia's largest community mentoring organisations, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Smith Family and Dusseldorp Skills Forum (DSF) released a joint plan to help governments promote high quality mentoring programs. Youth mentoring is also receiving attention from both sides of government. The Howard government is accelerating spending on its mentoring initiative 'Mentoring Marketplace' 2
The Labor opposition has announced a National Mentoring Program as part of its policy platform. The intention is to facilitate mentoring programs with a focus on youth, and plans to allocate $33 million to support 'seed' money for resources, training, sharing information and successful models, guidelines ie through a website, and aiming for 10,000 youth mentors and 11,000 'training' mentors.
What are the key features of effective youth mentoring programs? Success elements seem to differ depending on the program type, but five basic themes emerge: 3
And what are the outcomes of such programs? Dr John Spierings, researcher for the DSF states that the Department of Education and Training identified a number of positive outcomes for a NSW based program (Plan-It Youth), including increased HSC retention, improved school attendance, increased apprenticeship / traineeship numbers, improved social skills and improved mentor employability.
In the future, it is hoped that government will continue to give youth mentoring the support it needs by creating a national youth mentoring strategy and providing ongoing support to ensure its success.
1. Mentoring and young people: an idea for our time; J.S. Spierings, Campus Review 14/19, May 2004. 2. Be a man - be a mentor, blokes told; Adele Horin, SMH, May 19, 2004. 3. Role models for young people: What makes an effective role model program? J. MacAllum and S. Beltman, National Youth Affairs Research Scheme, 2002.
Mentee's Guide to Mentoring (1999, HRD Press, Massachusetts)
This book is an excellent guide for mentees, whether they are in a formal mentoring program or pursuing an informal mentoring relationship. It focuses on how to set up and maintain the communications with the mentor and manage the relationship to achieve the objectives agreed between the mentoring participants. It largely assumes a one on one mentoring relationship and includes the tips and techniques for a successful experience in the most commonly used mentoring model.
The mentee's responsibility in taking an active and collaborative role in developing their own learning environment and outcome is emphasised.
Fifteen of the most common aspects of the mentoring relationship are set out simply and comprehensively. It includes the value and 'how to' of journalling the mentoring experience and tracking the mentee's development.
A bonus is that the book contains pointers for training content in mentoring workshops.
It is an accessible well structured resource for mentees.
www.coachingnetwork.org.uk The Coaching & Mentoring Network was established to provide a service both for people who provide coaching or mentoring services and for those seeking them. They are a community portal and resource centre on the Internet for information and services relating to coaching and mentoring.
www.dsf.org.au/mentor This is the website of Mentoring Australia, the national association of community based mentors and mentoring programs. Its members are mentors, educators and researchers and its objectives include creating a communication network for mentoring programs to share ideas and resources, promoting mentoring, and benchmarking principles of good practice.
www.growconnect.com.au Don't forget to visit The Growth Connection's own website. Of special interest to researchers could be our links to many other mentoring websites around the world.
1. Stand By Me - Developing and Understanding Mentoring for Young People; August 31 - September 2, 2004 in Melbourne, Vic.
2. 11th European Mentoring and Coaching Conference; November 18-19, 2004 in Brussels, Belgium.
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