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Articles     by The The Growth Connection
© Copyright The Growth Connection Pty. Ltd. 1999-2012


Case Study - Education Queensland

In this article we look at one of nine mentoring programs currently implemented at Education Queensland. Jan Alen has been involved in doing a great deal of work with women within Education Queensland. In this interview we cover one of their mentoring programs designed to develop women.

  • When did your mentoring program commence?
    In 1993.

  • What are the objectives of your mentoring program?
    To develop the skills and knowledge of women in education, to support informal networking as well as acknowledge the valuable skills women have to share with other women.

  • Who is your target group?
    Women aspiring to leadership positions, as well as indigenous and NESB women.

  • How are mentors selected?
    Mentors are self-nominated and encouraged to participate.

  • How do mentors and mentorees come together?
    We use a combination of the following: - mentoree chooses a mentor from the self-nominated pool of women; mentor chooses mentoree; and a mentoree specifies their needs, then an appropriate mentor is matched.

    Flexibility to meet women's needs is the key.

    Some mentors were selected by groups of women to be mentored in the skills or areas identified.

  • What mentor model(s) do you use?
    Again we use a combination to maximise success. The main mentoring models we use are one/one, one mentor/group of mentorees, and peer mentoring.

  • Are mentors and mentorees trained?
    Yes, mentors and mentorees are trained. They attend a two day program that covers areas like negotiation skills, listening skills, counselling skills, clarifying goals, developing mentoring agreements, and their role and responsibilities.

  • Do they have a mentoring agreement?
    Yes, guidelines are provided for them to develop their own agreement.

  • What time frame does the mentoring relationship cover?
    This depends on the needs of the women - it could be anything from several weeks to one year. The formal part of the program is just the beginning for many women who have participated. Some of the relationships are still continuing in 1997, four years on.

  • What role did Senior Management play in the program?
    Senior Management endorsed the program as part of an effective EEO strategy for women.

  • How did you communicate the program to the organisation?
    The program was communicated through publications, association networks eg. AWE (Association of Women Educators), journals and the EEO Management Plan.

  • What difficulties have arisen within the mentoring program?
    Some difficulties that have arisen include the energy levels of some participants, some different expectations, and lack of time.

  • What elements have worked particularly well?
    The following elements have worked particularly well:
    Social and informal networks
    Professional development
    Provides a legitimate focus for women
    AWE support (Association of Women Educators)
    Outcomes for the women - expected and unexpected
    Changing of roles from mentoree to mentor

  • What benefits have been derived from the program?
    Benefits include:
    Increase in the number of women gaining promotion
    Provides a focus for women to learn from other women
    Collegial support
    Development of sustained women's networks

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