Each week, I get inquiries from a prospective client to enhance their mentoring program. When I ask if they train people on how to engage in mentoring, the answer is often "Yes." Without asking about the quality of that training, I ask if they train mentorees as well as mentors and the answer is often "No." This is one of the most serious mistakes made in a mentoring program. This means that one-half of the partnership doesn't know what they are doing within that relationship!
If we remember that mentoring is about establishing a specific type of relationship, it doesn't make any sense to train one person about how it works and leave the other half out. Mentoring involves a mutual partnership and one can't be a complete partner if he/she doesn’t have the same understanding as his/her mentor or mentoree.
I think a number of people don't train mentorees because they confuse informal mentoring with formal mentoring. Formal mentoring has structure and has a specific purpose which necessitates explaining how this type of relationship works. To not do so at all or to only train one half of the partnership significantly reduces the effectiveness of any mentoring program.
Another reason I often hear that companies train only mentors is the cost involved. That is a legitimate concern when you consider bringing all parties together in a classroom setting where travel expenses are involved. However in today's technological age, there is mentoring e-learning. This is very cost effective and within the budgets of most organizations.
So if you want to get the most out of your mentoring program, be sure to train both your mentors and mentorees in understanding how to effectively engage in a formal mentoring relationship!
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