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Creating an Effective Mentoring Program, Part 6: Mentoring Program Guidelines and Tips

Faculty Development Faculty Recruitment and Retention

Creating an Effective Mentoring Program, Part 6: Mentoring Program Guidelines and Tips

effective mentoring programs part 6
At the beginning stages of a successful mentoring program, you must provide appropriate development and clear expectations for your mentors. Your program’s success will largely depend on how well you mentor your mentors. Don’t expect them to be expert mentors just because they may be excellent researchers or teachers.

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At the beginning stages of a successful mentoring program, you must provide appropriate development and clear expectations for your mentors. Your program’s success will largely depend on how well you mentor your mentors. Don’t expect them to be expert mentors just because they may be excellent researchers or teachers. You may wish to use a repeatable four-step pattern to foster self-reliance in your mentors:
  1. Don’t simply tell them what to do; show them what is expected.
  2. Give feedback and guidance as needed to help them as they practice new skills.
  3. Give them sufficient time and resources to work on new skills. Reassure them that you are available, as needed, to watch them to see where additional support or redevelopment may be needed.
  4. Give them the freedom they need to perform the tasks without your direct involvement, and let them put their own flair on it.
Help your mentors look for ways to use this same general pattern with their mentees. The further this process develops, the less involved trainers should become. As mentees assume more ownership and responsibility, their capacity to solve problems and resolve concerns should increase. The following additional principles and practices can help program administrators work effectively with mentors and mentees: Successful mentoring programs require clarity of focus, clear vision and expectations, open communication, frequent monitoring, appropriate adaptability, and ongoing development for the mentors. All participants, including supervisors and program administrators, must remain vigilant and active to ensure success. This is the sixth in a series of seven articles about creating and maintaining an effective mentoring program.   Kenneth L. Alford, PhD, is a professor at Brigham Young University. Tyler J. Griffin, PhD, is an associate teaching professor at Brigham Young University. Reach them at Ken_Alford@byu.edu and Tyler_Griffin@byu.edu.