Our mission at the Over My Shoulder Foundation is to raise the awareness of Mentorology, which is the art and science of mentoring. Both the organization’s co-founder, Patti Austin, and myself have benefited tremendously from the mentoring relationships that we’ve experienced throughout our lives, and we believe that mentors will play a powerful role in Designing the Next Generation.
We often use our blog to share mentoring success stories and have touched on how to establish a company mentorship program. Before getting started with designing a mentoring program for your organization, though, it’s important to first identify the need.
Perhaps your overall goal of the program is to develop loyal and competent leaders to run and manage the company in the future. Another objective could be to create a mentorship program specifically for women to help encourage their growth up the corporate ladder. Regardless of your reason, there has to be an actual need, and uncovering this should always be the first step in how to start a mentoring program.
Once the need for the mentorship program is identified, you can begin designing the parameters of the program to determine how it will best function and serve your need. For example, if the goal of your mentorship program is to improve the lives of the underprivileged youth in your community, you may consider partnering with a local school. You will also need to consider where and how often mentors will meet with their mentees, how goals will be measured, the length of the program, how staff will provide necessary support to program participants and so forth.