Mentoring/Apprenticeship, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Mentoring is a common tool used by many organizations to teach younger members of an organization, called protégés, certain attributes to be passed down from a senior member, called a mentor (United States Office of Personnel Management, 2008).  The goal of a mentoring program is to develop these certain attributes in the protégé upon successfully completing a mentoring program according to the guide on mentoring, The Best Practices: Mentoring. The mentoring process has many different uses in both the public and private sector by promoting positive developmental and organizational outcomes.  A common example of how mentoring programs are implemented is they are used by companies to train new or younger employees by senior employees for the sake of career development.

There are many reasons why organizations start and maintain mentoring programs (United States Office of Personnel Management, 2008).  Mentoring is used as part of the recruitment and “onboarding” process by attracting potential employees, while training new employees.  These programs are used at enhancing an employee’s skills and enhancing their professional identities by defining what it means to be a professional in their work environment. Thus, mentoring programs are used for career development, such as leadership and management mentoring programs that teach employees leadership competencies and providing education support between practical application and theory for a protégé while on the job.

There are many problems associated with poorly planned and implemented mentoring programs (United States Office of Personnel Management, 2008).  Lack of participation in a program by either by the mentor or protégé, no leadership involvement of maintaining the program, unrealistic expectations, and other factors that contribute to a poor mentoring program can prevent a mentoring program from succeeding.  Mentoring programs demand appropriate understanding of objective planning and implementation, as well as long term maintenance to make the program a success  To develop a mentoring program, there are generic steps an organization can follow to form the program successfully.  First an organization has to assess its needs as how would the organization and the people in the program benefit.  Once the needs of the organization have been established, then a road map of the program needs to be set up around those needs.  This means setting goals for the mentoring program, defining the targeted population, determining the duration of the program, the mentoring program’s budget and other related factors.

After a roadmap has been worked, it is important to make sure senior members of the organization are onboard to market the program for recruitment, such as a company’s senior employees advertising the program to newer employees (United States Office of Personnel Management, 2008).  Additionally, a newly created mentoring program needs to be managed and maintained, so it is recommended that the program has a program manager and a steering committee.  The program manager is a full-time member of the organization whose role is dedicated to managing and implementing the program, while the steering committee is a group of members from different departments that sets the goals of the program.

Once a mentoring program has been established, there is a generic series of steps that to implement the program from the planning phase to the maintenance phase (United States Office of Personnel Management, 2008).  First, the program has to be advertised to market and recruit mentors and protégés for the organization by showcasing the benefits to both.  Some of the benefits of being a mentor that can be advertised are could be renewing their enthusiasm for being the role of an expert, obtaining a greater understanding of barriers experienced at lower levels, enhancing their coaching skills, developing a leadership style, and sharing knowledge.  For the protégé, benefits by being in the program that could be advertised are making a smoother transition into a career, furthering their potential as a professional, learning the ability to translate values and strategies into actions, and demonstrating their strengths

After mentors and protégés have been found, it would then be important to match mentors with protégés who work the best together for the greatest benefit and conduct an orientation program to get new members acclimated to the program (United States Office of Personnel Management, 2008).  A part of the orientation program would include instruction guides for mentors and protégés to outline the roles of being a mentor and protégé with the outcomes expected of the program, and instruction guides for supervisors for their support to the program.  Once everybody’s roles have been established, a pilot program can be conducted to streamline the mentoring program.

The program should provide a mentoring agreement, to make sure both the mentor and protégé adhere to the programs duration and successfully complete its goals (United States Office of Personnel Management, 2008). The mentoring program should also have their protégés develop a personal action plan for protégés to set their own goals and developmental activities to complete these goals.  Topics should be provided by the program manager for the mentor and protégé to discuss during meetings as well as developmental activities for the protégés to further develop their training within the program.  An evaluation should be conducted periodically that both the mentor and protégé are successfully completing the program, and upon successful completion of the program some signature of the protégé’s graduation should be recognized.

Some other factors to consider when creating or implementing a mentoring program include the type of mentor program and the type of mentor desired in the program (United States Office of Personnel Management, 2008).   Some programs are formal, meaning they are structured with more oversight and have specific goals. Formal mentoring programs are often used, for example, as onboarding programs for new employees to better navigate the new work environment.  Informal mentoring is usually reserved for interpersonal enhancement, and may not have a goal.

Generally there are four types of mentors, career guides, information sources, friends, and intellectual guides (United States Office of Personnel Management, 2008). Career guides promote career development through career counseling. Information sources provide information about formal and informal expectations. Friends interact with a protégé socially, and provide information about people. Lastly, intellectual guides promote equal relationships with their protégé by collaborating on research projects and providing feedback.

There are many reasons why an organization would implement a mentoring program. (United States Office of Personnel Management, 2008).  The needs of the organization will dictate the type of mentoring program, the type of mentors, the programs development and implementation to guarantee its success.  There have been several studies that document what makes a mentoring program a success.  Two used for the purpose of this paper involve a study on using mentoring to train administrators collaborating between different charities and a study on setting up laboratory mentoring programs in African countries based upon the experience of the authors of the study.

In the research paper titled Using Mentoring to Train Charities Managers to Inter-Organizational Collaboration, Dr. Nathalie Lafranchise, Kelly Cadec, Dr. Michel Plaisent, and Dr. Bernard of the University of Quebec of Montreal explored the possibility of using similar procedures found in creating and implementing a mentoring program to collaborate between charity organizations (Lafranchise, Cadec, Plaisent & Bernard, 2013). The researchers describe some of the difficulties in sustaining charitable organizations and boards of directors created to collaborate between these organizations.  They go on to describe what mentoring is and how the mentor and protégé both benefit from the mentoring process.

An activity was held to create interaction amongst representatives from different charities in the researchers’ own experiment to qualitatively collect data (Lafranchise, Cadec, Plaisent & Bernard, 2013).  This data could be used to build an exploratory framework where mentoring could be used to partner senior charity directors or administrators with their younger counterparts to build new skills and expand their professional networks.  The data was collected from 13 participants who divided into three groups, each group assigned with an assistant who acted as a facilitator.  First, each group discussed what “good governance” meant to them.  Then they were asked to answer one of three questions connecting good governance to charities and how they would make use of the ideas pulled from their discussions to make them materialize.  Finally elect a spokesperson to display the result of their discussions to the other groups.

Data was collected in the form of written responses from the groups, discussions, the assistants being responsible for taking notes through the discussions (Lafranchise, Cadec, Plaisent & Bernard, 2013).  The data collected in the experiment showed that a mentoring styled collaboration between charity administrators would benefit participants in the future.  The authors then suggest how the application of creating and implementing a mentoring styled program for charity administrators could be established to benefit charities and how further research is necessary to study this type of collaboration.

Overall, the initial findings for this study were good for implementing a mentoring styled program for administrators (Lafranchise, Cadec, Plaisent & Bernard, 2013).  The authors described how one could similarly build such a program that parallels the procedures and practices for a board of directors for charity programs to be a success.  The paper is convergent with common ideas on what a mentoring program is and how it can be applied to a group setting with the U.  The downside in this research study is that it is an exploratory project, so further investigation is necessary.

The effects of setting up a mentoring program for helping laboratories to achieve accreditation goals in Africa are explored by authors Talkmore Maruta, Philip Rotz, and Trevor Peter in the article “Setting up a structured laboratory mentoring programme” in the African Journal of Laboratory Medicine (Maruta, Rotz & Peter, 2013).  Similar to the study discussed above, the authors suggest using mentoring principles to better laboratory training to meet national standards.  In this study, the authors pool their own field experience in Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Cameroon together to suggest a structured laboratory mentoring program that can be tailored to differing labs’ needs to achieve accreditation goals.

The authors suggest similar steps to how to create and implement a mentoring program based on how laboratory mentoring programs have largely been undocumented (Maruta, Rotz & Peter, 2013).  Laboratory mentorship is posed as a method a lab can train their employees for the lab to achieve accreditation.  First they suggest how to identify and select a mentor based on a series of characteristics including how locally based the mentors are, how broad a mentor’s experience would be, the mentor’s attitude towards interacting with others, as well as how much experience they’ve had being a mentor.

Furthermore, the authors suggest taking into account how long a mentoring program would need to be implemented to achieve the necessary accreditation and how to tailor-make a program based on a laboratories setting by performing the equivalent of a needs assessment (Maruta, Rotz & Peter, 2013).  To sufficiently engage the mentors with their protégés some factors that need to be considered include how often the mentors need to meet with lab staff, the size and number of the lab, the number of mentors available, funding available for the program, and program logistics.  Additionally, the article mentions that a laboratory mentoring program should have supervisors that mentors should report to as well as a means to measuring the lab’s and mentoring programs success towards achieving the desired goals, such as answering to the Ministry of Health of the laboratory’s nation to achieve national credentialing.

This study is similar in context to how the United States government’s guide to mentoring recommends creating and implementing a mentoring program (Maruta, Rotz & Peter, 2013).  In the case of this study, the authors own experience served as the test model from which to build successful mentoring programs for other labs.  They included all the mentioned steps in some form from how to create a mentoring program to implementing one.  They additionally have made qualitative observations of how successful a mentoring program can be verifying the US federal government’s version of handling mentoring programs.

Overall these two studies agree with the recommendations the US federal government’s guide makes for implementing mentoring programs.  Both studies suggest following similar steps for creating and implementing mentoring programs to build a better relationship between mentors and protégés both informally and formally for both individual and organizational development.  These studies do follow the necessary steps in performing an investigation of using mentoring programs and drawing conclusions.  The only downside to these two articles is the research is that it is still largely exploratory, so further investigation would be required to document how successful a mentoring program would be.

In the case of investigating the effectiveness of how well the principles of mentoring would successfully allow better collaboration between charity administrators, the authors only had initial observations of older charity administrators interacting with younger administrators.  The researchers in the study of setting up structured laboratory mentoring programs were using data from their own experiences working in the field and extrapolating how mentoring programs could be structured from their own experiences.  With these initial studies leading the torch of how mentoring programs can be effective in a work environment, follow-up studies can be completed to explore the efficacy of the mentoring programs mentioned in these studies.

 

References

Lafranchise, N., Cadec, K., Plaisent, M., & Bernard, (2013). Using mentoring to train charities managers to inter-organizational collaboration. Informally published manuscript, Department of Social and Public Communication, University of Quebec, Montreal, Montreal, Canada. Retrieved from http://www.mentoratquebec.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/N.-Lafranchise-K.-Cadec-et-M.-Plaisent-Using-mentoring1.pdf

Maruta, T., Rotz, P., & Peter, T. (2013). Setting up a structured laboratory mentoring program. African Journal of Laboratory Medicine, 2(1), doi: 10.4102/ajlm.v2i1.77

United States Office of Personnel Management. United States Office of Personnel Management, (2008). (SHRP/CLERPA-02). Retrieved from website: www.opm.gov/hrd/lead/BestPractices-Mentoring.pdfShare

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