Mentoring Best Practices
by Dr. Linda Phillips-Jones

Most organizations starting mentoring programs are interested in the successful practices used by others. Here are some of the processes and activities that have impressed us.

  1. Lockheed-Martin Missiles & Fire Control uses innovative joint training activities to prepare mentors and mentees. Pairs do various trust-building exercises, including one with blindfolds in which mentors as a group guide the mentees in solving a problem.

  2. Technical University of Berlin and the European Academy for Women in Politics and Economics has an innovative program called Preparing Women to Lead. Qualified university graduates take part in internships in Germany, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands. For an intense three months, the women are paired with outstanding female mentors who teach them about the mentors’ fields and management styles, organizational structures, processes of decision making, and the day-to-day requirements of management.

  3. Hewlett-Packard (Roseville, California facility) has a site-wide program that includes approximately 100 pairs at any one time. Mentors and mentees each attend separate half-day training workshops that use written guides, videotapes, and skill practice. Pairs write and sign partnership contracts, which are not collected.

  4. U.S. Army-Air Force Exchange Service has implemented mentoring groups. For six months, three mentors and six to eight mentees meet together every two weeks. Mentees focus on career development, including learning the intricacies of how the organization works. Confidentiality is strictly enforced.

  5. Canadian Centre for Management Development (CCMD) has an innovative leadership program for developing Public Service senior executives. Participants gain from a multi-faceted approach: mentors, executive advisors, personal coaches, small learning groups, and varied job experiences.

For additional ideas and best practices on planning, implementing, and evaluating a mentoring program, see The Mentoring Program Coordinator’s Guide.

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