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Creating a Mentor/Mentee Partnership Program
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Creating a Mentoring Partnership Program

 

A mentoring partnership program is for the purpose of helping members at various tiers of their development. There are many levels of development in the organization, as well as the workplace, and each can benefit from mentoring. In IAIP the most notable levels are new members and members climbing up the leadership ladder.

For new members, a partnering program should be designed to inspire the new member to learn and grow with the help of an experienced member within their own local association. The experienced mentor should be a supporter for the new member, available to answer questions, provide insight and encourage involvement. Creating a formal mentoring partnership program for new members at the local association level requires the commitment of the association's officers and board members. This can be done by the establishment of a mentoring program committee or by an existing officer or committee assuming the responsibilities of the program. Those responsibilities include matching a new member with an experienced member-mentor and monitoring the success of the partnership through confidential feedback.

For members entering leadership roles, the program facilitates the partnering of an experienced leader from one local association with inexperienced leaders in another local association. The experienced leader should be available to offer guidance and direction to the new leader, serve as a role model and sounding board. Creating a formal mentoring partnership program between new leaders and experienced leaders in different local associations requires commitment at the Regional level. Regional Vice Presidents should appoint a chairperson and establish an ongoing committee that is responsible for facilitating the partnering of members within their region who are seeking mentors or mentees. Members looking for a mentor/mentee partnership would submit questionnaires to the committee who would then find suitable matches and provide the introductions. The committee would also be responsible for soliciting periodic confidential feedback from both parties in order to monitor progress and to arrange for new partners if the existing pairing is not working for one or both of the parties in the partnership.

Whether you are trying to create a new member mentoring program or a leadership development mentoring program, confidentiality is of utmost importance. Trust is one of the cornerstones of successful mentoring relationships. Without trust the participants cannot be honest and open about the fears, concerns, issues, etc. That confidentiality must also be maintained by every person working as a facilitator or committee member involved in the mentoring partnership program.

Before you start partnering mentors and mentees, make sure you have the program fully thought through and the framework in place. Mentor candidates should be vetted by the facilitator or committee to make sure these individuals possess the leadership skills and qualities needed to provide the kind of role models the mentees need. Have written procedures/guidelines in place so that once a partnership has been set up, the facilitator or committee can help both participants receive the full benefits of the program. Having a well-planned program is the best insurance for a successful program.

To get you started, here is a sample of a participant's questionnaire used to match mentors and mentees:

Questionnaire

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