DEVELOPING A MENTORING PROGRAM


I.  Purpose of a mentoring program

    * To assist chapters in reaching goals
    * To assist chapters with local issues in a helpful manner
    * To encourage chapters and help to celebrate their successes
    * To facilitate communication between the chapter and S/P/N leadership

II. Guidelines for a mentoring program

    * S/P/N President or designee appoints chapter mentors and assigns mentors to S/P/N chapters
    * S/P/N President or designee conducts a needs survey for a mentoring program within the state
    * S/P/N President or designee notifies each chapter of its assigned mentor

III. Responsibilities of a chapter mentor

    * To assist with deadlines and forms
    * To facilitate communication between the chapter and S/P/N leadership
    * To visit the chapter and get to know members of the chapter
    * To answer questions on policy and procedures
    * To offer chapter support
    * To promote professional performance
    * To provide fraternity education assistance
    * To lead by example
    * To build positive relationships with chapter members
    * To facilitate communication within the chapter, if needed

IV. Benefits of a mentoring program

    * Mentoring is an opportunity for the mentor to pass her legacy of leadership to the new leaders in her S/P/N
    * Mentoring gives the mentor and mentee a chance to cultivate their leadership and interpersonal skills
    * Communication and guidance from the mentor bring understanding and acceptance to mentee
    * Learning about Alpha Delta Kappa is increased as questions are answered and challenges are met with success
    * The mentee begins to feel more comfortable in her leadership role and is more likely to accept future opportunities to participate in leadership
    * The mentor’s example is a powerful influence on the mentee as well as other members
    * The mentoring process makes for a smoother transition between leaders
    * Mentoring creates a mutual respect between mentor and mentee through shared experiences, common interests, and social interaction
    * Mentoring brings together people with a shared interest and connection
    * A mentoring relationship can result in a friendship that goes beyond fraternal bonds
    * A mentor can assist with networking and professional development if the opportunity arises

Definition of a mentor

A mentor serves as a trusted counselor or teacher, especially in organizational settings.  A mentor is a wise and reliable guide and adviser.  Other meanings for mentor are coach, tutor, instructor, counselor, guru and sage.  A person who uses her abilities to help others learn and grow in knowledge and understanding is a mentor.  In Greek mythology, Mentor was the son of Alcumus.  In his old age, Mentor was a friend of Odysseus who placed Mentor in charge of his son, Telemachus, and of Odysseus’ palace when Odysseus left for the Trojan war. Because of Mentor’s near paternal relationship with Telemachus, the personal name Mentor has been adopted in English as a term meaning father-like teacher. A mentor uses experience and wisdom to benefit the mentoring relationship.

Mentoring benefits us in many different arenas of life.  While this essay focuses on the benefits of mentoring in an organizational setting, we feel the effects of mentoring in many areas of our lives.  We listen to the expert advice of parents, older siblings, close friends, and teaching colleagues.  Just think of the impact Obi-wan Kenobi had on Anakin Skywalker and his son, Luke, or the influence of Johann Christian Bach on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  Someone we respect has influenced us all.

How to start a mentoring program
1.  Establish goals:

            What do you want your mentoring program to achieve?

            Will there be an evaluation at some point during the mentoring process?

 2.  Use mentoring time wisely

            Make sure that the mentor and mentee relationship is productive and valuable to each of the participants

 3.  Have manageable expectations

            Communication is key so that each person in the mentoring relationship understands what is expected

 4.  Share successful mentoring experiences with others


Additional Thoughts


1.  Start small.   Focus on one or two goals in the beginning such as officer training or timely reporting.

2.  Enhance informal mentoring.  Publicize effective mentoring activities and provide informal coaching in a non-threatening way

3.  Plan ahead.  There is no set timetable, so give yourself and your mentoring plan enough time to be effective and give the mentees time to ‘buy into’ the benefits of a mentoring program.

4.  Link goals.  The goals of an S/P/N mentoring program should reflect the goals of Alpha Delta Kappa.  Otherwise, mentoring will not be taken seriously.

5.  Choose enthusiastic, knowledgeable mentors.  These leaders should be excited about mentoring and understand their key role in the success of the mentoring process.

6.  Train the mentors.  Each one should know what is expected and will understand the challenges.  The S/P/N leadership will determine who conducts the actual training.

7.  Encourage a positive relationship between mentor and mentee.  Structure the program so that the positives outweigh the negatives.

8.  Evaluate the mentoring program.  Encourage the mentor and mentee to evaluate the program. This could be strictly confidential with collected data shared in a non-threatening way.  Evaluations help to fine tune a program and make it more effective.  Have participants reflect on the experience, writing down their comments and ideas.

9.  Remember that mentors will be investing their time, energy, talents and financial resources in the program.

The Role of the Mentor and Mentee

The mentor should:

-         listen actively

-         help chapter identify goals

-         build trust between mentor and mentee

-         encourage and affirm

-         provide feedback when needed

-         open doors to success

-         develop leadership skills in mentee and others

-         demonstrate skills to be developed

-         address issues that may be causing problems

-         offer solutions to the problems

-         contact chapters in writing immediately after appointment and include name, address, telephone number, and email address

-         communicate with chapter on a regular basis

-         advise chapter of any important issues at the S/P/N level

-         request input from chapter

-         attend at least two chapter meetings each year 

-         offer options not advice when asked

The mentee should:

-         listen actively

-         learn quickly

-         respond positively to feedback

-         show initiative

-         follow through on goals

-         manage the relationship by being an effective mentee

-         send mentor a copy of chapter newsletter each month

-         send mentor a list of chapter meeting dates and programs for year

-         invite mentor to special chapter events or programs

-         contact mentor with questions or concerns


Simple ideas to assist the mentoring process (from Indiana Alpha Delta Kappa)

For the mentor

            1.  Make first contact with chapter in the summer of the new biennium

            2.  Make personal contact with each assigned chapter (phone call, chapter visit, social outing with chapter leaders)

            3.  Ask for a chapter program book (directory) which should include program dates and topics

            4.  Offer to install officers, help with Founders’ Day program or maybe present a program of your choosing

            5.  Attend, if possible, the chapter Founders’ Day program

            6.  Send personal greetings such as a Christmas card

            7.  Send message of congratulations for any chapter accomplishment or milestone such as anniversary of chapter’s founding

            8.  Keep in touch with chapter president, asking if there are needs or questions with which you can help (no nagging, just gentle inquiries)

            9.  At district or S/P/N events, sit with your mentees

           10. Develop a friendship with chapter members that goes beyond the mentor/mentee relationship

           11.  Keep a leadership journal of members in the chapter who are ready to take leadership roles

           12.  Encourage these members to accept assignments as they are offered