Steps to success

Read the following extract and consider how this framework will impact on the process you use for mentoring.

  • Situation: This is the assessment stage. It involves making sure that the mentee has correct and complete information about the situation. What is actually going on, what data do they have access to, what has happened in the past that now affects the present, and so on?

  • Significance: This is the analysis stage. What is the significance of the information they have about their situation? What are the trends, what should they be preparing for, what are the problems or potential problems? How important are various aspects of the situation, what priorities are there?

  • Solutions: This and the next step relate to the Alternatives stage of mentoring. What options are available? How can we generate more – brainstorming, spot mentoring, visits to other organizations, reading? We need to continue generating options until we are sure that we can identify no more. No solution should be rejected until we have measured it against the following steps.

  • Skills: Having identified a range of options, we need to consider how skilfully the mentee might implement them. Many people drop good ideas at this point because of an incorrect belief that they lack the necessary ability. A SWOT analysis  … should have generated a longer list than normal of the mentee’s skills …  Even a lack of a skill should not automatically eliminate an idea from the list of options. Acquiring new skills may become part of the subsequent action plan. Mentees may need to be reminded that they probably have additional skills which they use outside work at present. Many people in fairly mundane jobs turn out to have an amazing skills base; they may have excellent interpersonal skills which they use to coax volunteers to clean out canals, or be extremely good at chairing difficult meetings of the tenants’ association, or use project planning techniques unknowingly to plan complex holiday itineraries.

  • Strategies: We are now into the Action Plan stage of mentoring. How will the new ideas be implemented? What needs to be done, what steps are needed, how will progress be monitored? What help will the mentee need and where will such help be obtained? How will they avoid the traps that arise from our working styles? If we recognize any of these stress-related patterns, we need to check that the strategies are not influenced by the unhelpful aspects of their working styles (nor limited by personal or psychological styles).

  • Success: Finally, what are the factors associated with success? Often we plan changes but fail to consider the impact on others – and they unwittingly (or deliberately) sabotage us because the changes are resented. How will the mentee change recognition patterns to be sure of support from colleagues, friends, managers? How will they maintain motivation if others try to talk them out of the changes?

Hay, J  1995, Transformational Mentoring: Creating developmental alliances for changing organizational cultures, McGraw-Hill, Maidenhead, p. 91.

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