Mentoring program

1) What is mentoring?

“Mentoring is a new adaptation of the age-old concept of reciprocity practiced by all cultures. Usual reciprocal practices are implicit, whereas the mentoring contract makes the agreements explicit” (Elaina Zuker). Moreover, “mentoring is a conversation or relationship that leads to insight, decisions, planning and action” (Ann Rolfe).

It is also a process through which participants exchange resources:

  • skills
  • contacts
  • technical expertise
  • advice
  • counselling
  • critique
  • etc.

with each other, as needed.
It aims at encouraging the development and organization of the personal, business, and social resources of the participants – based on mutual support.

2) What’s the return on investment (benefits for mentors)?

  • Recognition for mentors through the display of a “Sietar Mentor” logo (granted at the end of the 1st successful mentoring program).
  • Mutual knowledge exchange thanks to a reverse-mentoring approach (mentor learns from mentee)
  • Underlining their professionalism, expertise and leadership, hence increasing their customer’s loyalty.

3) What’s the return on investment (benefits for mentees)?

  • Improving mentees’ training practices, enhancing self-confidence, getting constructive criticism, understanding the market, etc.
  • Getting advice/sharing expertise within a professional network of interculturalists, hence enhancing their professionalism in the field.

4) Who will mentor and be mentored?

  • Mentees can be anyone with a specific skills set need
  • Mentors are those who are able to meet this need
  • A mentoring program may incorporate more than 1 mentor based on identified needs and agreed goals.
  • A mentoring program may incorporate more than 1 mentee if identified needs and agreed goals are similar among mentees.

5) How often will mentor/mentee meet?

  • This will depend on geographic location of mentor and mentee and need
  • An initial face to face session would be beneficial to establish the working relationship and build rapport
  • Virtual meetings based on respective agendas will be set by the tandem mentor/mentee
  • Group meetings or “Learning Circles” may require physical participation.
  • In total, it is expected a mentoring program will involve approximately 6 hours of actual mentoring exclusive of learning circle sessions

6) How to match the mentor with the mentee?

  • This will be based on availability of mentors and specific needs so the best possible match can be established
  • A questionnaire for mentor and mentee (to manage expectations upfront and to verify motivation) will need to be completed first and submitted to the Board.
  • The board member in charge of Membership Management will be in charge of the process and facilitate the match mentor/mentee

7) What activities can be part of the program?

  • On-boarding webinar for mentees
  • Mentor/mentee meetings (real and/or virtual)
  • Group mentoring: i.e. subject matter expert interventions (via webinar) based on mentee needs and subject matter availability – this will be established when mentor and mentee get together at program start to identify key deliverables)
  • Program experience sharing with other Sietar members: Culture Pop-up tandems with mentor/mentee
  • “Learning circles”: physical get-together where mentees test out in front of other mentees and mentors the program modules they are working on; in a confidential setting with fixed rules (that all participants sign on at the start). This would be in addition of the specific set of hours defined for the program and attendance may be extended to members who are not mentors but willing to give constructive feedback.
  • Evaluation matrix and final debrief/report completed by both mentor and mentee that is submitted to the Board.

8) How will Sietar Switzerland support and sustain mentoring?

  • Mentor workshop to prepare/train mentors
  • Program promotion through website, newsletter etc.
  • Recognition for mentors through creation of a dedicated “Mentor” logo
  • Reverse-mentoring opportunities.

9) “What if”… mentee and mentor have issues with each other? Who will help out? Is it possible to change mentee/mentor?

  • The Board member responsible for managing the Mentoring program will act as escalation point and facilitator between mentor and mentee if needed (de-escalation)
  • Re-alignment of expectations will be considered as a possible solution first, then communication style.
  • Change of mentor/mentee will be considered as that last option, after all other options have been explored.
  • A mentee who systematically fails to respect meeting times or deadlines will be sent a warning by escalation point. If the problem persists, the Board reserves the right to interrupt the mentoring relationship.

10) How is the communication between mentee and mentor supposed to look like?

  • Different communication modes will be used: face to face, webinar, skype or face-time. This will be up to the tandem mentor/mentee.
  • The style of communication envisaged respects confidentiality and should display respect and tolerance.
  • The mentee should expect to receive constructive criticism from the mentor.
  • The mentor will focus on promoting a relationship of trust.