The Best Ways to Successfully Support and Train Mentors

In this article, we will be sharing our top tips for supporting and training mentors, as well as exploring the key topics you need to be covering in your training sessions.

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We all know that mentoring programmes come with some seriously impressive benefits and that good mentors are priceless. Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges faced by organisations when it comes to running their mentoring programmes is how they can support and train their mentors.

Not everyone has been a mentor in their life, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a great one. When you prepare your mentors for what is expected, you’re getting them ready to take on their new fulfilling and important role.

You might be wondering where to even begin, that’s why we’re here to help. In this article, we will be sharing our top tips for supporting and training mentors, as well as exploring the key topics you need to be covering in your training sessions.

How to Train and Support Mentors

From explaining expectations to providing honest feedback, keep reading to discover our top 7 tips on how you can train and support your mentors.

1. Choose a Good Programme Manager

We all know that a good manager is the first step in guaranteeing success. This also applies to organisational mentoring programmes, with the manager/administrator needing to oversee the programme whilst being able to offer ongoing support, and training to participants. When you have a great programme manager, you're able to guarantee that all mentors (and mentees) can receive the best support and training needed to help their mentoring relationships thrive. When selecting a programme manager, choose someone with qualities and skills such as active listening, empathy and communication, so participants feel they can open up and seek assistance when they need it.

2. Define Programme Goals and Criteria

Defining the goals of the mentoring programme and criteria is essential for future training purposes. When you have a clear plan in place of what you want participants to gain from the mentoring programme, you’re able to help train your mentors in the area that your potential mentees need assistance with. For example, if your mentoring programme focuses on leadership development then you know that training your mentors on leadership needs to be a primary focus.

3. Explain the Expectations of Mentors

Before training your mentors, we suggest clearly defining the role and expectations of mentors for your organisational mentoring programme. If you want a successful mentoring programme, you must explain what you expect from them. Not everyone has been a mentor before and doesn’t realise what the role of a mentor entails. Mentors act as trusted advisors for their mentees, sharing their guidance and experience whilst providing feedback and support for their mentees to learn, develop and grow. If you want to support your mentors, then they first need to know things such as how much time needs to be spent mentoring, how to set boundaries and how to overcome any issues that may arise during their mentoring relationships, especially if it’s their first time.

4. Mentoring Training Sessions and Workshops

In-house mentoring training can be done in several ways. From workshops to engaging webinars, training your mentors on the necessary mindset, skills and tools they need will help them take their mentoring relationships the extra mile. Training should cover things such as communication, and goal-setting and help mentors be more prepared to support their mentee's growth and development. By training your mentors on the best mentoring practices, you’re preparing them to handle any challenges they come their way whilst equipping them with the knowledge and experience needed to be the best mentor they can be.

5. Join Our Free Mentoring Training

If you don’t know where to start with mentoring training within your organisation, then look no further. Here at PushFar, we understand that training your mentors and mentees can be an overwhelming and challenging task, that’s why we offer free monthly mentoring training workshops, that anyone can attend. Each month we host 3 training workshops, to help mentors and mentees learn what to expect from mentoring, how they can leverage the PushFar platform and how mentoring can be used for career development and progression. Our mentoring workshops also cover what not to do in mentoring and the benefits of mentoring. You can learn more about these sessions or sign up here.

6. Provide Honest Feedback

Feedback is essential at work for career development but particularly important when it comes to training and supporting mentoring programme participants. Your programme administrator needs to give honest and authentic feedback to the mentors within the programme. By providing feedback to the mentors, they're able to understand what they are doing well and what they need to improve upon. Feedback is an effective way to ensure growth. This level of support allows the mentor to go further in their relationships, whilst revealing the areas in which the mentor needs to get further training.

7. Create a Mentoring Culture

Training and support isn’t a one-time thing, but something you need to continuously be doing to enhance the mentoring experience within your organisation. If you want to effectively support and train your mentors, then you need to prioritise building a mentoring culture, encouraging mentoring and learning for all participants. When you create a mentoring culture you're giving the ongoing support and resources needed by participants, whilst providing the opportunity for mentors to come together and learn from each other, sharing their challenges, insights and tips. By doing this, not only will your mentors have a support network but also learn new things they can do to improve their own mentoring relationships.

Topics to Discuss When Training Mentors

Throughout this article we have discussed the ways you can train and support your mentors, now it’s time to take a look at what mentoring training needs to include. When training your mentors, you need to cover a wide range of topics, to ensure your mentors are fully-equipped to support and guide their mentors. Some of the key topics include:

• The basics of mentoring - When you first train your mentors, you need to teach them about the basics of mentoring. Including the purpose and benefit of mentoring, the role and responsibilities expected of them and the different types of mentoring.

• Effective communication - Communication plays a key role in effective mentoring relationships. When training your mentors, focus on teaching active listening skills, the importance of effective communication and how to communicate well with their mentor.

• Relationship dynamics - Train your mentors on the best way to adapt their approach based on the needs and wants of their mentees. Discuss the best ways to create strong mentoring relationships, if you want to ensure the development and progression of participants.

• Building trust - When training your mentors, teach them how to build trust and report with their mentees, and train them on how to create a safe and welcoming environment where their mentees are more inclined to open up to them.

• Goal planning - Goal planning is essential in mentoring which is why you need to train your mentors how to effectively set clear and achievable goals with their mentees, whilst also teaching them how to monitor and track goal progress.

• Feedback - Not everyone knows how to provide impactful feedback which is why when training your mentors, share how they can provide constructive feedback to their mentee and discuss the different types of feedback and the importance of it for growth.

• Tools and technology - Remember, always train your mentors on the tools you expect them to use to conduct the mentoring sessions. Whether you’re using a platform like PushFar or using tools already available in your organisation, we always recommend training your mentors on how to use any software required.

• Challenges - Like any relationship, mentoring comes with challenges. Teach your mentors about the most common challenges they might face and share various solutions to help them overcome these hurdles.

By covering these topics, you’re not only setting your mentors up for success but showcasing that as an organisation you're willing to support them. By training your mentors effectively, you're motivating them to provide the best guidance and support to their mentees and build strong mentoring relationships.

Final Thoughts

Mentoring training can be as simple as providing your mentors with some leaflets or as advanced as setting up a full mentoring training program for your participants to take part in. Either way, training your mentors is essential to create a thriving mentoring programme within your organisation. By supporting your mentors every step of the way, you’re giving them the tools, insights and resources needed to flourish in their role as a mentor.

If you’re looking to start a mentoring programme, then book a free demonstration with a member of the PushFar team today.

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