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4 Tips for Creating a Mentoring or Coaching Program in the Workplace

CoAdvantage-Mentorship and coaching programs in the workplace can be enormously beneficial. Experience counts for a lot in the business world, and mentors can take skilled but less experienced workers and give them a chance to learn, improve, and grow under real-world conditions. In other words, they offer a great way to bridge the gap between training and output. In turn, the mentor can support workers and offer a resource for questions and uncertainties.

Importantly, mentoring is an especially effective way to help with diversity issues. We touched on this in our article, How To Use Mentorship Programs To Promote Workforce Diversity.” Mentoring programs can increase representation of underrepresented groups anywhere from by 9% to 24%.

But what are the best ways to get a mentorship program started?

1: Define your goals

What are you trying to achieve with your mentorship/coaching program? This is the crucial starting point.

  • Is the program specifically geared toward promoting representation and diversity, as described above?
  • Are there skill gaps the organization is trying to close? Is the mentorship part of a larger re-skilling or up-skilling initiative in the organization?
  • Are you trying to improve employee morale? Nearly nine out of 10 workers with a mentor say they feel happier in their career.
  • Are you trying to use mentorship as part of a leadership development pipeline? One study found that mentees are five times more likely to be promoted than workers with mentors.

2: Build a program that will actually meet needs

Once you know your goals, you can design a mentorship program that can align with those objectives. You don’t want to just throw something together in a haphazard way and hope for the best. Also, make sure all appropriate stakeholders are involved in the program’s creation. For example, if part of the goal is skills development, the training department or individual trainers should be involved.

3: Choose mentors and coaches carefully

A bad mentor can cause the whole effort to backfire. It does no good to select mentors who are unavailable or uncommunicative. Ideally, mentors should be chosen not just for their experience and expertise but also for their ability to provide good, actionable feedback. A mentorship program will also be more likely to attract participants if the people serving as mentors are genuinely desirable role models and guides.

4: Eliminate any stigma

If employees perceive the mentorship program negatively or with resentment, they will be reluctant to participate, negating the whole enterprise. This is especially true if would-be participants are coming from a disadvantaged background and fear that asking for a mentor would be seen as weakness or incapability. Make it clear that participation will be viewed favorably and perhaps even rewarded in some capacity.

CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about CoAdvantage’s ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.