Mentoring is a developmentalpartnership through which one personshares knowledge, skills, informationand perspective to foster the personaland professional growth of someoneelse. We all have a need for insight thatis outside of our normal life andeducational experience. The power ofmentoring is that it creates a one-of-a-kind opportunity for collaboration, goalachievement and problem-solving.
Wrong … youall do!You just don’tknow it.
GO BERSERKMeaning: Go crazy or to act with recklessabandon. Origin: Viking warriors were incredibly wildand ferocious in battle, probably becausethey ate hallucinogenic mushrooms inprebattle ceremonies. They charged theirenemies recklessly, wearing nothing morethan bearskin, which in Old Norse waspronounced "berserkr" or "bear-sark."
When a new employee starts and receives very little training, he needs to go to someone for help and guidance, you just better hope it’s not the wrong someone. Somaybe it’s time to develop a sound mentoring program!
Gone are the days when assigning aninformal buddy to mentor a new employeemeant going out to lunch. These buddiesgenerally had no mentor training and theywere clueless about their responsibilities.When making every employee successfulas soon as possible became the new norm,formal organization needs from a mentorgrew. A formal mentor relationship canjump start the learning curve and help anew employee succeed.
Use a Formal Mentor Process
With a formal mentor process, a body ofknowledge and other cultural teachings arean expectation of the mentor relationship.You will also find that a small component ofthe mentor relationship is evaluative innature. In the sense that your organizationis expecting employees who mentor toassess the new employee’s fit within theculture of the organization, the roleevaluates the new employee.
Dowe really have time for such a formal process? Sounds pretty time consuming! Besideswhat kind of mentoring do facilities staff need?
The Informal Mentor
Employees also seek an informalmentor for each area ofexpertise the employee wishesto develop or explore. Theperson in this mentor role ispurely a teacher with noassessment responsibilities.
Problem with the informal approach:Little or no control of who theemployee seeks out and whatkind of advise he gets.
CHARLEY HORSEMeaning: A muscle cramp. Origin: In 1640, Charles I of Englandexpanded the London police force. Thenew recruits were nicknamed "Charleys."There wasnt enough money to provide thenew police with horses so they patrolledon foot. They joked that their sore feet andlegs came from riding "Charleys horse."
What options do wehave?
So let’s find a happy medium. Onethat’s not too time consuming or involved. KISS Method.
I prefer aFormal Method of Coaching
Coaching employees is not a loss of power; it is a process of communicating with and engaging employees so problems can be solved creatively; it involves recognizing people for their individual contributions for the good of all. Employee coaching truly promotes a productive environment for an organizations team members, removing traditional barriers and boundaries to collaboration. This new environment emphasizes both individual and team achievement of a common organizational goal.
The coaching leadership style builds personal andteam morale, fostering a partnership whereemployees feel like they are genuinely contributingto the success of the organization. It is for thisreason alone that coaching should become aproactive process for top level managers. Buildingauthentic relationships and collaborating withemployees -- the essence of coaching -- is aninvestment in the long-term health of yourbusiness. Just as important as capital technologyand marketing strategies, coaching will benefit theorganization in countless ways as employeesincrease their productivity and the quality of theirefforts.
Coaching employees facilitates effectivecommunication at all levels of an organization andprovides a channel for feedback and productivedialogue. People learn how they can personallysupport the organization and gain thisunderstanding in a positive way. Too often,managers alone define mission statements andorganizational objectives, solve problems, anddictate solutions in a vacuum. Without being askedfor their input, employees are prone to get lost inthe shuffle. In a coaching environment, leaders andemployees collaborate to do the following:
Coaching does have its challenges; it is notan automatic technique that works everytime, but a process and an investment.Using effective coaching techniques,managers can build a successfulorganization based on the strengths andrelationships of one of its every members.The ability to coach others will truly be oneof the most important top-level leadershipskills of the future. Top-tier managers mustspearhead the effort, becoming beacons oflight for middle-level and front-line leadersto follow.
Myth #1:"Custodians andmaintenance workersdont need professionaldevelopment ormentoring."
Custodian and maintenance employees are"guardians of the school environment" forstudents, staff and the community. Theirworkloads continue to grow as newtechnology and equipment require specificskills, increased duties, and responsibilities.One of the most important responsibilitiesis to insure the proper indoor air quality,uniform temperatures, and properventilation. And often, with little, if any,specific or meaningful training, thecustodian must also deal with dangerousmaterials such as laboratory spills, toxicmaterials, asbestos, lead and even bedbugs.
Custodial staff needprofessional developmentand a solid mentoringprogram to ensure theyperform to the highest level.
Myth #2:“Anyone can clean aschool."
“School custodians play an importantrole in providing a properlymaintained physical plant for today’sstudent. They need to be currentwith all applicable laws andregulations affecting student andstaff health and safety i.e.: greencleaning, asbestos, lead, mercury,pcb’s, bed bugs, lock-out tag-out,etc.
They are also need to be computerliterate-- having to control thebuildings new computerized heatingand cooling system from a laptop anddesktop computer. Some need to holdstate certification in both commercialpesticide application and asbestosabatement, as well as a basic boileroperators license. To maintaincertification, many must take yearlyrefresher courses.
Myth #3:“There is no relation betweenstudent achievement and workperformed by the schoolfacilities staff."
Severalstudies have indicated that a clean, well-maintained, and safe school building plays an important role in the students’ individual school achievements.
Yes, we do need tomentor/coach our staff.
CAUGHT RED-HANDEDMeaning: Caught in the act. Origin: For hundreds of years, stealingand butchering another personslivestock was a common crime. But itwas hard to prove unless the thief wascaught with a dead animal ... and bloodon his hands
Keys to a Successful Mentoring Program
•Align the coaching program structure todesired learning outcomes•Provide training to new participants specific totheir roles•Effectively match the right mentors to mentees•Monitor participation and engagement•Coach and guide mentors and menteesthroughout their experience
•Work together to developgoals and objectives•Give and receive constructivefeedback•Recognize success and effort•Share information
A) Align coaching structureto desired learningoutcomes
Having a program in place that does not address the needs of the employees and the district will result in a waste of time.One area that needs to be covered is the importance of cleaning and it’s benefits:i.e.: Coach explains to a new employee the reason for properly cleaning the restroom, so they understand how to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria, keeping the children safe.
B) Provide training to new staff members specific to their roles
Once the importance of the job is shared, then provide the training.The coach should demonstrate how the district expects the restroom to be cleaned. Everyone must be on the same page.The staff member should feel comfortable approaching his coach for advice and constructive criticism.
C) Match the right coach to the mentee.
Attributes of a Coach•Wants to coach another employee and is committed to the employee’sgrowth and development and cultural integration.•Has the job content knowledge necessary to effectively teach a new employeesignificant job knowledge.• Demonstrates honesty, integrity, and both respect and responsibility forstewardship.•Demonstrates effective communication skills, both verbally and nonverbally.• Is willing to help develop another employee through guidance, feedbackand, occasionally, an insistence on a particular level of performance orappropriate direction.•Has enough emotional intelligence to be aware of their personalemotions and is sensitive to the emotions and feelings of theemployee they are mentoring.
Would you pick thisperson as a mentor orcoach?
Union Official Custodian with high absenteeism rate Relative of the mentee 10 year staff member with good evaluations, but keeps to himself The one everyone likes but is a gossip hound Someone who takes a long lunch and extended breaks
D) Monitor participationand engagement.
You, as the administrator, need a method in place to monitor the coaching program.Hold regular meetings with coaches to get their feedback on the mentee and discuss pros and cons.
SPEAK OF THE DEVILMeaning: Someone appears after youmention them.Origin: People once believed that youcould actually summon the Devil bysaying his name.
How To Coach a ProblemEmployee
Fortunately formanagement, problememployees are not thenorm.Occasionally, however, anewly-hired employee isnot as they seemed to bein an interview.
Firing an employee for initial problems is notin anyones best interest, as it then reopensthe hiring process and takes more of yourtime and the time of the human resourcestaff. You may find the "problem employee"is not a problem at all, but is having adifficult time with learning the new job andafter providing some coaching, that sameemployee could end up as your staremployee. The key is to offer some help sothey can improve. Also be very watchful ontheir progress or lack of, and keep accuratedocuments.
The employee ishabitually tardy
You can excuse employees for being lateoccasionally. Habitual tardiness should not betolerated, especially for new employees.Continual tardiness is a sign of beingunprofessional. If you have to report at exactly 9am, the employee should be in at 9. If theemployee shows signs of improvement, you canjust let it pass, but emphasize the importance oftimeliness. If the employee makes no attempt tobe on time, then you need to talk with theemployee and find out why this is happening sooften. It could be as simple as the employeehaving transportation problems which should beresolved in the near future.
Understanding why the employee is lateis important. Be proactive to work throughthis difficulty if you feel you have anemployee with potential. Of course, aftertalking with/coaching the employee, youare still noticing tardiness, you will have toreprimand him and tell him that furtheroffenses could cost his job. Make sure heunderstands he is a part of a team and isimportant to the overall operation of theschool.
The employee has a negative attitude
Negative attitudes can be contagious and couldfurther affect your staff. A negative employee tendsto find fault with numerous people and schoolevents. This is a difficult area to mentor as itnormally is not a single offense, but rather apersonality trait. This is a situation where, as acoach, you will need to be aware so the employeedoesnt have the opportunity to affect the staff as awhole. The most important part of coaching anegative attitude is keeping factual records and nothearsay; most often the information is foundthrough gossip and the coach must be mindful notto use gossip as facts to mentor an employee.
Remind the individual he is part of a team. Discuss the important role the individual plays in the overall operation of the school. Ensure the staff member knows the impact of even the smallest of jobs does affect the school population. Make sure they understand their work is appreciated and noticed.
The employee is too aggressive
Usually, these employees are not new, but seniorstaff members who have not been promoted due toattitude problem. They do well in their own work,but cannot work well with others. They use theirseniority as an excuse to act as a boss. Sometimes,they even feel superior to their boss and think theycan do whatever they want and walk awayunblemished. Typically, this is when managementsteps in to assist. This type of employee is going toneed several sessions of mentoring before seeingthat their aggressiveness is providing unneededstress to other employees. When coaching, be ableto provide specific examples of times you orsomeone in a parallel or supervisory position to you,has witnessed this aggressiveness first hand.
It’s RAINING CATS AND DOGSMeaning: Torrential rain. Origin: In the days before garbagecollection, people tossed their trash in thegutter - including deceased housepets -and it just lay there. When it rained reallyhard, the garbage, including the bodies ofdead cats and dogs, went floating down thestreet.
Creates a team effort. Staff retention. Trained professionals on staff available for promotions. Keeping staff involved and increasing awareness. Staff functions to a higher level. Pride in work. Staff feels appreciated. Assignments are completed to the same standard at every school.
True or False? If you have a mentoringprogram in place, there is noneed to conduct trainingsessions.
FalseMentoring compliments a goodtraining and in-serviceprogram.
“To mentor or not to mentor?” That is the question.
Recently Hired Cleaner
Groundskeeperwho is notperforming according totime standards specific tohis job tasks
Head Custodian whose staffis complaining he/she yellsat them, uses inappropriatelanguage and has “favorites”who get special treatment
Mentoring does not take the place of: Training In-service Inspections Evaluations Discipline
YOURE NO SPRING CHICKENMeaning: Youre not young anymore; youre pastyour prime.Origin: Until recent generations, there were noincubators and few warm hen houses. Thatmeant chicks couldnt be raised during winter.New England growers found that those born inthe spring brought premium prices in thesummer market places. When these Yankeetraders tried to pass off old birds as part of thespring crop, smart buyers would protest that thebird was "no spring chicken."