Creating & Managing Mentoring Programs


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Presentation was delivered at the American Library Association Annual Conference (Chicago, 2009) under the auspices of ALA's Learning Round Table; it was designed to help participants successfully develop and implement effective mentoring programs in their organizations and led to development of a complete online (asynchronous) course developed for the LE@D project at the University of North Texas (

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  • There’s a lot of common-sense planning which goes into running an effective, creative, and dynamic mentor program. It really isn’t about magic: it’s about organization, details, and continual evaluation to help us stay on target and focus on the goals on our goals. Components Purpose of program Duration Number of participants Connecting goal to organization’s goals
  • Since a workplace mentoring is about bringing people together--to the benefit of our organization, to the benefit of the people involved, and to the benefit of the people we are serving—we’ll spend a significant amount of time on making sure those matches help us reach our program goals. Components Descriptions of what is expected from mentors and those they are to mentor (protégés) Application forms Recruitment plan Screening, interviewing, and placement procedures
  • We would no more expect to grab someone off the streets and put them in charge of our organization than we should expect to complete the selection process and than say “OKBye.” We need to set our mentoring pairs up for success by giving them some basic tools and resources. Components: Orientation which includes all mentors and protégés Can include resources such as suggested discussion topics each month, access to and list of print and online resources, minimum (and maximum) expectations of how often mentoring pairs will meet (monthly, one to three hours?), conflict resolution procedures, tracking devices (monthly or quarterly reports to program coordinator?), plans for final gathering.
  • Your program coordinator should be someone with an interest in continually improving the program to be sure it remains responsive to the needs of all the stakeholders. One great way to do this is for that person to remain in contact with those within our organization who have mentoring experience (as mentors and as protégés) and with colleagues in other organizations. We really do have a magnificent community of learners, so we should remember to treat them as a treasured resource.
  • Protégés should be active in the maintenance (and the shaping) of the program. If they ask for resources (wikis, group meetings, LinkedIn groups), they should be the ones to help create and manage those resources. This helps avoids burn-out for the program manager and is yet another learning tool for the protégés themselves.
  • There’s a lot to be said for a providing structure whenever possible and balancing that with flexibility. Project-based mentoring (the protégés define what they will do while they are in the program and clearly define goals and objectives) means we have something which can be defined, measured, and adjusted as we proceed (goal: “I want to be a better public speaker”; objectives: “I want to give prepare and deliver three presentations to colleagues in during the next twelve months; those presentations should help them do something which benefits our department”) rather than something which is completely unmanageable.
  • Expect a well received and well functioning program where mentors and protégés treasure the time they have together. Also have a process in place for responding to any conflicts which come up.
  • Expect a well received and well functioning program where mentors and protégés treasure the time they have together. Also have a process in place for responding to any conflicts which come up.
  • Creating & Managing Mentoring Programs

    1. 1. Creating & Managing Mentoring Programs By Paul Signorelli For ALA/CLENE Chicago 11 July 2009
    2. 2. Knowing What We Want to Reach
    3. 3. Bringing People Together
    4. 4. Preparing for Success
    5. 5. Drawing from Colleagues’ Wisdom
    6. 6. Active Participation
    7. 7. Project-Based Programs
    8. 8. Remaining Positive & Resolving Differences
    9. 9. What Else Do We Need to Do?
    10. 10. Resources
    11. 11. Credits (All images taken from unless otherwise noted): Hands & World: Bambino333’s Photostream at Hand & Bird: Wzrdry’s Photostream at Hands/Balloon: JeromesPOV’s Photostream at Circle of Hands: Heathertre’s Photostream at Hand on Beach: Hanann’s Photostream at Wise Hands: Brentjp (now and then)’s Photostream at Hands Reaching: Thanatagoddess’ Photostream at Parent/Child: Vernhart’s Photostream at Hands Beckoning: Shadowplay’s Photostream at