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* What It Is.
Mentoring is a formal or informal relationship between senior and junior employees for the purpose of supporting learning and development. The mentor provides ongoing support, advice, and career direction to an individual. A mentor holds a higher position in the organization and is usually outside of the mentee's chain of supervision.

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* When To Use It.
* To continue the development of talented and skilled staff members.
* To groom individuals who show high potential for management or leadership responsibilities.
* To retrain and prepare an individual for a new job or function.
* To assimilate new individuals into the organization by educating them about the norms, culture, and politics of the organization.

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* *
* Clarify what will be achieved through the mentoring relationship.
* Use training and education to promote and explain mentoring.
* Listen, coach, counsel, and motivate.
* Allow mentors and mentees to select each other. For a mentoring program to work both mentor and mentee must be motivated to participate in such a relationship.

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* Relationship To Other Learning Strategies.
As described below, learning strategies are often used in combination with one another or may be closely linked to one another.

Coaching: Coaching is a specific skill that can be used in a variety of situations and settings. In contrast, Mentoring is a process that focuses specifically on providing guidance, direction, and career advice. A mentor uses coaching skills during the mentoring process.

Manager as Teacher: Manager as Teacher is a learning strategy where managers view themselves as teachers and facilitators of the learning process. Mentoring is one specific way that a manager can be a teacher. Mentors "teach" by serving as role models and by providing guidance and advice.

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* Examples.
Department of Navy

The Navy has developed an agency-wide mentoring program as part of its leadership development framework. Individuals interested in becoming mentees have to select a mentor. Training is provided to all participants on the mentoring process, roles, and expectations. Through mentoring, critical leadership skills and knowledge are shared.

General Services Administration (GSA)

The GSA mentoring program matches mentees and mentors from across the organization. They meet twice a month and are supported by workshops, lunchtime learning sessions, a homepage, and a program newsletter. The program has been so successful that it has expanded to the Atlanta, New York, and Kansas City locations. Many of the program's "graduates" go on to become mentors to others.

Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF)

ACF runs an 18-month mentoring program. During the program, participants meet twice each month. Participants are also supported by quarterly training sessions and ongoing evaluation of the program. The mentoring program was designed as a developmental opportunity. An unintended and positive outcome for some participants has been promotion and movement to other jobs.

Health and Human Services, Commissioned Corps Pharmacy Mentoring Network (CCPMN)

The Commissioned Corps Pharmacy Mentoring Network (CCPMN) is a one-to-one communication network affording the mentor (a more senior officer) the opportunity to provide guidance to the mentee (a more junior officer) on career and professional development goals and objectives. The program goals include:

  • To provide a structured mentoring network capable of assisting the mentee in defining career goals, developing a career plan, and identifying continuing education/skill development needs.
  • To provide an environment that fosters a sense of well-being, acceptance, and inclusion of all pharmacy officers into the culture of the Commissioned Corps.

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

The Training Academy at HUD provides training for voluntary mentors and mentees. A memorandum of understanding clarifies the responsibilities associated with the mentoring relationship. The mentors and mentees meet on a regular basis to share special insights, understanding, and information that increase the mentee's knowledge and ability to work in the organization.

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* Where To Go For More Information.
Web Resources

The Directory of Mentor Arts and Mentorship Web Site

Guidelines for Mentoring , Alberta Personnel Administration Office

Mentoring for Civilian Members of the Force , Department of the Army Pamphlet 690-46 Civilian Personnel

Mentoring, What Goes Around, Comes Around Online Article , Online Women's Business Center, Sponsored by the Small Business Administration

Online Mentoring Handbook , University of California


Murray, M. & M. A. Owen. Beyond the Myths and Magic of Mentoring: How To Facilitate an Effective Mentoring Program. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1991.

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* Other Individual Learning Stategies.
Following are links to the other Individual Learning Strategies:
* Job Rotations
* Special Assignments
* Coaching
* Individual Development Plan
* Manager as Teacher
* Learning Groups (Teams)
* Self-Development

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