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AMCI's Mentoring Program White Paper

July 2009

Learning the Organization through Formal Mentoring

Mentoring Defined

Mentoring is the art of using one's experience to help others learn, grow and mature while navigating the obstructions that inevitably arise in the course of a career. We describe good mentoring as providing possibilities, connections and direction, not necessarily telling protégés exactly what to do. It involves connection of the experienced and inexperienced, the seniors and juniors, to facilitate such growth. The end result is a community intent on pooling collective knowledge, sharing solutions to common problems in a systematic manner, reducing the ramp-up time of the junior workforce, and simultaneously building a trust-based community.

To accomplish this goal, a mentoring program must be customized to fit the organization and directly support its mission and goals. Successful mentoring programs require training and coaching of the participants to effectively transmit information and broaden the foundation of corporate understanding and culture. Any organization can benefit from a mentoring approach which involves mentorees tapping into mentors' support, guidance, and coaching to chart goals for professional development, identify developmental activities, recognize unwritten rules, and navigate the organization.

Why AMCI's Mentoring Program?

Today's workplace is top-heavy, but not for long. Companies and Federal agencies alike have many baby-boomers who are close to retirement and the last thing any organization wants is for intellectual assets residing in the heads of senior employees to walk out the door along with them. Tacit knowledge, the basic organizational commodity that must be passed along, is difficult to quantify and impossible to adequately record. The only effective way to pass it along to junior leadership includes dialogue and relationships. Because of time constraints, one solution emerges ahead of others: a formal mentoring program. AMCI's facilitated formal Mentoring Program turns an organization's most experienced and valuable personnel into a cadre of relevant trainers who by using the mentoring process share their expertise to an attentive audience. AMCI's Mentoring Program is an action-oriented, organization/culture-specific mentoring system designed to build enterprise knowledge. The Mentoring Program is comprehensive, process-oriented, and immediately usable. The program provides experienced facilitators to assess needs and capabilities through focused, strategic planning sessions, training of mentors and mentorees, and building a system for feedback, evaluation, and continued growth. The program's unique web-based matching system is highly customizable and allows easy access and broad participation.

The AMCI program is multi-faceted and includes the following:

  • Strategic Planning - We guide client organizations to discern exactly what they hope to accomplish with a mentoring program. We help identify:
    • Overall goals of the mentoring effort
    • Priorities for general communication and training
    • Which groups of personnel to invite for which roles
    • Details of the matching process
    • Roles and expectations for mentors, mentorees, and supervisors
    • Client-specific language to use
    • How and when to measure success
  • Matching - AMCI uses a web-based tool to support the application and matching processes, proven repeatedly to be successful.
  • Training - We provide customized dynamic, interactive training for mentors and mentorees to support a successful program for individuals and the organization. The most successful programs include face-to-face training sessions, Webinars and newsletters.
  • Tracking -The AMCI team works together with the client program coordinators in tracking the progress of the mentoring activities and relationships.
  • Coaching - AMCI coaches individual participants as necessary, as they progress through the mentoring process.
  • Graduating - Successful participants are encouraged to continue the program with another partner in the next iteration of the mentoring program, perhaps moving from the role of a mentoree to that of mentor.
  • Evaluating - AMCI conducts confidential midpoint, and end-of-program surveys to help the participants evaluate and report their experiences. The accumulated data results are reported to client leadership for planning purposes.

Automated Administration

One feature that differentiates this program from the competition is the robust but flexible nature of our web-based software application. Using language chosen by the client (i.e., mentoree vs. protégé), the software:

  • Gathers participants' demographic and career path information
  • Allows them to identify up to five specific individuals for possible matches
  • Allows them to identify up to five specific individuals who would not be suitable matches
  • Suggests appropriate matches for them with others who have expressed similar desires for mentoring partnerships, including specific leadership competencies on which to focus
  • Tracks their activities, training, and opportunities taken
  • Evaluates their satisfaction with their mentoring experience and hence, the effectiveness of the program

  • Without this automated tool, management of the program would be a tremendous challenge of tracking and administration. The most common complaint among organizations who have been disappointed by mentoring programs is that they started out with plenty of spark and excitement, but faded once the program was underway. The AMCI Mentoring Program maintains the excitement and focus with a clear beginning and end for each year's class, formal classroom training events, regular monitoring and intervention, coaching, and evaluations at regular intervals throughout.
    Some organizations match partners across great distances. Many of our client organizations routinely match military officers and civilians across continents and oceans. Other clients group their partnerships by location. AMCI's flexible Mentoring Program is able to address the unique needs of each client while providing the knowledge transfer necessary to meet 21st century challenges.

Steps in the Mentoring Program Process

  • Step 1 Design a custom mentoring program with Strategic Planning Session.
    The designated Mentoring Design Team meets for two days with the AMCI facilitator. He or she serves as a confidential process advisor for developing the program guidelines, objectives, and action plans based on the specific needs of the organization. A detailed Mentoring Plan emerges from this first step. It outlines the sequence of events necessary to implement the program step-by-step.
  • Step 2 Identify and recruit potential mentors and mentorees.
    The potential for a successful mentoring program is based on careful recruiting and selecting of mentors and mentorees. Using specific criteria developed in Step 1, an in-house program coordinator uses The Mentoring Connection© to recruit volunteers to participate as mentors and identify mentoree candidates.
  • Step 3 Conduct joint mentor/mentoree/supervisor Information Sessions.
    AMCI conducts joint orientation workshops to help mentors, mentorees and supervisors understand the full scope and value of mentoring.
  • Step 4 Receive applications and build database of participants.
    Prior to the Mentor-Mentorees Developmental Training, AMCI leads the Mentoring Design Team through a facilitated matching process. Every effort is made to match mentorees with mentors who can best support their developmental needs.
  • Step 5 Match mentors and mentorees based on their stated preferences and exclusions.
  • Step 6 Conduct mentor/mentoree training.
    This two-day developmental workshop gives mentors and mentorees the training and tools they need to engage in successful mentoring relationships. At the end of the training, mentoring pairs are armed with the tools they need for a successful partnership.
  • Step 7 Implement the Mentoring Action Plans.
    Mentors and mentorees begin implementing their Mentoring Action Plan. Some Mentoring Action Plans include formal training while others include informal sessions and self-study. The in-house coordinator checks on the mentoring partnerships throughout the year by providing quarterly workshops, mentoring forums and personal contacts.
  • Step 8 Assess progress and report results at Mid-Point and at End of Program.
    AMCI coordinates the Mid-Point and End of Program evaluation process by conducting needs assessments through online data and text surveys evaluating the mentoring climate. AMCI prepares written reports containing observations, lessons learned and recommendations

AMCI's Mentoring Program is Worldwide

AMCI is a woman-owned business with over 20 years experience in developing customized training programs for Federal agencies. To provide an excellent Mentoring Program we partner with The Training Connection, Inc. founded by Kathy Wentworth Drahosz.

With over a decade of growth in the public and private sectors, this program has impacted the careers and organizational performance of over 50,000 men and women worldwide.

Mentoring Customers Who Have Utilized Our System

Emerson Electric Department of Commerce
Food and Drug Administration Library of Congress
US Customs Service Veterans Benefit Administration
Department of Defense Veterans Health Administration
Office of the Secretary of Defense Defense Intelligence Agency
Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army Department of Navy
Army Communication and Electronics Command National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center Environmental Protection Agency
Army Material Command Federal Reserve Bank
Small Business Administration US Patent and Trademark Office
Voice of America US General Services Administration
Department of Agriculture Defense Contract Management Agency
Department of Education Department of Navy Special Systems Programs
Immigration and Naturalization Service Prince William County Social Services

Our Satisfied Customers Speak

Successful careers have an equal share of three elements: sharing technical expertise, managing relationships and navigating the organization. We refer to this combination as the Success Triangle.

Navigating the Organization

"The strength of the Mentoring Program is giving average employees the opportunity to work and communicate with other employees who are further along in their career here. Sometimes people just need a little boost from a person that is motivated and knowledgeable about the organization. Having the opportunity to spend time with the Regional Administration and share experiences has been a great experience."

Large Federal Agency Mentor

"Our organization has so many facets, that unless you are properly integrated into its culture and offerings, either through a mentoring or other structured program, there is no way you can be truly effective as a representative."

Federal Agency Mentor

"In this technological world of telecommuting, teleconferencing, and electronic communications, the Mentoring Program is a human tool that builds personal confidence in dealing with what is truly important in making us effective public servants. It also helps identify leadership roles that we can grow into and feel a sense of loyalty and camaraderie with our chain of command."

Navy Mentor

"He has gained a better understanding of the unwritten rules, small politics of the organization and realistic expectations of how to function in a large bureaucracy."

Large Federal Agency Mentor

"I am attending a conference in my mentor's region. Without this program, I probably would not have been invited. It was extremely educational and valuable information which I plan to share within our division. It also provided an opportunity for me to meet with my mentor. I am attending a measures conference in January where I will present one Region's information to another Region. This door was opened because of my mentor. It helped me achieve the goals I set: to gain more education about property management at a national level and greater exposure to peers nationally."

Federal Agency Protégé

Sharing Technical Expertise

"My mentor is excellent in sharing with me what issues are going on in her office and what challenges she faces on a daily basis. She has a busy schedule but always sets aside time for a telephone conversation."

Industry Customer Protégé

"We've used review of past experiences to highlight potential solutions or to avoid pitfalls in today's work. My protégé attended the CC presentation to see how that milestone event is conducted and be introduced to key players. This has been very beneficial to him."

Large Federal Agency Mentor

"By toiling with my protégé's challenges, it has made me a better manager. I have also used her as a sounding board in dealing with the younger generation. I am indeed fortunate."

Large Federal Agency Mentor

Learning to Manage Relationships:

"My mentor is very patient and understanding with pertinent comments on how to communicate and address very difficult situations with personnel and process changes and self conflicts that arose over these last six months."

Navy Protégé

"My protégé and I have had great conversations in preparation for a job interview and subsequent debrief after the interview. We talked about what strengths he might present and about how to gain constructive feedback if not selected. Together we thought through possible career objectives."

Federal Agency Mentor

AMCI's Mentoring Program may be the solution for your organization. Let AMCI customize a program to help you achieve your strategic goals and organizational objectives.

Contact Laurie Roberts, 571-217-7027 to request a meeting and demonstration of our program.