Formal mentoring programs often fall at one of two ends of a structural continuum. At one end mentoring pairs are provided with very little structure and don’t know how to get started or how to sustain a six to twelve month long relationship. They often have a lot of energy at the beginning that soon dissipates when protégés don’t know what to do to keep their partnerships going. At the other end are the programs that are so highly structured that participants feel like they are reading from a script rather than developing a genuine mentoring relationship.

Our mentoring training strikes a balance between these two extremes. We aim to provide enough structure that partners can start building their relationships at the beginning and then support throughout the program that can help sustain them without becoming burdensome. Our training gives direction on what the first three or four meetings can look like, and then a tool kit of options mentors and protégés can use at their own discretion throughout the remainder of the program. We also offer periodic check in meetings that bring participants together to share experiences and learning as well as learn new tools they can add to their mentoring experience.

Our training is based on Rik’s book, The Mentors Way™, which is built around eight fundamental rules that mentors and protégés can use to guide their mentoring experience (the protégé version is The Protégé’s Journey™). The rules are meant to be easy to remember and follow, but provide powerful ways to remain engaged throughout the entire program. The rules for mentoring start with building the foundation for mentoring, continue through a period of growth and learning, and conclude with ways to reflect on the mentoring experience and share feedback to “Honor the Journey” of mentoring.