Mentoring schemes are now in place in many organisations, however, results are mixed and schemes are often abandoned. To increase the likelihood of success from a mentoring scheme

  • Consider how mentors and mentees will be matched. Ask mentees to state their requirements and mentors to outline what they can offer and use this information to determine the right match. When an individual is asked to mentor someone they haven’t chosen and there is little flexibility in finding a match, it can result in the feeling that this is just a procedural thing. A more tailored approach to matching and flexibility for both mentors and mentees to change pairings is likely to minimise the feeling.
  • Research has shown that people who are similar to those who occupy senior positions find it easier to secure mentors. Given the underrepresentation of certain groups in senior positions across STEM roles, it is therefore more likely that people in these groups will find it harder to find a good mentor. Consider launching mentoring schemes specifically aimed at certain groups to bridge this gap.
  • Ensure that training is available for mentors. Training should cover topics such as: what is expected of them as mentors; benefits of mentoring; the boundaries; contracting and maintaining confidentiality; setting expectations; the difference between coaching and mentoring; challenging and giving feedback the mentoring process; what to do if things are not going well; and hints and tips for making the relationship a success.