WHY ADOPT A FORMAL APPROACH TO MENTORING?
Research shows that the most effective programmes are supported by a coherent organisational structure, which provides focus and direction to the mentoring model, whilst remaining person-centred and unencumbered by bureaucracy.
Mentoring is about adding value. This happens more readily when it is formally integrated with other learning and development and embedded in the organisation’s wider human resource and career development operations. Having a formal framework also shows a commitment to mentoring as a key aspect of organisational learning.
KEY INGREDIENTS FOR SUCCESSFUL MENTORING FRAMEWORKS
A successful mentoring framework needs careful planning and design. Taking time to plan offers individuals and early childhood services the chance to interpret and tailor a mentoring
programme to their needs. The framework should allow for the development and further expansion of a consistent mentoring model in other areas of practice.
When developing an early childhood practice mentoring framework early childhood services may choose to build on existing policies and procedures, addressing any gaps and reinforcing procedures to staff. Others may need specific support tools or policies tailored to their own requirements.
The requirement for registration and inspection of a service and current relevant legislation should also underpin the design of the mentoring model. Because there are so many different types and sizes of early childhood settings, a variety of models are needed. However, some key ingredients are necessary in a mentoring framework to ensure consistency, promote success and provide a benchmark to measure continuous improvement. They are:
• a clear vision and purpose that is shared with, and understood by, all staff and management
• ongoing support from employers and senior managers who understand the basic concepts of mentoring, and who are clear about the purpose and intended outcomes of the programme
• a tailored mentoring framework and model that links with the strategic aims, operations and existing learning and support activities and which is flexible enough to meet the needs of the organisation and individual learners
• channels for communicating information to all staff in an organisation, whether they are taking part or not, about who is running the programme, and the processes involved
• a monitoring and evaluation strategy is in place.
© The Coalition of Childhood Umbrella Organisations 2010
Designed and published by: Communications, Care Commission