Evaluating the Mentoring Relationship

Measuring Your Progress

Welcome Back as Partners!

Together you have navigated through the first sections or overview of the mentoring training together.

You have:
Examined what mentoring is and is not.
Explored reasons why mentoring works in general.
Looked at reasons how mentoring might work at different stages of one's career.
Shattered some common mentoring myth.
Identified the mentoring benefits for all parties involved.
Discussed the phases of the mentoring relationship.
Indicated the desirable competencies for each phase .
Reviewed behaviors that must be reciprocal in nature.
Outlined the steps needed to begin the mentoring process.

Then you each went your separate ways to learn more about your own role, whether as a mentor or as a mentee, by participating in training specifically designed to provide you with the tools to be successful. However, the ultimate success of your partnership and the mentoring program depends on how well you are able to assess its effectiveness, address any weaknesses and demonstrate that it is meeting established goals and objectives.

Before you can evaluate your successes, you will need to do the following:
Develop a plan to measure program processes;
Develop a plan to measure expected outcomes; and
Create a process to reflect on and disseminate evaluation findings.

Mentoring Partnership Review: Process and Outcome Evaluations

There are two major types of program evaluation: process evaluations and outcome evaluations.

  • Process evaluations focus on whether a program is being implemented as intended, how it is being experienced, and whether changes are needed to address any problems (e.g., difficulties in recruiting and retaining mentors, high turnover of mentees, high cost of administering the program).

  • Outcome evaluations focus on what, if any, effects programs are having. Designs may, for example, compare goals to outcomes or examine differences between mentoring approaches. Information of this sort is essential for self-monitoring and can address key questions about programs and relationships.

Process Evaluation: a Periodic Mentoring Partnership Check-up

Over time the nature of the mentoring relationship may alter and support needs could change. Therefore it is valuable for a mentor and mentee, together, to review the process of the relationship at appropriate points and make any adjustments as necessary to the way they work together and the type of support provided. It will also be important both for all those experiencing the program and those with responsibility for implementing the program to receive this type of feedback the effectiveness of its implementation.

Below is a list of some questions that might be useful in this process:

•  How is the mentoring partnership working?
•  What is working well?
•  What, if anything, is working not as well as you had hoped?
•  What are you both gaining from your experience of the process?
•  What does your mentee appreciate about the support the mentor is providing?
•  What additional support might the mentee welcome?
•  What external constraints or difficulties are affecting the partnership? How might these be resolved?
•  What changes might be helpful to make in the way the program or either party operates within its expectations ?

In your Mentoring Workbook you will find a worksheet titled "Periodic Mentoring Partnership Review" with the questions listed above to be used as a guideline for your "relationship check-up" meeting. You can also access it by clicking here.

Outcome Evaluation: an Assessment of the Growth and Success of Both Partners

The mentoring relationship exists basically for the growth and satisfaction of the participants. Mentoring relationships are successful and satisfying for all parties involved when certain factors are established and both the mentor and the mentee take active roles. The following six factors are offered as key ingredients upon which each partner, as individuals, can assess the effectiveness of their mentoring outcomes. These factors should be assessed a minimum of three but no longer than six months into your mentoring relationship.

  1. Purpose: This relationship is a high priority for both mentor and mentee. Both partners are clear on why you're together and the reasons you're meeting. You've discussed and agreed upon what you'll work on, and you'll recognize when you've completed your purpose. When you've accomplished the purpose of your relationship, you're willing to see the relationship shift focus or perhaps end for the time being.

  2. Communication: You communicate in the ways you both prefer. You get back to your partner in the timeframe you've agreed upon. You both are an effective listener, and you remember what your partner tells you. You ask appropriate questions, and you share information about yourself. You monitor your nonverbal language to be sure it's conveying your intent.

  3. Trust: The trust between you is growing because you welcome and keep in confidence the information you share. You avoid any trust-breaking behaviors such as canceling appointments without compelling reasons, talking negatively about others or unfairly criticizing your partner. You're increasingly sharing more of yourself and are becoming less guarded than when you first got together.

  4. Process: You meet often enough to suit you both, and those sessions are usually the right length. You both like where you're meeting. You're aware of the four stages of formal mentoring (building rapport, direction setting, sustaining progress and ending the formal mentoring part of the relationship) and are working through them. You like how you operate as a mentoring pair and check in with each other to see if you're both satisfied.

  5. Progress: The mentee of the partnership has identified appropriate life goals and is making significant progress towards building competencies to reach those goals. You both identify interesting learning experiences and process the results of these together.

  6. Feedback: You both discussed how you wanted positive and corrective feedback from the other you. You're doing your best to give this feedback in an honest and tactful manner and as frequently as agreed upon. When you receive feedback, you're non-defensive and take immediate steps to apply it.

Outcome Evaluation:Role Self-Assessment for Mentor and Mentee Exercise

Here is an opportunity for both the mentor and mentee, acting separately, to assess themselves on the six key factors just discussed. Access the appropriate assessment and take a few minutes and try to rate yourself as you actually are, not as you'd like to be. A similar self-check will be provided to your mentoring partner. If it feels comfortable, invite him or her to complete their own version, and discuss their findings in your next mentoring meeting.

Mentee: In your Mentoring Workbook you will find a worksheet titled "Mentee Role Self-Assessment" containing the form referenced above for you to complete a minimum of three but no longer than six months into your mentoring partnership. You can also access the assessment by clicking here.


Mentor: In your Mentoring Workbook you will find a worksheet titled "Mentor Role Self-Assessment" containing the form referenced above for you to complete a minimum of three but no longer than six months into your mentoring partnership. You can also access the assessment by clicking here.


We have covered a lot of information and provided you with tools and resources to successfully accomplish your role in your mentoring partnership. Before we sum it all, we will end with a little humor from our friend Dilbert.


The difference between training and life?

In training, you are taught a lesson and then given a test.

In life, you are given a test that teaches you a lesson.

May all of your lessons be positive and purposeful.


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