Developing the evidence base: what do mentoring scheme coordinators do?
WORKSHOP LED BY JUDIE M. GANNON
Judie M. Gannon, PhD MCIPD FIH, is a Senior Lecturer in the International Centre for Coaching and Mentoring Studies (ICCaMS) in Oxford Brookes Business School, at Oxford Brookes University. She leads the Doctorate in Coaching and Mentoring and teaches on the MA in Coaching and Mentoring Practice as well as undertaking PhD supervision. Her main interests include the management and development of mentoring and coaching interventions. She is passionate about the need to understand mentoring and coaching programmes and those who run them – see the Many Things to Many People Report: Formal Mentoring Schemes and their Management. She has published in Personnel Review, the International Journal of Human Resource Management, Education + Training and Coaching at Work.
There is an extensive evidence base on understanding mentoring relationships, formal and informal, and recognizing the emergence of formal mentoring schemes across different sectors and situations. However, what is less well understood is the wider development of formal mentoring schemes and their management. Commentators have identified a rise in mentoring where contemporary organisations create formal mentoring schemes to address a range of issues from; socialization, personal development, effective transition, tackling diversity and inclusivity and enhancing wellbeing. Despite this perceived escalation and the diversity purported in formal mentoring schemes there are few studies which capture the rationale behind these trends. Academic research does exist on mentoring schemes in specific settings, however, no capstone portrayal of formal mentoring schemes or how they are managed exists. We know even less about those who manage formal mentoring schemes, their skills and backgrounds, and how they choregraph schemes to benefit mentors, mentees and a raft of other stakeholders. Hence the value of this workshop in directly convening the new research on this area and drawing on audience members experiences of their involvement in formal mentoring scheme management.
This workshop will engage the audience with the challenges faced by scheme coordinators. It will draw upon data from a mixed methods research design deployed to allow quantitative (the scale and state of formal mentoring schemes) and qualitative (experiences of mentoring scheme coordinators) to provoke discussion and engagement with the role of formal mentoring scheme coordinators. Clutterbuck talked about mentoring scheme coordinators as the ‘unsung heroes’ of mentoring yet empirical research on these orchestrators of formal mentoring is invisible. Building upon Abbott and colleagues (2010) investigation of formal mentoring schemes in South Africa and recent research conducted in the UK (Gannon & Washington, 2019) we will share our findings. Beyond this aspect of our session, however, we will also undertake activities with the audience to reflect upon how the role and skills of mentoring scheme coordinators adapts across the mentoring lifecycle and common challenges faced by these individuals and their teams.
The practical implications of recognizing the role mentoring scheme coordinators play in managing schemes will be considered, from the empirical evidence developed in our recent work and the audience activities in the workshop. A call to arms for further research on understanding the roles of mentoring scheme managers and coordinators, given the rise of internal mentoring programmes within organisations, will be made so that we can continue to develop good practice formal mentoring scheme design, delivery and management in addressing contemporary workplace and societal challenges.
Abbott, P., Goosen, X., & Coetzee, J. (2010). Developing and supporting coordinators of structured mentoring schemes in South Africa. SA Journal of Human Resource Management, 8(1), 10-pages.
Gannon, J.M. & Washington, R. (2019) Many Things to Many People – Formal Mentoring Schemes and their Management 2019: a report.