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How We Deliver This Service

This service is best paired with our Leadership Council and Leadership Alignment services. A leadership council of 7 or so deeply aligned leaders produces an excellent foundation for a formal mentorship program. Before we engage in Mentorship Coaching, we consult with your leadership team and preferably several influential staff who have longevity within your business. This ensures our program delivers the results you want to see.

What Is Mentorship And How Can You Know It’s Working?

Mentorship is about intentionally and actively forming bonds between team leaders and team members. It’s also about forming bonds between team leaders whose cooperation and productivity are essential to business growth. The goal of this program is to create so much trust, good will and cooperation between teams that no external problems can derail them.

There is both an art and a science to perfecting these bonds. You’ll know that it’s working when teams begin to perform at a much higher level. This usually means, for many of the professional service clients we’ve served, that the same number of employees produce more profit. Collaboration goes up and complaints go down. Problem solving improves while interpersonal conflicts diminish. Staff loyalty increases while resignations are very rare.

Our Mentorship Coaching service is designed around a three-pronged approach:

  • Instituting a formal mentorship culture. 
  • Creating “circle of 7” mentorship teams.
  • Formalizing career advancement criteria and tiers.

Instituting a formal mentorship culture is about:

  • Educating leaders about how mentorship works and why they should do it.
  • Getting clarity about the risks of doing this ineffectively.
  • Making a commitment that everyone in the organization will have a mentor.
  • Understanding the importance of giving people a choice in their mentor.
  • Committing the time and energy required to make this successful (which is probably quite a bit less than what most people would suspect it to be).

Creating “Circle Of 7” mentorship teams is about:

  • Understanding the importance of limiting team size.
  • Identifying the characteristics of a mentorship team leader.
  • Creating expectations of flexibility, privacy and mobility in mentorship teams (so no employee feels like they are stuck with a mentor who doesn’t get them).
  • Establishing responsibilities of team leaders, especially the responsibility for communicating messages from the leadership team to their teams and then providing feedback from their team to the leadership team. This is about creating free-flowing information both up and down the influence ladder.
  • Selecting mentorship team leaders.
  • Training team leads in the specific practices that produce outstanding results.
  • Setting a kick-off date.
  • Inviting staff into the mentorship opportunity.

Formalizing career advancement criteria and tiers is about:

  • Defining the number of tiers the organization wants to establish and compensation levels for each of those tiers. This can look quite different from one department to the next, depending on the professional service industry.
  • Defining the specific criteria advancement for each tier, what an employee must achieve (both objectively and subjectively) to move up.
  • Training Circle Of 7 team leads to motivate and coach employees to advance to their next level (if that is the employee’s goal).
  • Training Circle Of 7 team leads to become accountability partners to people on their team so those people actually achieve their career goals.

Your organization may already have employment tiers. But are the criteria for each tier clear? Have you committed to mentoring people to move up? Do your employees have an accountability partner to help them focus on their goals? In our experience, after having worked with more than 70 mid-sized professional service firms, advancement criteria like the ones below are often not clear to employees:

  • The specific licenses, certifications, coursework and degree requirements necessary to advance within the organization.
  • How important career experience is to advancement (by number of years in the field, number of engagements, specific kinds of projects, etc.)
  • The kinds of interpersonal skills that are required for particular roles.
  • Specific achievements required to advance, like leading successful projects, consistently getting high marks from team members and getting formal and informal positive feedback from clients.
  • The demonstrated ability to pivot during client engagements, especially when a project is in danger of going over-budget, out of scope or beyond established timelines.

But even when the criteria are clear, it’s important for staff to have a mentor to guide them on their path toward upward mobility.