Whilst it is relatively easy to find references to mentoring schemes it can be more of a challenge to find out how effective they really are, writes Jules Cadie.
But our investigation for North West Arts of different models of mentoring, both in the arts and in other sectors, has revealed the breath-taking range of experiences and the different directions that mentoring gives, and takes. However, one constant remains as surely as the Pole Star, which is the strong dependence on three factors ? personality, circumstance and time. Of the three, personality ? of both the mentor and the mentored ? comes across as the strongest factor, and its very strength exposes the weakness of ?one size fits all? mentoring schemes adopted by some organisations. But then, you always could rely on individual personalities to mess-up the grand plan.
So, given that these factors appear so crucial, perhaps a successful mentoring scheme may be more a matter of a lonely-hearts column than a dating agency. Between the two poles of opportune happenstance and an imposed, controlled structure, there is a wide and colourful spectrum. We have started looking at this spectrum by taking the six broad types of mentoring within organisations identified by Reg Hamilton*, namely:
? Sponsor - linking-up younger and senior staff
? Peer Group - using established staff to help newcomers
? Self Development - people looking to develop their careers draw on the experience and skills of those around them
? Manager - including mentoring in line management and appraisal systems
? Role Model - an aspiring new recruit seeks to emulate someone they see as successful, and establish a relationship with them
? Informal - all sorts of relationships which happen more or less spontaneously between individuals.
A further important group is of relationships outside an organisation. These range from buying-in external private sector or other expertise, through to personal ?buddy? relationships which have nothing to do with the work itself.
In an attempt to highlight the success factors, and to apply a level of objectivity whilst preserving the subjective element, we plan to try out an evaluation framework on the spectrum. We want to hear the stories from the mentored as much, if not more, as from the mentors; how it empowered or enfeebled them.
We are posting outlines of schemes to a website (http://www.mentorpoint.net), and inviting people to contribute their comments and opinions about their experiences, and to build a three-dimensional view. We intend it to be an interactive hub and repository of current thinking around mentoring in the arts. A priority is to make it easier for people to make connections, and to find ways of exchanging skills.
*Mentoring by Reg Hamilton, published by the Industrial Society in 1993; ISBN: 185835 046 8
North West Arts has commissioned the cultural planning and arts development consultancy da capo to look at different models of mentoring.
The findings will be presented at an event in March, which will be ?telling a series of tales?. For details, contact Jules Cadie t: 01434 381941; e: email@example.com, or visit w: http://www.mentorpoint.net