<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> APEGGA Mentoring Handbook





Many mentors and protégés will find themselves participating in APEGGA’s Mentoring Program while employed by a for-profit business. With this in mind, it is worthwhile considering the roles of the mentor and protégé in relation to their place or places of employment. Some corporations have existing mentoring programs that may dovetail with the needs of APEGGA mentors and protégés. This chapter provides some ideas related to mentoring in the workplace and specifically in the for-profit corporate environment.

Whether mentors received a few helpful tips or were taken under someone’s wing, most of them will have benefited from formal or informal mentoring at some point in their careers. Today, mentoring has evolved in the workplace to be less about bosses grooming their handpicked successes to being more about employees’ overall career growth. With the steep learning curve in most technical organizations, leveraging the knowledge and experience of veteran staffers is especially helpful in speeding along the development of newcomers.

Corporations have undergone immense change in the past decade due to increased competition in the global marketplace. These changes are having a major impact on the role of managers. Most Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies have restructured in an attempt to become more competitive with hundreds of thousands of employees laid off as a result. Now managers are forced to meet greater demands for productivity with fewer resources and shorter planning cycles.

Employees are expected to go the extra mile and work anytime, anywhere with loosely defined job descriptions. In the past an employee could count on being with the same company for his/her entire career – 30 years or more. Now if a person is with the same company for 10 years, his/her motivations are suspect.

Many companies have been involved in “reengineering” efforts in an attempt to improve their business processes. Managers of the future will have to know how to create a culture of continuous improvement, or what some specialists call “the learning organization”, in order to remain competitive. In flattened organizations, however, there are fewer middle managers to do the work.

The leaders that remain in the companies must learn to shift from a control and command style to one of facilitating and mentoring. Managers who once felt they must know where, when, what, and how employees are doing will be forced to trust and empower their employees. Managers of today and tomorrow may have responsibility for business results without having direct control over the people who must achieve those results. Managers increasingly will have the responsibility to train others and act as mentors in order to empower workers and will need to find a match between the career interests of individual workers and the needs of business.

The long term implications of these trends for the future require that managers’ roles will shift. Managers will need to shift:

Controlling and commanding Mentoring and empowerment
Creating conformity Valuing diversity
Working through chain of command Making decisions at the lowest levels
Narrow job descriptions Broad job design
Leading teams Teams leading themselves
Developing and rewarding through upward mobility Developmental assignments and lateral mobility
Domestic focus Global focus
Using formal power Using influence
Using imposed systems of measurement and controls Letting employees determine both
Resisting change Leading change

Hopefully, as a result of these trends, work will become more satisfying. Workers will have a greater sense of closure and accomplishment from their jobs as they perform complete tasks and have more control over decisions that affect their jobs. In addition, they will have more power to affect the organization in a significant way. These trends can have positive consequences if managers learn how to create a culture of continuous improvement, understand their new roles, develop employees, and mentor effectively. Mentoring is a process of building a relationship and a working environment that enhances the development of skills and performance of one or both parties. Mentoring must be supported and reinforced by the management system and the organizational culture.


Organizations can expect many benefits from mentoring. Staff will grow, mature and gain confidence. They will gain the following:

1. Awareness of organizational policies and culture
2. Appreciation of networking
3. Proactive approaches to their tasks
4. Eagerness to learn
5. Movement towards “expert” status
6. Attitude of “advocacy”


Many managers state that they act as mentors to their “people”; however, the direct manager is more likely to be in the role of a coach rather than a mentor. The differences between coaching and mentoring can be illustrated as follows:

Focuses on tasks Focuses on processes
Usually short term Usually long term
Explicit feedback Intuitive feedback
Develops skills Develops capabilities
Driven by the coach Driven by the protégé
Shows where you went wrong Helps you figure it out for yourself

A direct manager is a coach. It is his/her responsibility to focus on the work that must be done and assure that the worker knows how to do the tasks required to do the work. It is very important to include the direct manager in a mentoring relationship. There are three ways a manager can be involved in the mentoring relationship:

1) The manager is told about the relationship but does not meet with the mentor and has a somewhat arms- length relationship. The mentor may answer direct questions about the development of the protégé within the bounds of their confidentiality agreement, but does not offer comments to the manager.

2) The mentor, protégé and manager meet together to discuss the goals and objectives of the mentoring relationship, discuss training plans and other development potential. After the initial set-up of the relationship, the manager steps back, and has little further involvement.

3) The mentor, protégé and manager meet frequently to work together to help the protégé reach his/her goals. The choice of style of mentor/protégé/manager relationship that will work best depends on the personalities of the individuals and the choice should always be made by the protégé who is driving the relationship. As a general rule, the protégé should include his direct manager in the mentoring relationship as much as possible because he is a key player in career development.


Some businesses may wish maximize the benefits of the APEGGA Mentoring Program to their organization through the following actions:

  • Manage the entire mentoring process to ensure consistency and quality. Though the content of individual mentoring sessions should always be confidential, the mentoring process itself needs to be managed to ensure that the protégés and the mentors are following the appropriate process and leveraging best practices.

  • Prepare protégés in advance for mentoring and don’t force mentoring on anyone. Mentoring remains a relatively new development technique and people may not understand how the process can help them become better professionals. The sooner they understand the process, the sooner they will see results.

  • Provide mentoring with strong organizational support. Those being mentored should receive encouragement and support from their immediate managers. Also, mentoring should be conducted in the context of other developmental efforts such as competency development, assessments, mentoring and leadership workshops.

  • Allow each mentoring relationship to follow its own path. A major difference between mentoring and training is that mentoring allows the individual to determine what works best for him at a very personal level. Mentors need wide latitude to work with “the whole person” and help each protégé be more effective as a person as well as to be more effective as a business leader.


With so many intangible benefits, the bottom-line effects of a mentoring program can be difficult to quantify. ROI is most clearly demonstrated by examining productivity and turnover rates before and after implementing a mentoring program. According to the Meta Group, when mentoring leverages the organization’s skills and productivity, employee morale can increase by 25 per cent. The ROI for mentoring can be calculated using various methods, and a return for the investment can be found in numerous locations within an organization. An ideal way to examine the ROI for mentoring is to look at the protégé, mentor and the organization.

  • With protégés, ROI can be calculated through skill and knowledge development that directly impacts productivity.

  • With mentors, ROI can be calculated through the sharing of knowledge and expertise.

  • With the organization the ROI can be calculated through retention, attracting talent, savings on training and development costs, and creating a competitive work environment.

Regardless of where you look for the ROI on mentoring, the formula for calculating the ROI is generally the same. The following is a sample method for calculating ROI of a mentoring program in the area of retention.

A. Calculate the total costs of implementing and running the mentoring program.
B. Determine the current level of spending associated with the cost to the company each time an employee leaves the company during the year.
C. Multiply the amount “B” by the number of employees that leave during the year.
D. Subtract “A” (original investment in mentoring) from “C” (turnover costs).
E. Divide “D” by “A” and multiply times 100 to determine the ROI percentage.

(Please note: this style of calculation does not factor in changing business conditions, manpower pool, competition and other factors, it is strictly a measure of mentoring.)

Statistics show the positive influence of mentoring on protégés, mentors and organizations. These statistics are grouped into four categories that effect every organization or individual.

Promotion: 75 per cent of executives point to mentoring as playing a key role in their careers; and 44 per cent of CEOs list mentoring programs as one of the three most effective strategies to enhance women’s advancement into senior management. (Source: American Society of Training & Development – ASTD)

Productivity: Managerial productivity increased by 88 per cent when mentoring was involved, versus only a 24 per cent increase with training alone; 71 per cent of Fortune 500 companies use mentoring to assure learning occurs in their organizations. (Source: ASTD)

Development: More than 60 per cent of college and graduate students listed mentoring as a criterion for selecting an employer after graduation (Source: MMHA); 76 per cent of Fortune’s top 25 companies offer mentoring programs (Source: Fortune Magazine); 96 per cent of executives say mentoring is an important development tool (Source: Account Temps).

Retention: 77 per cent of companies report that mentoring programs were effective in increasing employee retention; 35 per cent of employees who do not receive regular mentoring look for another job within 12 months (Source: ASTD).

When all is said and done, there can be little doubt that mentoring is not only good for the professions but also benefits mentors, protégés and the organization.


All reference materials used in the creation of this text can be found on APEGGA’s Mentoring web site under the heading of resources. That location also gives a listing of web sites that will provide help to potential mentors and protégés.

Copyright © 2004 The Association of Professional Engineers,
Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta. All rights reserved