- Paperback: 172 pages
- Publisher: Association for Talent Development (March 1, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1562864580
- ISBN-13: 978-1562864583
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.4 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Mentoring Programs That Work
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“Mentoring is not new, but many organizations fail to get the return on their investment of time, energy, and money when they put a mentoring program in place. Labin teaches companies how to design and implement a mentoring process that actually helps people learn, grow, and thrive at work. This book is a true road map for mentoring success.”
—Randy Hall, CEO, 4th Gear Consulting
“Labin provides a practical, systematic framework for the haphazard world of mentoring. If you want an effective tool for developing your people (and yourself!) read Mentoring Programs That Work.”
—Tricia Emerson, President, Emerson Human Capital Consulting
“This is a complete guide that addresses the critical elements for constructing a mentoring program that produces high-performing results. Labin writes with precision and clarity about how to design, plan, and execute a mentoring program that will work in the modern world we live in. The practical use of stories and real-world examples to illustrate key concepts keeps readers engaged and entertained.”
—Randy Emelo, Chief Strategist, River; Author, Modern Mentoring
About the Author
For 15 years, Jenn Labin has worked with organizations to improve workforce performance through leadership development and summits, formal and informal training, change efforts, and employee engagement programs. Jenn has contributed articles to the Pfeiffer Annuals in Consulting and Training. Credentials include an MA in Instructional Systems Design, and certifications in DISC-PIAV, Kirkpartick Four levels, Leadership Program Development, and Presentation Design. Besides training, Jenn is passionate about scuba diving, the environment, and spending time with family. Jenn lives near Baltimore, MD with her amazing husband, daughter, and two turtles.
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Top customer reviews
The book very much comes from the perspective of organizations, but it'll be easy to apply in individual scenarios. I captured a few pages that I'm going to send to my personal mentees so that we can better design and structure our relationships to better suit them at the same time that it'll make me a more organized, effective mentor.
If you're someone who catalyzes growth in others, this book is a must-have resource on your shelf when it's time to begin, alter, or assess a mentorship relationship or program.
I asked myself why the AXLES model struck me as it did. The answer: Its practicality derives from addressing the key "W"s.
* The Why: Goal/Problem/Opportunity [A and E]
* The What: Outcome-focus [X and E]
* The How: By nature of being a coherent model [A, L and S]
AXLES is an apt metaphor. Because the model isn't linear, A then X then etc. It's more like a wheel, there isn't really a beginning and an end. The author conveys well the mutual adjustment and moving back and forth amongst focus areas as you design. The model weaves together what you need to do across 4 critical factors of change initiatives or innovation efforts:
Perhaps it's as well the author didn't use THOSE adjectives to create her acronym.
Ms. Labin consistently tells truths: This is hard to pull off. Get over the myth of 'done', because you're constantly learning and adapting and course-correcting. Four other aspects of this book nudge it from good to excellent.
1. Participant-centrism. I found an interesting parallel to top-class Marketing and Sales, where the core concept is custom-centrism or customer achievement. Participant-centrism embodies not only the learner, but the mentor. Unless your program is workable, practical and valuable for both parties, you can have the most beautiful theoretical program... that face-plants.
2. Stage-appropriateness: How many times have we seen the seeds of failure sown by a theoretically superior model being over-engineered? This book calls out repeatedly the need to account for culture and organizational maturity. This is the rare instance where the expert practitioner is more prone to failure than the beginner. I'll use my own business for a parallel. We'd like to be pushing the frontier of emerging best practices (differentiators, leapfrog) of Marketing and Sales strategy all the time. Why? Because it's a lot more interesting for us! But we do a disservice to our clients if we don't give them 'the best solution that's possible' instead of the 'best possible solution.' (ref-SJ Simon, Why You Always Lose at Bridge). If you're an HR pro, don't make this same mistake by building the Taj Mahal of mentoring programs in a working-class neighborhood. Crawl--walk--run. Know where you are on the maturity curve. Embrace it and thrive, ignore it and die.
3. Altitude-consciousness: Simply put, when you want to gain support for your program, be at the right altitude of whomever will fund it. Much like a business case (next point, below), your approach and talk-track need to use language and concepts and business drivers of the prospective program sponsor. Fail at this and you'll either get shut down altogether or relegated to whom you sound like. If you think the latter is better, consider Sisyphus as a mental model.
4. Quantification: Too few CHROs embrace the reality that to earn fully a seat at the CEOs table--with the Alpha product, marketing, operations, and sales leaders-- you have to master the numbers. Your team simply must have the skills--or rent them--to create a defensible business case. What are the key elements? 1. Effects on primary business drivers 2. KPIs to baseline and re-measure 3. Risk-adjusted cash flow projections. The math is the science, but the art is getting execs to stack hands on what the right 'risk-adjustedness' is. How much or little of an effect do we feel confident we can take to the bank as attributable to the program? Reducing turnover requires less risk-adjustment than revenue increases, but the key stakeholders still need to decide--up front--what that is. This is similar to justifying investments based on sales productivity increases instead of cost savings. CFOs say "yeah, but I still have to pay them." So generally speaking one can responsibly claim pennies or dimes on the dollar for productivity benefits translating to cash flow ones. The same thought process should be applied to mentoring programs. Fortunately, if you've got the right business drivers, KPIs and a good program, you don't need more to produce a projected financial effect that matters.
Ok, now, should you try this yourself? Maybe. But this is a high-stakes poker game. You're going to face naysayers. Lots of executives will resist actively or passively, either because they've seen it done wrong and assume that's all that's possible, or some of them think mentoring is "typical HR fluff." There are myriad moving parts just to get internal approvals and sponsorship. And then you have to make it work. Personally, were I going to try this myself, I'd pilot something super-small/simple. But if I were an Enterprise leader with a mixture of ambition and authentic vision for the betterment of our troops, I'd hire an expert. The right one will take a big step back when you are succeeding but step forward when the going gets tough.
Since nothing's perfect I will offer this one quibble. The book is dense, and consuming it would have benefited from more liberal use of things like section headings to break up walls of text, and things like bullet lists and bold text to lead the eye along the path. In this blog-length society of which I am a part, expectations for scannability have gone way up.