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About this book

Mentoring and coaching are becoming widely recognised as a means to promote student success, retention and attainment. Such programmes help students to transition into university life and achieve the best possible outcome from their experience.

For a mentoring or coaching scheme to benefit students, however, it's important to follow best practice. This book will guide you through the crucial stages and possible pitfalls of setting up your own coaching or mentoring programme. The first section outlines what these terms mean, how they can be used and the attributes required to be a good coach or mentor. The book goes on to guide you step by step through the processes of planning a programme, recruiting coaches or mentors, matching them to mentees and evaluating the end result. The final chapters discuss more specialised programmes, such as ementoring and using university mentors for school pupils.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Abstract
There are continued pressures on higher education institutions to improve their provision and remain or become major competitors within the field. This is driven by financial constraints and increasing student fees which demand a higher level of accountability in student satisfaction. The impact on student expectations and retention, as identified by Foskett, Roberts, & Maringe (2006), has increased the need for higher education institutions to be more creative and diverse in providing support for students and enabling them to succeed.
Jill Andreanoff

1. What Are Mentoring and Coaching?

Abstract
There is much conflict about the terms ‘mentoring’ and ‘coaching’ and the difference between them. Whilst the actual definitions of mentoring or coaching are not absolutely crucial to the implementation of a programme, serious consideration should be given to this prior to scheme implementation as it will become important when it comes to the training and preparation of your intended participants. Jacobi (1991) first recognised the need for a precise definition of peer support terms in order to determine the necessary elements for success. The debate on the differences between these two interventions still continues and is likely to do so for some time, with authors such as Chao (2006) critiquing others for not sufficiently defining the terms.
Jill Andreanoff

2. The Role of the Scheme Coordinator

Abstract
The role of the mentoring or coaching scheme coordinator is usually vastly underestimated, and a common problem is a lack of allocated hours to implement the programme. Too often, the coordinator is required to set up a new programme in addition to a full-time ‘day job’. Not investing sufficient coordinator hours to the programme will however inevitably lead to shortcuts being taken and to a programme that falls short of best practice. This in turn will impact on the success factor and so, if a decision is made to implement a mentoring or coaching programme, then it is essential that the commitment includes appropriate staffing levels and a sufficient allocation of hours. Table 2.1 gives some guidelines on the number of hours required for a typical mentoring or coaching programme.
Jill Andreanoff

3. For What Purposes Can Mentoring or Coaching Be Utilised?

Abstract
As has already been seen, mentoring and coaching can be used in a variety of settings and to meet a number of different objectives. I am saddened by the number of organisations that use a mentoring or coaching programme as a means of ‘ticking a box’ rather than to satisfy a genuine agenda. By paying lip service to a programme, some institutions use it as a means to impress certain regulatory organisations by stating that they have a mentoring or coaching programme in place. Unfortunately, the programme may not necessarily be well organised or meet any targets, but its mere existence is sufficient to impress. This text is directed at those who have a genuine desire to use mentoring/coaching to meet their aims and objectives through a well-run programme rather than as a numbers game. As already demonstrated, this takes a serious investment of time, energy, and funding. The growing body of organisations that regulate mentoring and coaching provision, such as the Mentoring & Befriending Foundation in the UK, the ICF (International Coach Federation) in the USA, and the EMCC (European Mentoring & Coaching Council), will hopefully serve to continue to improve practice.
Jill Andreanoff

4. Planning Your Programme

Abstract
Delivering a robust mentoring or coaching programme is a commitment in time and there will also be some costs attached which will need to be accounted for. As was seen in Table 2.1 in Chapter 2 there are several coordinator hours to be included at whatever rate they will be paid. It is quite common to have two coordinators to share the workload, particularly if they are developing the scheme in addition to their usual posts, but these hours should always be allowed for in your calculations. Having two coordinators may increase the total hours required as they will need to liaise quite frequently to keep abreast of the pairings and developing relationships. It is also likely that both should be a part of the training process in order to familiarise themselves with their mentors or coaches. If a particularly large programme is envisaged, then the responsibilities can be divided up between them. One coordinator could be responsible for matching and induction of learners whilst the other delivers the support workshops and chases up any flagging relationships. Obviously the split will depend on the available time each has to spend on the coaching and mentoring programme or perhaps to fit in with any other work commitments.
Jill Andreanoff

5. Recruitment and Screening of Mentors and Coaches

Abstract
Being unable to recruit a sufficient number of mentors or coaches is a frequent problem for many higher education institution coordinators but with the right approach and persistence this can be overcome. It is advisable to apply similar guidelines as you would if you were recruiting for a job role making few, if any, allowances. What needs to be avoided at all costs is accepting applicants who are not really suitable for the role in order to meet your target number. It is much wiser to stick firmly to your selection criteria and deliver a smaller programme. Alternatively, if there is time to extend your search to other groups or improve your promotional material or recruitment methods, then do so. Allowing less than suitable applicants to take part is likely to lead to the failure of the programme or at the very least to poor quality mentoring or coaching. It is tempting in some cases, and I have certainly personally made this mistake in the early days of my work. To give an example, I have interviewed very personable and able students who arrived slightly late to their interview without their giving any proper excuse. Against my better judgement I have given them the benefit of the doubt and offered them a place on the training, to which they also arrived late. If they have then subsequently gone on to be matched with a learner, inevitably they have been unpunctual for these meetings too, resulting, quite rightly, in complaints or poor feedback.
Jill Andreanoff

6. Mentor and Coach Training

Abstract
Probably one of the most important aspects of implementing a mentoring or coaching programme is the training programme offered to the mentors and coaches. Too many coordinators assume that if they have followed rigorous selection procedures, they will have high-calibre mentors or coaches who will need little training. However the training is essential in order to thoroughly convey the programme objectives and emphasise their commitment. They should then be taught the underpinning knowledge and skills behind successful mentoring or coaching although many of your group may feel that they have already acquired these skills. Due to the many misconceptions about the interventions, it is imperative that they are led through the process and taught the skills as you wish them to be practised.
Jill Andreanoff

7. Mentee/Coachee Recruitment and Matching

Abstract
Promotion of the scheme to mentees or coachees should be conducted in a similar way to mentor and coach recruitment. It should be tailored to the aims and objectives of the particular programme. Extra care should be taken when the programme is targeting those from disadvantaged groups such as students with a disability or from low-income backgrounds so as not to patronise or demean them. The scheme will need to be promoted in a positive way.
Jill Andreanoff

8. Record Keeping

Abstract
To enable monitoring of the mentoring or coaching relationships, it is very useful for the participants to keep a record of each of their meetings. These can be in the form of contact logs that both the mentor/coach and the learner sign each time they meet.
Jill Andreanoff

9. Mentor or Coach Supervision

Abstract
An essential part of the process in a best practice scheme is the provision of regular supervision for your mentors and coaches. Once inducted and matched, the learners should not have to contact the coordinator unless an issue arises with their relationship or with their particular coach or mentor. However your mentors and coaches should be fully supported throughout the process. Whilst thorough training will prepare them to a degree, it is not until they are actually matched with a learner that the theory will be put into practice. This can be quite a stressful time for them and they should be supported and guided through the process.
Jill Andreanoff

10. Monitoring and Evaluation

Abstract
It will be important to collect data to demonstrate the impact of your programme for a number of reasons. Not only will you want to know if the programme is effective in achieving its aims, you will also want to know what could be done to improve it. This information is important not only for your own use and to improve practice but may be imperative in order to obtain continued funding.
Jill Andreanoff

11. Ementoring

Abstract
Ementoring is an option that many higher education institutions may wish to consider particularly when designing an alumni or business mentoring programme. Whilst greater numbers can be included in the programme, there are certainly as many disadvantages as advantages to this method.
Jill Andreanoff

12. School Mentoring Programmes

Abstract
As will have been seen from Chapter 5, you will need specific criteria if you wish to recruit mentors to work with school pupils. There are other considerations that need to be taken into account, such as the need for knowledge of the education system and curriculum of the country where the mentoring is taking place. For some schemes this will be an essential criterion, for example if you are supporting secondary school pupils with their academic performance or qualification and exam subject choices. It may be beneficial to recruit students from particular backgrounds such as lower socioeconomic groups, those who have been in the care system or perhaps had behavioural issues when they were younger. Attracting suitable students can be accomplished by mentioning in your promotional materials and talks that applications would be welcome from people with these backgrounds. It is likely that students who share a similar background to their mentee will be able to build a better rapport and empathise more easily than if not. However it is not essential in all cases and it may not be practical to do so in sufficient numbers. A well-trained and well-intentioned mentor too can build a good rapport with a young person even if she or he has not faced such barriers her- or himself. It is worth noting that young people, in particular, often prefer a more pragmatic type of support when facing barriers, as opposed to sympathy.
Jill Andreanoff
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