Webinar 3: Mentoring and Other Ways to Leverage the Impact of Training. Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

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1 Webinar 3: Mentoring and Other Ways to Leverage the Impact of Training Association of Public and Land-grant Universities October 3, 2013 Introduction This webinar is the third in a series focused on how best to use long-term training to build institutional capacity. The webinars are part of a larger project called the Knowledge Network on Long-Term Technical and Leadership Training, a joint project of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and USAID. In this webinar, participants heard about mentoring and purpose road mapping from the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) fellowship program. AWARD is a two year career development fellowship for women in agricultural sciences across Sub-Saharan Africa, focused on the development of advanced science skills, leadership skills, and mentoring. Discussing the AWARD approach was Marco Noordeloos, the Fellowship Manager, and Mary Njenga, a 2009 AWARD Fellow. Below is a summary of their presentation and the discussion that followed, which also focused on other ways to leverage the impact of training. What is Mentoring? Mentoring can be a powerful driver for career development. Mentoring is not encouraging others to be like you, nor simply telling others what you would do in a certain situation, nor is it general advising or directing. For AWARD, mentoring refers to a developmental partnership between a more experienced professional and a less experienced partner. The program fosters a two-way relationship, not simply a one-way communication from mentor to mentee. The hope is to build a supportive partnership that benefits and serves both parties (although the focus is on the fellow s development).

2 A mentor is expected to: provide nurturing support by listening, asking questions, and sharing his or her experience, scientific knowledge, and networks support and challenge the mentee to grow within her field and within her institution encourage the mentee to focus her career and build strong leadership for the future Support Structure for an Effective Mentoring Program If mentoring is viewed as a critical part of the training program, care should be taken in overseeing the mentoring process from the matching of individuals to coaching the mentoring process. Mentoring can be empowering to both individuals and their organizations, but it takes motivated and skilled people to coordinate a formal mentoring program. It is complex and assigning an HR assistant as Mentoring Coordinator without guidance is unlikely to lead to a successful mentoring program. Moreover, human resources departments do not generally have expertise in how to support mentoring. AWARD has shared some useful guidebooks for Mentoring Coordinators, Mentors, and Mentees, which are all posted on the Agrilinks discussion group. The Mentoring Coordinator/Coach position entails not just conducting interviews with potential mentors and matching fellows with a suitable mentor, but also coaching the mentoring pair throughout the process and helping them overcome any challenges. The coaching is discussed further below. Matching mentees to mentors Supervisors should not be assigned as the trainee s formal mentor. Of course, it is hoped that supervisors use mentoring skills, but when attempting to foster formal mentoring and formal mentor roles, there is too much room for role conflict with supervisors. The supervisor s responsibility is focused primarily on the organization s interests, whereas the mentor s focus is on the interests of the individual being mentored. If these responsibilities are held by the same person, prioritization of needs and conflict of loyalty can occur. In AWARD, at least two layers of separation between the mentor and the fellow are required. For example, the mentor must be in a different department and at a different level. This is to ensure the freedom to talk openly about the fellows goals and ambitions, and to minimize the risk of jealousy or other kinds of backlash. For this reason the more senior fellows typically have mentors in a different institution. Matching fellows with mentors is an often overlooked art. Mentors are selected not just based on their job title or professional experience. Personal styles, preferences, and motivations all factor into effective matching. A positive mentoring relationship needs chemistry at both a personal and professional level. Although pairs need not be best friends, some sort of personal connection is a large part of successful mentoring. About 70% of fellow-mentor pairs are located in same city; some 41% of them even at the same location (e.g. a campus or office building). Some are more dispersed in their respective countries, and a few (4%) are located in different countries. So, for those who are further away, or for whom busy travel schedules interfere, the two rely more on virtual mentoring via telephone, Skype, and . Virtual mentoring has been found to be effective as well.

3 Kicking Off and Supporting the Mentoring Process and Developing a Purpose Road Map Once fellows have been paired with mentors, AWARD organizes a 4-5 day mentoring orientation workshop for all mentors and mentees. During this workshop, mentors and mentees review mentoring guidelines and expectations, develop a Purpose Road Map for the mentee to capture her life s vision and career ambitions, and create a mentoring plan to organize their year of mentoring. Through the purpose road mapping, each mentee defines her ambitions and life goals, identifies the most effective position where she can achieve those goals, and creates a career path tracing how to reach her desired position. Purpose road mapping can extend beyond the individual s career goals to include institutional changes, such as building a new technical expertise that reflects an emerging scientific field. Furthermore, individual goals may include bringing change in an organization, such as developing tools and guidelines aimed at influencing the future work of the organization towards certain intended outcomes. Also, in 2013, AWARD has started to offer Mentoring Orientation Workshops for specific institutions. In that context, they encourage the institution to start with the institutional goals and objectives, and have the mentoring and purpose road maps center around those organizational objectives while still retaining a personal development focus. AWARD s Two-Year Mentoring Structure AWARD fellows are expected to meet with their mentors at least monthly for 1-2 hours for one year a time frame which AWARD has found is long enough for fellows to make substantial progress but short enough to stay focused. The purpose road map and mentoring plan guide the formal mentoring meetings. Once the first year of mentorship is over, the AWARD mentees become mentors for more junior women professionals, which creates a cascade effect with experienced mentees nurturing new mentees. AWARD s monitoring and evaluation findings show that their mentoring program has been viewed very beneficially by both mentees, who report positive outcomes on goal achievement and career development, and mentors, who report that they have learned practical new skills about effective mentoring, leadership, and staff development. AWARD s initial findings also show evidence that their mentorship approach is creating ripple effects that have impacts on departments and even institutions. A Two-Way Benefit Mentors in the AWARD program report that: they learned practical new skills about effective mentoring, leadership, and staff development they now have a more up-to-date understanding of the outlooks and research focus of their younger colleagues in their institutions. they benefit from the recognition by peers and leaders in their institutions as a formal mentor. In fact, AWARD has seen evidence of what s called reversed mentoring, where the more senior person benefits significantly from working with a more junior person.

4 Gender and Mentoring Almost half of the 275 AWARD mentors are men. These are senior, seasoned scientists and leaders who volunteer their time, experience, and networks to make a difference in the careers of women researchers. Many of these senior men report that for the first time they now understand better the challenges that women researchers face in their career development. One male mentor remarked that not only did he think he had become a better leader, but that he was now also a better husband and father to his daughters. Mentoring can, when well-structured and executed, have a powerful impact in unanticipated ways. Testimony from an AWARD Fellow Mary Njenga, a 2009 AWARD fellow from Kenya, gave a personal testimony of how the AWARD mentorship program helped her develop and reach her long-term goals. Mary and her mentor, Dr. Yvonne Pinto, were strongly committed to the program, and forged a friendship that lasted long after the official mentorship ended. Their partnership even led to a joint publication. During the initial mentorship orientation, she and her mentor selected three objectives: advancing technical skills, enhancing leadership skills, and networking. Because her mentor was not her supervisor, Mary felt they were able to develop mutual trust and share common concerns openly and confidentially. Mary felt that creating a Purpose Road Map helped her to stay focused on her profession which led to her graduating early from her PhD program. Following the presentation by Marco and Mary, participants asked questions about institutional impacts, recruiting mentors, and action plans. Some of the key questions and answers are listed below: Q: What kind of institutional changes can be observed as a result of AWARD s mentoring program? A: Marco explained AWARD s empowerment model, which uses a four-step approach: 1) increasing confidence and personal change ( power within ); 2) increasing skills and awareness ( power to do ); 3) increasing control over resources and assets ( power over ); and 4) increasing solidarity and joined action ( power with ). AWARD has recorded evidence of significant personal transformation as a result of the mentoring program, and AWARD is now beginning to see evidence of higher-level transformation, such as an increase in publications and promotions for mentees. They have also seen mentors and mentees work together to advocate for policy changes at the institutional level, such as with gender. Q: What are some specific examples of how a mentoring session would look? A: Mary discussed the structure of the sessions between her and her mentor. After scheduling a meeting, they set an agenda item to cover in that meeting (e.g. how to improve research and reporting skills). In addition to discussing this agenda item in the meeting, they talk about progress that has been made since the last meeting, what have been some challenges faced and whether the mentee s road map needed to be modified. Marco also commented that both partners must be intentional, that is to have a clear understanding of what the purpose is and what the mentee would like to achieve.

5 Q: Can you describe how you recruit committed mentors and what kinds of incentives that AWARD provides them with? A: Marco answered that they ask fellows for suggestions of two people they would like to have as mentors. AWARD contacts these people to see if they are interested. In addition, AWARD works with their own network and asks for recommendations from trusted senior people. As far as incentives, they do not pay the mentors, as they want to attract mentors that truly buy into the spirit of mentoring and want to make a difference in the lives of the mentees. They do allow mentors to take part in an AWARD training course (leadership or science), or cover some of the costs if they desire to attend a science conference. Q: In what ways have the mentees developed formal and informal ways of mentoring others without the influence of AWARD, and within the contexts where they operate? A: Mary commented that she is currently mentoring five young girls informally, using the mentoring skills she learned through AWARD. AWARD also provides mentors and mentees with a Mentoring Workbook, which is a tool they can continue to use once they have completed the program. Q: Marco explained the reasoning behind separating mentor and supervisor functions. However, for those programs lacking the resources to support a separate mentorship component, a participant asked whether there were "next best" approaches for helping academic advisers for degree programs to gain awareness and skills to better support professional growth of students? A: Marco noted that a good supervisor will make use of coaching and mentoring skills, and that his or her effectiveness in supporting an employee can be increased by applying these skills. However, he reiterated the point that a formal mentor needs to be separate from a supervisor, so that a mentee is able to talk freely about her goals and feel confident that any discussions will be kept confidential. Q: Does action planning include anything other than preparation of the Purpose Road Map that you discussed for AWARD fellows? A: The Purpose Road Map is the main component of action planning at AWARD, and it gives the mentee a set of benchmarks to return to and assess her own progress. Marco also noted that AWARD mentees keep progress journals throughout the program to help them stay on track and keep focused. Other Ways to Leverage Impact Andrew Gilboy and Anne-Claire Hervy then turned the conversation to other ways to leverage the impact of training programs. They highlighted three main points: 1. Facilitating trainee s engagement with the home institution It is important to develop ways for trainees to maintain ties to their home institutions, so that they are able to have an impact on change at their home institutions once they return. One way to do this is to encourage a monthly telephone or Skype call between the trainee and various contacts at his or her

6 home institution. This communication would allow the trainee to learn about developments taking place at the home institution and would help ensure that the trainee s program fits with the home institution s needs and objectives. This action could be integrated into the trainee s program, with a requirement that each trainee provide a summary of these monthly calls to the program monitors. Another way to support trainee engagement with the home institutions would be to require trainees to write a report about the institutional changes and needs they have observed in their home institution after any visits to their home country. Trainees can also help support the information flow to colleagues at their home institution, who may have difficulty accessing information from where they are. 2. Strengthening ties between sending and receiving institutions Strengthening ties between sending and receiving institutions can also increase the potential of trainees to impact their home institutions. The receiving institution should seek to actively learn about the needs of trainees home institutions by communicating with each institution s leadership and accessing any assessments conducted of each institution. This can aid receiving institutions in shaping each trainee s degree program to fit with his or her home institution s particular needs. Program directors of receiving institutions should also stay informed about any visits to the U.S. by members of a trainee s home institution or any visits to the country of the home institution by U.S. faculty, and should seek to facilitate meetings between the two institutions through these visits. Finally, the receiving institution should be aware of contacts and connections between their institution and a trainees home institution whether formal connections between programs, or informal connections between faculty members so that there can be a more coordinated engagement with the institution. 3. Leadership training Although leadership is often thought of as innate, leadership is a skill and a mind-set that can be learned and should be intentionally developed so that trainees return home with the skills necessary to impact their home institutions. As leadership is necessary at all levels in an institution, leadership training should be integrated into all types of technical training programs. One way to enable leadership development is through the use of purpose road mapping, which is explained earlier in this summary. This type of action planning allows trainees to identify the particular leadership skills they need to develop and create plans for how to develop them. This is especially important if the institution or program they are in cannot provide direct leadership training. Programs that do not provide direct leadership training should consider allocating funds for the trainee to use for leadership development. Rather than developing a leadership training program from scratch, programs seeking to develop leadership training can make use of outside expertise and integrate existing leadership programs and modules into their program. Programs should also seek to go beyond a single workshop approach to leadership development to a more extensive leadership development program that is integrated throughout the training. One participant noted that developing a webinar series on leadership for all individuals undergoing training would be one way to instill leadership skills in trainees.

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