Monitoring and evaluating
Now the program is running, you need to monitor it. Here are some guidelines guidelines because some lines are fuzzy:
- the line between monitoring a program and mentoring the student
- the line between monitoring a program while it's running and evaluating it at the end.
Let's say that you have the role of training program supervisor. Put briefly, you are responsible to make sure the program works for the student. From a training view-point, the buck stops with you.
In an organization's mentoring program, you will probably need to identify the benefits and outcomes for the organization and report them. You should also give your organization any comments that will help them improve the program.
Besides the mentor and the mentoree, you might also need to ask other people how the program is going, for example, the supervisor or manager, on-job people giving help, and off-job training personnel.
During the evaluation, identify the outcomes. In a work context, you can also ask the mentoree's supervisor if the mentoree has made any observable progress. If you find difficulties or problems, look for alternatives that you can present to the mentor and mentoree so they can do better in the future.
Meet with both mentor and mentoree separately. Both the mentor and mentoree need to say what they think were the benefits and what they think it should have achieved but didn't. Discuss them so you learn as much as you can from the evaluation. You may find that it takes more work to articulate benefits of a distinctly personal nature.
They can have widely different views; one might say it is excellent and the other might say it is very difficult.
Although some problems are serious, many are simple misunderstandings:
"I thought they meant … but then they … "
"She said … but then she … "
It is quite normal that some of them think the program is going well, while others see difficulties. Explore the difficulties until you know the nature of the problem. For example, Jamie mentions to you that he can’t handle the workload. When you enquire, he might say:
"I have a full day each week on campus, but I still have to do a full-time load at work."
"The boss comes in and gives me extra things to do that aren't on my job description."
"I was sick, but I kept coming to work anyway."
"I was given some things to do but I don’t know how to do them."
The supervisor might say:
"He’s doing really well. I didn’t know there was a problem."
"He’s just slacking off. He doesn’t get his work done."
"He’s trying real hard but I guess he’s not cut out for it."
"He’s doing okay. I discussed how it’s going with him the other day and it was good."
Whatever the case, and whichever side brings up a problem, it is your duty to find out what is going wrong and fix it.
And it doesn't stop there. Other monitoring points:
- Monitor the student's readiness to take on new tasks and responsibilities. They may become comfortable with things that they have learned, or become fearful of some new tasks.
- Put most of your time into being constructive rather than solving problems. Dealing only with problems and ignoring success is a rather negative attitude to convey.
- Observe the student’s work and suggest alternative approaches where necessary.
- Especially in the case of younger people, it will be helpful to monitor workplace relationships. Work will be much easier if they make friends, but they may be very unhappy if they don’t. Besides, most training sector qualifications require teamwork and communication, so these aspects are really part of your core responsibilities.
- You might also find cases of inequitable treatment based on race, culture, gender or other related issues. You need to find out what is going on. When you do, intervene tactfully but decisively to resolve the problem. You cannot assume that people will always communicate effectively.
- Monitor OHS.