Designing a mentoring & coaching programme? Where to start?

I was talking about this topic with a customer just yesterday, as they were asking me about the content I covered in my mentoring training workshops. As I explained to this person, mentoring training is one component of a programme; it is not a ‘quick fix’ solution or a stand-alone activity. An important point for your organisation to ensure they do mentoring well. 

Before you embark on training your staff to be active participants in your mentoring and coaching programme (i.e., your mentors, mentees, programme champions), there are several other processes and systems that need to be designed.

Components of an effective mentoring & coaching programme

Here are some key questions to ask which will help guide your programme design and ensure your mentoring programme model will work in and for your organisation. Also, have a listen to my latest video – The 3 Minute Mentor™ – where I talk through some of these key points as well.

  1. Who will be your mentors and coaches?
  2. Who are your mentees? Why do they need mentoring support?
  3. What is the purpose of the mentoring and coaching support?
  4. Who will be trained – your mentors and mentees?
  5. How will you match mentors with mentees?
  6. What is the programme time-frame?

Then ‘next stage’ questions follow…..

  1. Who will coordinate the programme?
  2. Will you establish and train Programme Champions?
  3. How will you evaluate the impact and outcomes of the mentoring and coaching?
  4. What support will your mentors receive?

And other considerations which should be implicit in your planning and design……

  • How will you ensure sustainability of the programme?
  • What skills and qualities do your managers need to have a mentoring attitude, aptitude and approach with their staff?
  • Who will be key ‘sponsors’ of the programme?
  • How will you build a mentoring culture within your organisation?

Suggested Exercise:

Create a table like the one below and start answering these questions as a starting point to designing your mentoring and coaching programme.


Planning & Design Question Response/Strategy











A clear purpose for the mentoring & coaching programme helps organisational leaders understand why they should support and endorse it. Which leads on to the next article about ensuring sponsorship of your programme.