Mentoring Champions are advocates for your mentoring program. They are often mentoring program participants (mentor or mentee), or people of influence in your organization who exhibit enthusiasm, have a positive impact on others, and demonstrate an attitude of support and connectedness. These Mentoring Champions can assist in promoting your program and the impact it has, and share their experience of mentoring with others.
How to spot your Mentoring Champions
As an advocate for mentorship, they typically demonstrate their commitment to the program by being actively involved themselves. This could include acting as a mentor or mentee, participating in relevant training or professional development opportunities, or providing feedback to the program leaders.
There is a tendency to look to senior executives to champion your mentoring program. This can have a mixed outcome as it can be seen as ‘the boss handing out instruction’. The secret here is vulnerability. By encouraging your Champion to share a real, positive experience that is authentic, can help break down that wall and present a story that is both relatable and inspiring.
If you lack senior executive buy-in when selecting a Mentoring Champion, look to your participants for inspiration. Scan your Highlights and Sentiment data on Mentorloop for compelling stories, feedback and 5-star Mentoring Quality Scores. Here’s where you’ll find enthusiastic participants who may be willing to share their experiences with others.
How they can help
Having a handful of people in your organization champion mentoring helps potential participants understand the benefits of mentoring from a personal perspective. It gives them an example of someone who has experienced mentoring in the past and is wanting to pay that forward. Like mentoring itself, it’s often about someone sharing their personal experience.
Mentoring Champions are best deployed by promoting the program both within the organization and externally (where applicable). This could include creating promotions, sharing success stories, or hosting events to celebrate program participants. The goal is to make the program as visible and appealing as possible.
Some examples of how your Champions can help:
- Launch assistance – encourage colleagues to join your mentoring program by providing potential participants with a second opinion on why they should participate.
- Mentoring evangelism – sharing their success stories gives participants insight into what past mentoring relationships have provided them, and how they hope to pay this forward.
- Ongoing promotion of the program – they can provide testimonials and quotes for marketing materials, while also communicating with the broader organization on the successes of the program and reaching out to new potential participants.
- Provide a source of support for new participants - we've had programs see great success from their Mentoring Champions hosting informal sessions or lunch-and-learns to promote the program and answer questions.
- Set an example for other participants - acting as mentors themselves encourages others to join the program.
How Mentoring Champions helped scale the success of the PMI iGrow program
The iGrow Global Mentoring Program at PMI is a grassroots initiative created by employees, for employees at Philip Morris International. From the genesis of iGrow, the philosophy has been to empower PMI colleagues from across the world, giving them an opportunity to hone their leadership skills, expand their network, and grow as individuals, supported by someone outside of their immediate team.
With creating a sense of belonging at the core of the program's purpose, towards the end of 2022, the iGrow team began recruiting volunteers for its new initiative: iGrow Ambassadors.
The Ambassador positions were announced casually during a closing session for the 2022 cohort, and then a tick box was added to the closing survey, giving people an easy to way to express their interest in becoming an Ambassador.
In the meantime, the Program Coordinator was a Mentoring Champion in themselves, hyping up mentoring and the program's success so far and building up their own personal brand persona on internal and external social channels.
From there, they took time to get to know each Ambassador, recognising the importance of personal touch and human connection.
And with the iGrow Ambassadors confirmed, the program began to soar to new levels of success.Here's what the Program Coordinator had to say about the initiative:
"I am positive that the network of ambassadors significantly contributed to the success of iGrow this year, with almost 2300 sign-ups. I think people, in general, are missing that personal touch, someone who reaches out to them individually, and truly believes that they are special and can make an impact, and be part of something larger. Employees at PMI are seeing a sense of belonging, and connection in such a big global company like PMI with more than 80k employees."
Example of how a Mentoring Champion has helped promote a program
A recently launched program on Mentorloop sent out some launch communications from their designated ‘Champion’ along with those sent by the Program Coordinator and Mentorloop. The program experienced unprecedented engagement securing almost 100 participants within a week of launching – leaving very few on the sidelines.