Mentoring programs seem to be coming of age in the corporate world and other places such as public and private school systems. Who do these programs benefit? While I was a grad student one of my group projects was to find a way to capture tacit knowledge and find an organization who is doing this. We found through research that mentoring was a perfect way to capture such knowledge. We also found a Middle school who was in the 2nd year of their mentoring program and that it was not working out the way they wanted. So we took them on.
We found that if the teachers had more time together the program would work much better. So we solved that problem by suggesting that all mentors and mentees set aside one hour a week to meet in person at a coffee shop or some other location for coffee and to discuss problems and solutions, and then we also set up a system where the mentees were able to email their mentors with problems or questions they might have. Then they saved all the correspondents between parties and compiled a notebook which was past onto the next set of mentors and mentees.This mentor program along with others I have researched benefits all parties involved, the reason being that everyone brings some type of knowledge to the table which is then shared. We found a big challenge for the mentors in this school was the technology component. The younger teachers assisted by teaching their mentors computer programs and other ways to make the technology work for them. The mentees were having problems such as unruly students or having problems getting parents involved, the mentors helped in those areas, this program ended up benefiting even the school itself by building better teachers all around. I believe this is true for the corporate environment too. Sharing tacit knowledge especially helps lower costs of training newbees.