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Insights From a Mentoring Expert

Christian Leadership Alliance

Why Does mentoring matter? Katy Dickinson, founder and principal of Katy Dickinson Consulting, says mentoring programs transform not only the individuals involved but also the company itself. Over the years she has developed mentoring programs at organizations around the globe, including Sun Microsystems. She has also spearheaded the TechWomen mentoring initiative at the U.S. Department of State and she serves as an accredited mentor for the University of the South’s School of Theology (Sewanee, Tenn.). She spoke recently with Outcomes magazine and this post is an excerpt from that interview.

1. What are some key motivators for implementing mentoring?

Mentoring is a professional methodology with remarkably good payback. At Sun Microsystems, between 1996 and 2010, more than 7,300 technical employees participated in formal mentoring programs. Our success was measured at over 1,000 percent return on investment (ROI) with more than twice the normal promotions and 93 percent satisfaction. Some 88 percent of our mentors were working remotely from mentees in 30 global sites, and 70 percent were executive mentors. These excellent payback metrics provide clear motivation for a company or organization to implement a mentoring program. However, motivation of the mentors is the key to program success. A mentoring program cannot succeed without mentors, preferably those who come back year after year. Good mentors want to give back, to help others as they themselves were helped during their professional development.

2. How does mentoring complement faith?

The model of mentoring is consistent with how the disciples learned from Jesus. A mentor serves as a role model and guide, walking with their mentee during their time together, giving few laws but demonstrating through stories and actions what needs to be done. In my own relationships, my mentees  and I sometimes speak explicitly about faith but mostly mentoring is preaching  by deeds. Mentoring becomes part of a personal ministry as both a process and a skill — listening, being in the moment with the mentee and responding from your heart and experience to their needs.

3. How can a program like the Outcomes Mentoring Network benefit organizations that want to equip next generation leaders?

Mentoring is addictive. After having experienced a well-run mentoring program, where their time and experience are respected and making a difference, most mentors say that they learn more than their mentees and want to mentor again and again. The mentors’ motivation drives the success of the program.

CLA’s Outcomes Mentoring Network provides a structured environment for professional mentoring in a context of Christian faith. The most valuable mentoring benefits to both the organization and the participants develop over time, sometimes over many years. Creating and supporting a stable, cyclic and formal mentoring culture benefits CLA, the mentors, the mentees and their home organizations. Outcomes Mentoring Network helps experienced mentors pay it forward — to help others as they were helped and to grow future leaders.


The next profile submission deadline  for  Outcomes Mentoring Network mentees is May 15, 2015. Mentors may submit their profiles at any time.

The Outcomes Mentoring Network

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What is Christian Leadership Alliance?

Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.

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