Surveys and Templates to Help You Evaluate the Effectiveness of a Mentoring Program

Evaluations

It is very important to evaluate mentoring programs, rather than assuming that every mentoring relationship was automatically successful. There are many ways of evaluating the effectiveness of your mentoring program, and which approach you take will depend on the objectives of the program, and how easily measurable those objectives are.
 

'Happy Sheets'

The simplest type of assessment tool is commonly referred to as a 'happy sheet', and is generally used to assess the satisfaction levels of participants in the mentoring program. These are generally handed out at the conclusion of a program to both mentees and mentors and generally consist of a 'rating scale' around some straightforward questions, generally about 5-10 questions.
 
Click here for a Sample 'Happy Sheet' (pdf version)
Click here for Sample 'Happy Sheet' (word)
 

Qualitative Questionnaires

Qualitative questionnaires attempt to elicit more in-depth responses and are usually designed to find out what has changed as a result of the program, what the mentees have learnt, and what they are doing differently.
 
Click here for a Sample Qualitative Questionnaire (pdf version)
Click here for a Sample Qualitative Questionnaire (word)
 

Focus Groups

Using small groups of participants to evaluate a mentoring program is a way of gaining more in-depth information on the program which can be used to re-design future programs. In face-to-face discussion participants are also more likely to be honest regarding issues they may have encountered with their mentors, than they would in filling out a questionnaire.
Some issues to be aware of in using focus group evaluations:
  • Always use an objective, trained facilitator- not someone who has a vested interest in the outcomes
  • Keep groups to 4-6 in size
  • Ensure questions posed are answered, and that the discussion does does get off track
  • Ensure responses are well documented, relying on memory to record responses afterwards is not reliable.
  • Can use groups to record their responses- i.e. using butchers paper etc. as this helps to focus discussions and answers
  • Use a range of questions to probe responses, rather than using a questionnaire style approach. For example, why did you feel that the program was of benefit to you?
Which evaluation form you use will depend on how structured and measurable your objectives for the program are. You can also use a combination of approaches. For example for a less formal program with broader objectives, a combination of a 'happy sheet' with some focus group discussion would be appropriate.
For more structured programs with specific objectives, a detailed questionnaire may be sufficient evaluation, although it may also be combined with focus group evaluations.