011 – The Keys to Developing Effective Mentorship Programs | Alison Martin-Books

Alison Martin-Books is the Founder of Pass the Torch for Women and CEO of Diverse Talent Strategies, a mentoring movement across the US seeking to elevate people in the workplace. She is also the author of Learning to Lead Through Mentoring: 8 Mentoring Lessons to Help You Pursue Meaningful Mentoring Relationships.

Alison’s passion for mentorship comes from reflecting on the opportunities she had early in her career. She credits her success to the great mentors who helped her realize her leadership potential. Because of the positive effect mentorship has had on both her professional and personal life, she now strives to equip others with the opportunity for meaningful mentor relationships.

She believes a mentorship program is one of the best ways to increase employee engagement. Not only does mentorship facilitate a transfer of knowledge and help to mold strong leaders, but it gives employees the feeling there’s someone else who invested in their development. They know where to turn when they need answers, and they feel like someone cares about them.

Truth You Can Act On:

  1. Feedback: The ability to give useful feedback is a skill all leaders need to learn and master. Sometimes those critical conversations aren’t the easiest to have, but with practice, you’ll be able to have them more comfortably. It’s not always fun, but it’s what ultimately leads to growth.
  2. Personal Board of Directors: Mentoring is not about one relationship; it’s multifaceted. It’s all based on the many different leadership skills you’re looking to develop. The key is having multiple mentors who serve as your board of directors for all areas you desire to grow in.
  3. Leader Participation: If we want to see engagement being driven throughout the organization by mentoring, we as leaders need to be mentors as well as mentees. We need to be sharing our experiences. If we’re looking for our employees to become more savvy in personal and professional development then we need to share with them the resources we used. It’s the same thing with mentoring. We need to share our participation, share our key takeaways, and walk the walk.
  4. Measuring Impact Through Intentionality: It’s essential to focus on why you’re mentoring in the first place. For example, if you want to improve diversity, you must first understand where your baseline is, where your numbers are, and where you want to go. Understanding this allows you to monitor specific trends, measure the impact your mentorship program is having on diversity, and make any necessary adjustments.

Nikki’s Book Recommendation:


  • Emplify Are you still using pulse surveys? How about annual questionnaires? If your organization relies on either of these, it’s time to discover Emplify. • Emplify has created a new way to measure employee engagement. It’s where CEOs who want to know what’s really happening within a workforce go… to get honest feedback… and to understand what needs to change for people to love their work using simple and trustworthy data.
  • Titus – In our conversations with CEOs and hiring managers, we hear they are frustrated with traditional recruiting… From outrageous fees to focusing on candidates before clients, the process was broken and needed to be fixed. Enter Titus Talent. Titus Talent Strategies serves its clients using passionate people, a proven process, and unparalleled performance. Oh, did we mention they guarantee the PERFORMANCE of their candidates for 12 months?

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