The mentoring programme will only achieve its aims if it operates within a well organised structure. This includes a defined process of monitoring and evaluation. Everyone involved in the scheme should be involved in this review process to ensure ongoing continuous improvement.
By its very nature, this role will involve continuous review as the Mentor and Candidate will be meeting on a regular basis to review progress.
It is the responsibility of the Mentor to give feedback on progress to the Lodge Mentor. This will include how the mentoring relationship is progressing with the Candidate and will contain such points as:
- How often do they meet?
- Have they met after each of the degree ceremonies?
- Does the Candidate make any positive/negative comments about any aspects of the Craft?
- Has the candidate taken part in any ritual or shown interest in doing so?
- Are there any recognisable skills that the Candidate has that may be useful to the Lodge in the future i.e. a head for figures (Treasurer), Compassion (Almoner)?
- Is the Candidate visiting other Lodges?
- Does he attend any social events?
- Any other general comments
The Mentor can also give feedback on how he personally feels about the role he has agreed to undertake: does he enjoy it; has he had any good success; any best practice to share etc
The frequency of these review sessions will depend upon the Lodge Mentor, but must occur at least once a year before he completes a Detailed Mentoring Report in respect of each Candidate.
The Lodge Mentor
As the Co-ordinator of mentoring within his Lodge, the Lodge Mentor needs to monitor and report on all mentoring activities to the Provincial Mentor.
This will involve both objective and subjective methods. Subjective evaluation will come from review discussions with Mentors on Candidate progress. This will involve the areas mentioned above in the Mentor section, and will be mainly focussed on the nature of the relationship between the Candidate and his Mentor.
More objective measurement can be made by taking note of a number of criteria for each candidate:
- Number of attendances
- Progression in Lodge, if appropriate
- Number of Provincial seminars attended
- Number of visits made to other Lodges
- Attendance at Lodge of Instruction (if appropriate)
Whilst not wishing to appear prescriptive, a degree of uniformity is necessary when adopting the criteria to be used, if a Provincial or national picture is to emerge. Whatever criteria are being used should be open and transparent and agreed by all parties. The same criteria should be used for each candidate in the Lodge and across Lodges. However, merely a 'gut' feeling is unhelpful as it can lead to charges of inconsistency and bias. Judgements should be supported with evidence.
What should also be made clear is that these criteria give a judgement on the process and not on the person.
If the process is working well, it should result in a Candidate attending regularly, showing interest in the ritual, wanting to move on, eager to learn, asking questions and obviously enjoying his masonry.
Whatever judgements are made should be the basis for growth during the next year. Setting targets can be unhelpful and threatening, as well as instigating a culture of failure if targets are not met. What is positive and empowering is for the Candidate to indicate what he would like to do and the support he will require e.g. Learn some ritual, shadow the Inner Guard, visit another Lodge, or help in fundraising.
Once a year the Lodge Mentor should complete a Lodge Mentoring Report and return it to the Provincial Mentor by a specified date. This report allows the Lodge Mentor to give progress details at both individual Candidate and general Lodge levels.
When making comments on a candidate's progress the following terms could be used:
Very good progress (we have an excellent candidate here).
Good progress (we have the makings of an excellent Mason).
Satisfactory progress (things are going OK most of the time).
Unsatisfactory progress (the candidate does not seem to be happy. We need to sort the problems).