June 30, 2021

First phase of research on mentorship for leadership development is complete

Mentors and mentees experienced positive changes during the mentorship program focused on leadership development
First phase of research on mentorship for leadership development is complete

Every fall for the last 18 years, the Bank of Montreal-Haskayne Mentorship Program at the Haskayne School of Business welcomes new mentees and new and returning mentors into the program. Despite the pandemic and moving online, 2020 was no exception. During the kick-off session nine months ago, pairs of mentors and mentees met for the first time. However, this year the mentorship program had a different focus than before.

The 2020-2021 mentorship program focused on helping mentors and mentees learn more about effective leadership. The revised focus provided structure to the mentor-mentee meetings by offering evidence-based guidance about leadership and podcasts by leadership teaching fellow Dr Cari Din to fuel discussion.

The CCAL research team followed the leadership development progress of mentors and mentees who were interested in participating in the research component of the mentorship program. The research component included eight surveys that were accessible after each mentoring meeting. Surveys asked questions about what mentors and mentees thought about their leadership capabilities. A total of 106 mentors and 201 mentees answered one or more of these eight surveys.

The results show positive outcomes for mentors and mentees. Mentors reported their knowledge of transformational leadership increased after the kick-off session. They also retained this learning throughout the mentorship program and were able to apply this new knowledge into their professional lives.

The program was also helpful for leadership development of mentees. Mentees started seeing themselves as leaders (“leader identity”) after their first mentorship session and maintained this positive identity change throughout the program. Mentees also reported higher confidence in their leadership capabilities (“leadership efficacy”), and as with changes in leadership identity, mentees’ leadership efficacy remained high for the rest of the mentorship program.

The initial data suggests that new leadership development materials that were provided in the 2020-2021 mentorship program seems promising for leadership development of both mentors and mentees. The future research can provide more details about the leadership development of mentors and mentees.

Enjoying what you’re reading? Join CCAL’s mailing list here to receive monthly updates on leadership learning, ethics and research.