[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                        April 11, 2008
Armywide News

Mentoring champ provides guidance

By Mary Tanzer, IMCOM Mentoring Program Manager

      ARLINGTON, Va., -- Participants in the Installation Management Command Centralized Mentoring Program reconvened in March for two video teleconferences with J. Randall (Randy) Robinson, director of Installation Management Command (IMCOM) IMCOM-West and the IMCOM mentoring champion.

      Robinson talked with participants about program activities, progress and expectations, and discussed individual development plans and program expectations.

      The Centralized Mentoring Program targets employees GS-11 through GS-13 and equivalent, employees to match with volunteer senior leaders who help groom them to assume positions with higher levels of responsibility. 

      Thirty mentee-mentor pairs were selected for the fiscal year 2008 IMCOM Centralized Mentoring Program in October 2007. During a two-day orientation the mentorship pairs developed agreements and action plans.

      Mentors and mentees also participate in stretch and one-week shadow assignments, assess leader skills, and complete online training courses during the one-year mentorship program. 

      Robinson agreed that performing shadow and stretch assignments are extremely valuable experiences and attending training courses is important. However, he cautioned mentees not to get so caught up in training that they lose focus of their job and needed contributions. He emphasized that exceptional day-to-day performance on the job is as important as attending training.

      While training is necessary, accomplishing significant tasks and achieving results are key, he said, "We need and desire people who can make a difference." He added that attending certain senior service schools is critical in developing leadership.

      Mentors can assist in reviewing resumes and individual development plans to identify and modify potential shortfalls.

      During the video teleconferences, Robinson asked if anyone's goals had changed since beginning the mentor program. 

      "Agreements, action plans and individual development plans are living documents, and may change over time," he said.

      Several mentees described their new career aspirations and revised goals under the counsel of their mentors.  Robinson recommended a course of action,

      "Build a Gant-type chart of what job you are in now and what job you want to be in when you retire. Fill in all the steps in between to include training, knowledge, competencies, jobs, and experience necessary to get to that goal," he said. "Getting cross-level experience to understand the Army Vision and move the organization forward are important qualities.  The Army leadership model is of the multifunctional generalist -- the Army needs people who can lead people, rather than a single track specialist."

      Robinson praised the commitment of the senior leader volunteer mentors. 

      "Your mentees gave great kudos and comments about the encouragement and examples set by their mentors," he said.

      For instance, mentors at Fort Bliss, Texas, who are engaged in community volunteerism, set the example for a mentee who now is volunteering at the local boys and girls club, tutoring math and teaching chess.

      Another mentee who is in a position to partner with a local community, works to support the community's infrastructure.

      Mentees expressed appreciation to their mentors who advise and assist in determining the next steps for their mentee's career. Mentors stay strategically focused, mentor the whole person, facilitate networking, support individual strengths, provide a broader view of the organization, and promote career opportunities. Mentors acknowledged that mentoring is a two-way opportunity in which the mentor learns from the mentee, as well as the mentee learning from the mentor.

      Solicitations for the 2009 mentor program are open through June 23.

      Robinson encourages employees with leadership characteristics and those who have done well under the National Security Personnel System to apply for the fiscal 2009 mentoring opportunity.

      For 2009 announcements and applications, and for information about the Civilian Mentoring Program, visit the Work force Development Web site at http://www.imcom.army.mil/site/hr/wfdhcmp.asp or contact the mentoring program manager, Mary Tanzer, (703) 602-5487 or DSN 332-5487. Her e-mail address is mary.tanzer@hqda.army.mil.


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