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Evaluating the relationship

Evaluation offers a way to judge the value of something - in this case, how valuable has the mentoring process been?

The Purpose of Evaluation

Evaluation enables us to continuously improve what we are offering to mentees. This can take the form of evaluating the mentor’s ability to:-

  • Understand what this mentee needs
  • Empathically respond to the mentee
  • Use appropriate levels of skill
  • Facilitate the mentee’s progression through the stages
  • Deal with mentee “stuckness”
  • Facilitate beginnings and endings effectively

It is also important to evaluate

  • The effectiveness of the paperwork and processes
  • The appropriateness of rooms and facilities
  • Whether the timings/timescales are appropriate
  • The outcomes of the mentoring for the mentee and the mentor
  • The effectiveness of the referral procedures

It is also useful to assess

  • Further training needs that the mentor or mentee may have
  • Next steps for the mentee and mentor

As a result of the evaluation, there will be different levels of information. Much of the information will be relevant to the individual mentor who will have a more informed view of what they are doing well and what they need to improve upon. There will be additional information which may need to be fed back to the mentoring co-ordinator or to the service without breaking confidentiality. For example, there may be feedback that paperwork or referral processes need to be changed.


Evaluation may be formative or summative

Formative evaluation would indicate ways of improving the mentoring whilst it is ongoing.

Summative evaluation is evaluation at the end of the mentoring process, leading to improvement for next time.


“When the cook tastes the soup, that’s formative; when the guests taste the soup, that’s summative”

Bob Stake, quoted in Scriven, 1991, p169