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Black Belt Mentors BY R ANDY EMELO

Whether done informally or formally, certifying people to lead mentoring programs is an important component for success.


hen the U.S. Government Accountability Office decided to develop a mentoring program in 2016, organizational leaders knew they wanted to integrate it seamlessly into their learning environment. But to be successful, they also knew it couldn’t just be the learning department’s job to carry out. “GAO is a learning organization,” said Gus Crosetto, chief learning officer at GAO. “However, the Learning Center is not the center for all learning at GAO. It is a shared responsibility.” The GAO Mentoring Program, as the program they developed became known, aims to create a collaborative learning environment, improve employee morale and provide opportunities for employee development, Crosetto said. It’s also designed to create a shared culture of learning dispersed throughout the organization. To carry out this aim, GAO recruited volunteers outside the learning center — they call them “mentoring focal points” — to serve as the face of the program to their colleagues and champion the initiative at the local team and unit level. “For a mentoring program to be successful, it is important that mentoring is viewed as a vital component of a learning organization and has the support of both upper and middle management as well as participation and buy-in from all levels of employees throughout the agency,” said Crosetto. As mentoring has grown in popularity over the past couple of decades, so has the complexity of running a mentoring program. Creating an iterative experience for people who will lead mentoring programs — or certification for mentors themselves — allows organizations 18 Chief Learning Officer • September 2017 •

Chief Learning Officer - September 2017  
Chief Learning Officer - September 2017  

Signature Healthcare’s Chief People Officer Mary McNevin is changing the lives of employees and patients through learning.