What Is the EEPM and How Can Your Mentoring Program Meet the Standards for the Field?

Posted by jmeyer on December 8, 2022

Implementing the benchmark practices described in the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring (EEPM) is vital for improving your organization’s impact. Train your team to meet these standards and engage in continuous quality improvement activities.

Whether your mentoring program is just getting off the ground or you’re already established in the community, the use of state-of-the-art program practices that are informed by research findings and seasoned practitioners is integral to your program’s success. Designing your policies and procedures with the use of a vetted and researched guidebook can increase the efficacy, strength, and longevity of the mentoring relationships in your program and the positive outcomes of mentees. The most data-driven, utilized, and respected guidebook for mentoring is MENTOR’s Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring (EEPM).

What is the EEPM?

Think of the EEPM as a manual for running your mentoring program. The EEPM provides a structure that will guide your staff, mentors, mentees, and parents or guardians of mentees through every step of a mentoring relationship to ensure they’re prepared and supported. There are six core standards in the EEPM.

  1. Recruitment: Organizations need mentors and mentees who fit the mission, goals, and requirements of their mentoring program. Filled with tips, strategies, and procedures, the EEPM can help your organization accurately and positively recruit mentors and mentees who will be successful in your program.
  2. Screening: Screening ensures mentees will be in safe, appropriate relationships. Thorough screening allows your program to determine if mentors have the time, commitment, and qualities to be good mentors.
  3. Training: Mentor training has been proven to prepare volunteers to participate in long-lasting and positive mentoring relationships. In addition, best practices suggest that both mentees and their parents/guardians also receive training. These practices help your mentors and mentees to have realistic goals about mentoring, to develop an understanding of what mentoring is, and to build skills to handle real-life situations that might arise during their mentoring relationship.
  4. Matching: Mentoring programs report struggling with how to create great matches where mentors and mentees are compatible with each other and enjoy each other’s company enough to stay together for the minimum duration of the program. The EEPM offers ideas for strategies to successfully match mentors and mentees with one another. When matches are paired carefully and thoughtfully, they are more likely to last longer and achieve positive outcomes.
  5. Monitoring and Support: There is still work that organizations need to do after the match is created. Mentors and mentees need ongoing monitoring, training, advice, and support to enrich their relationship. With the correct blend of strategies, programs can help strong bonds develop, relationships flourish, and positive outcomes achieved.
  6. Closure: When the time comes, an appropriate ending to a mentorship is important to avoid causing harm for mentees. Correct closure techniques allow both mentors and mentees to evaluate the journey they had together and end on a positive note.

Mentoring Central’s researchers conducted a study on the value of implementing the policies and practices recommended in the EEPM for supporting lasting mentoring relationships. After interviewing program staff at 45 mentoring programs from across the United States, the results indicated that the more programs used the benchmarks in the EEPM, the more likely they were to have long-lasting mentoring relationships. In addition, using the mentor training practices in the EEPM was associated with matches staying together longer.

Where and how to learn EEPM

It’s essential for any mentoring program to have guidance in what policies and procedures are necessary to be smooth sailing and impactful. A guided program will be able to describe how it handles each of the six core standards of effective mentoring.

When programs train mentors, mentees, staff, and even parents, the content should be aligned with the benchmark practices described in the Training Standard of the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring. Mentoring Central’s wide-ranging collection of training programs are aligned with the six core elements. Standardized training can be a more efficient and effective way for everyone involved in the program to learn the information they need that will impact them every day of their mentoring experience.

Know if your organization follows best practices

A program self-assessment can help you to determine if your organization is following the best practices of the mentoring field. Mentoring Central has created a self-administered, online questionnaire, the Elements Quality Improvement Process (EQUIP) self-assessment, that you and your program staff can complete to help you evaluate your alignment with the EEPM. Then, a mentoring quality improvement plan can be developed for your program using the results you obtain from EQUIP. This self-assessment, evaluation, and review can help you to identify where your program can improve and where it excels. It also can pinpoint where your program may be out of compliance to help you determine if the best practices in the field are being followed.

Gathering and using this type of information about your own program can help you to develop and support strong matches. In a study conducted by researchers at Mentoring Central that looked at 45 mentoring programs around the nation, programs that reported following 85% or more of the benchmark standards in the EEPM had longer matches than programs reporting implementing a smaller percentage of benchmarks.

Mentoring Central co-wrote the book on mentoring

Mentoring Central’s researchers helped develop the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring and can assist programs to determine if they are following the six core standards, and the associated practice benchmarks. Our program self-assessment, known as EQUIP, is systematic, measurable, and actionable. We assess mentoring programs and give them a framework to improve their impact — whether programs are just starting or have been serving communities for years. Programs can also repeat the assessment to track progress in crucial areas. Learn more about EQUIP by registering for our free EQUIP overview course.