Mentor Program

Program Description

The MGMA-WA Mentor Program is one of the strategies that the organization uses to achieve its strategic mission to provide networking and educational opportunities to its members. The program establishes one-to-one collaborative relationships between members wishing to enhance their leadership skills (protégés) and experienced healthcare leaders looking to make a contribution to the industry (mentors).

The program itself seeks to connect protégés with an appropriate mentor, as well as to provide a framework for the collaboration. This collaboration is expected to last 12 months with a half-hour to hour contact every 4-6 weeks. Note that this contact does not have to be face-to-face; telephone calls or video conferencing sessions are perfectly acceptable means to connect. At the end of the engagement, both participants will be released to work with other mentors/protégés – though, of course, one of the points of this program is to build networks that last throughout one’s career.

Participants start by submitting a Mentor Program Application specifying if they would like to be either a mentor or protégé. The program coordinator – typically the MGMA-WA Secretary with assistance as needed from the executive director and/or the membership or education committee chair – compiles the information and connects prospective mentors with a protégé. From there, both parties meet on a regular basis to discuss whatever topics both parties mutually agree to discuss.

Mentors

A mentor is an administrator (a long-term clinic manager, a C-level executive in a large healthcare care system, or any supervisory position in between) who gets satisfaction from helping less experienced peers navigate the industry. The mentor’s job is to assist their protégé in addressing career issues, such as providing guidance on how to approach a given task, giving education around a concept they have yet to encounter, or simply acting as a sounding board to provide a different point of view. There are no well-defined rules for what a mentor must cover because each collaboration is different, and the content of the discussions may change from meeting to meeting.

One thing mentors must have is experience: to be a mentor, you must have at least five years of experience as a health care manager and be an active member in MGMA-WA. In addition, mentors need to:

  • Be an honest communicator 
  • Serve as a role model 
  • Share experiences as a seasoned professional 
  • Provide career guidance 
  • Assist the protégé in setting professional goals and develop the skills needed to reach them 
  • Provide information about the profession and practice management 
  • Assist in the development of creative and independent thinking 
  • Generate motivation by encouragement and support 
  • Be supportive when there are difficult situations 
  • Help build self-confidence 
  • Assist the protégé with networking 
  • Be objective and independent

Protégés

A protégé is an active MGMA-WA member who feels that she or he could benefit from the one-on-one attention and guidance that a mentor would provide. The protégé’s job is to bring issues to the mentor for discussion; the mentor will provide direct feedback and assistance based on his or her own professional history. This is an important point: the protégé is ultimately the one who establishes the content for the meeting. The mentor’s job is to provide guidance.

There’s no experience requirement to be a protégé; new managers in their first supervisory role are just as likely to benefit as an experienced manager who simply wants a peer as a confidential sounding board. All protégés must be active members with MGMA-WA. In addition, protégés need to:

  • Keep appointments with your mentor 
  • Learn as much as possible 
  • Permit your mentor to make recommendations regarding professional goals and objectives 
  • Be open to feedback 
  • Come to each mentoring session prepared with items to discuss including areas where you need your mentor’s help

Program Framework

The framework for how mentors and protégés work together is just a suggestion – if this framework doesn’t work well for the parties, then they may change it as needed. For example, if the meeting frequency expectation is too much, they can elect to meet less often. The important thing, however, is that both parties need to agree on what that new framework should look like.

Assignment

The MGMA-WA Secretary will match protégés to mentors based upon the information both submit in their respective application forms. Mentors will be matched to only one protégé at a time unless the mentor specifically requests a second; two simultaneous protégés is the maximum for any mentor in a calendar year.

Agreement

The mentor and protégé will be sent a Mentor Agreement outlining the expectations of each participant. The collaboration formally begins when both parties execute the agreement. The standard length of a collaboration is 12 months.

Meetings

The mentor and protégé mutually agree to a meeting schedule that meets both parties’ expectations. As stated above, these may be face-to-face or remote. When the meetings are remote, both parties should call from a place of privacy where few interruptions are likely. In addition, the contents of these meetings are strictly confidential – this is to ensure that both mentor and protégé will be as open and frank in their discussion as possible.

Evaluation

Every three months, the mentor is encouraged to discuss with the protégé whether the program is meeting his or her expectations. This is an opportunity for course correction in case the collaboration is not meeting everyone’s needs. If the protégé raises something that is not being addressed, the mentor should make sure to tackle that issue in upcoming meetings.

2018 Mentor Program Timeline

Please complete the Mentor Program Registration Form. Refer to the table below for enrollment periods and when you can expect to be matched with your mentor/protégé. At the completion of your 12-month partnership, you are welcome to apply to the program again. While we encourage you to get multiple points of view on your career development and challenges, you may request to remain with the mentor/protégé originally matched with you. 

Enrollment Period    Matches Emailed to Participants
December 4, 2017 - February 5, 2018 March 12, 2018
March 5, 2018 - May 7, 2018 June 11, 2018
June 4, 2018 - August 6, 2018 September 10, 2018
September 3, 2018 - November 5, 2018 December 10, 2018