The AES Group Mentoring Program is an innovative online mentoring program, in which seasoned evaluators guide small groups of emerging and mid-career evaluators through their professional journey.
Mentoring groups meet regularly (usually monthly) over the course of the program, and discuss wide-ranging ideas as well as problems encountered in their work. Mentees benefit from the expertise and leadership of the mentors, and from the mentee peer support amongst their group. Mentees with diverse experiences learn from each other and develop their support network in the evaluation field.
The group mentoring experience is different from traditional 1:1 mentoring. Mentees benefit from the program when they actively engage with their groups and share experiences. Mentors play a facilitatory and guiding role, and support mentees to explore ideas, find solutions to problems, and build their understanding of the practice of evaluation.
The 2023 program will be our third version of this program. We have learnt from the 2021 pilot and from our evaluation of the 2022 program, and have updated the program to reflect our growing understanding. The 2023 program will run from June 2023 to April / May 2024.
A detailed program guide can be found here.
The AES Group Mentoring Program has been shown to have a wide range of benefits for mentees and mentors.
Mentees have told us that the program builds their confidence and network in evaluation, and expands their thinking, opening them to new ways of practice and new ways of solving problems. The program particularly benefits evaluators who are sometimes professionally isolated, including those who might be the only evaluator at their workplace, are members of small evaluation teams, or are self-employed.
Mentors have told us that the program is a great way to give back to the field and support new emerging and mid-career evaluators. Mentors have also told us that they enjoy learning from their mentees, too, and that it’s a great way to enhance facilitation skills and engaging in stimulating discussion. Many mentors find this a great way to support their own professional development, as they develop their mentoring and facilitation skills.
Some groups have a specific focus area or topic, but this is not a technical training program. Rather, the topics help to drive the mentoring discussions, and provide focus to what ideas will be explored by the group.
Mentors and associate mentors must be AES members and experienced evaluators, with a desire to support the progression of emerging and mid-career evaluators by sharing their knowledge, skills and experience through mentoring.
Responsibilities of the mentor include the following:
- Commit to mentees through sharing experience and providing practical advice
- Facilitate structured or semi-structured mentoring sessions, usually monthly via Zoom, about an agreed topic in evaluation
- Be inclusive, considering the experiences and needs of people of all levels of expertise and experience in evaluation as well as other professional skills and abilities, cultural protocols and preferred ways of working, genders, and sexualities
- Provide advice and guidance as required
- Reflect on progress.
The associate mentor’s role is to support the mentor to lead the mentoring group, assisting the mentor to plan and run the program. The associate mentor will keep in touch with the mentor and mentees between meetings and act as back up to the mentor.
Mentees must be AES members with a desire to progress their professional evaluation journey by connecting with other evaluators, including both peers and more senior evaluators.
Mentees come from all parts of the field of evaluation, and bring diverse experiences to their groups.
Mentees who benefit from the program:
- Are enthusiastic and willing to actively participate and share ideas with their peers
- Have sufficient time to dedicate to the program, including support from their employer where needed
- Come from all time zones and locations, including regional locations
- Are flexible to accommodate the needs of others, including time zones and caring responsibilities
- Currently work in evaluation.
We particularly encourage EOIs from First Nations evaluators, evaluators located in regional and remote areas, and evaluators with diverse backgrounds.
We have identified some characteristics of participants who do not benefit as much from this program. The following people should look for other types of professional development opportunities:
- People seeking intensive 1:1 mentoring – this is a group program
- People seeking evaluation training or technical skill development – this is a mentoring program (you may like to explore the AES training programs)
- People who are unable to commit to attending regular meetings (we suggest seeking support from your employer if relevant)
- People who are unwilling to participate and share actively in an online group environment.
- People who think they might leave the field of evaluation during the program.
All participants are expected to:
- Read program guidelines and policies
- Attend any preparation sessions
- Sign and submit a mentoring agreement
- Agree on a mentoring schedule, session expectations, individual and group professional goals
- Attend all mentoring meetings, prepare appropriately, and attempt any follow up actions
- Actively participate in meetings and support fellow mentors and mentees
- Engage in reflective practice, communicate and work through challenges
- Be professional, respectful and observe confidentiality
- If you have any questions or concerns arise, contact the program support officer
- Participate in any evaluations and provide feedback.
Potential mentors and associate mentors are asked to complete a nomination form by the Mentor Program Committee. Enquiries about mentoring can be made by emailing
Note: Mentor nominations for 2023 are closed.
Potential mentees nominate through the mentee online form. Mentees will be asked to indicate which mentoring group they are particularly interested in and why.
Mentors and associate mentors
The AES Mentoring Program Committee reviews the mentor nominations and selects mentors based on their professional qualifications and experience, evaluation specialisation and focus, and motivations for becoming involved in the program. Applicants who are not selected may be approached to participate as an associate mentor if appropriate.
Recruitment of associate mentors will involve the same process as for mentors. Matching mentors and associate mentors will be based on:
- the associate mentors’ area of specific interest
- areas of experience
- any expressed preferences.
The pairing of mentors and associate mentors will be done by the AES Mentoring Program Committee. Mentors and associate mentors will be consulted to confirm they are happy with the suggested matching.
The AES Group Mentoring Program Committee reviews the mentee nominations and selects mentees based on:
- mentee’s motivations for joining the program and alignment with their preferred mentor’s focus
- the diversity and alignment of personal and professional backgrounds within each group (to support peer learning).
Applicants who are not selected will be notified of the outcome and can reapply for future rounds.
Mentor expressions of interest open
4 – 18 April 2023
Mentors selected and notified
27 April 2023
Mentee expressions of interest open to mentees
4 – 15 May 2023
Mentees selected and notified
31 May 2023
Mentor Community of practice begins
8 June 2023, 12pm AEST
Orientation session for mentees and mentors
14 June 2023, 12pm AEST
Group Mentoring commences
Large group closing session
Mentoring program ends
April / May 2024
The 2021 pilot and the 2022 program were both evaluated. Learnings from those evaluations have been incorporated into the 2023 program design. You can view the reports here:
In consideration of the significant effort of evaluating the program by the volunteer working group, in 2023 a formal evaluation will not be undertaken.
All participants will be expected to contribute to monitoring activities, such as surveys, and to provide feedback. Participants may be requested to contribute to an evaluation of the program in years to come.
The AES Mentoring Program Committee encourages any suggestions and feedback on the program at any stage from all participants.