A rapid matrix mentoring pilot

Sherry Finney (Cape Breton University, Sydney, Canada)
Judy MacDougall (Cape Breton District Health Authority, Sydney, Canada)
Mary Lou O'Neill (Cape Breton District Health Authority, Sydney, Canada)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Publication date: 20 July 2012



This case study aims to report on the effectiveness of a matrix mentoring pilot project in a healthcare setting and its ability to build managerial competencies and enhance levels of employee engagement.


The study used a mixed‐method design with pre and post pilot evaluation phases. Focus groups were held with both mentee and mentor groups. Mentees also completed questionnaires that assessed their levels of managerial competency and engagement.


Mentees who engaged in a matrix mentoring pilot reported increased levels of managerial and leadership competencies, and employee engagement. Additionally, mentees realized greater exposure to managerial roles and responsibilities and experienced personal development and growth as a result of individual project assignments.

Research limitations/implications

The small sample size is the main limitation of this project. However, it was a pilot within a case study organization and one of the objectives was to learn from the experience.

Practical implications

Mentors and mentees reported positive feedback. Mentors were able to assess the capacity and interest of future potential leaders and mentees gained exposure to managerial competencies.


The originality of this research is found in the application of a matrix mentoring approach. Typically, mentoring programs match one mentor with one mentee. A team of mentors worked with each of the mentees and engaged in exposing the participants to a range of competencies. The literature suggests that managerial competencies in a complex setting, like healthcare, need to be diverse. This research presents one possibility for building such a range of abilities.



Finney, S., MacDougall, J. and Lou O'Neill, M. (2012), "A rapid matrix mentoring pilot", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 25 No. 3, pp. 170-185. https://doi.org/10.1108/17511871211247624

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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