Archive for August, 2012

How Can Mentoring Facilitate Learning and Development Across An Organization?

Posted on: August 23rd, 2012 by Mentoring Talent presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

Mentoring is used today by organizations to satisfy any number of unique business objectives from onboarding, diversity or most often centering on leadership development, succession planning, employee career development and knowledge transfer.

One trend now in learning and development (LD) is tapping into and sharing an organization’s current knowledge base through mentoring as part of an LD strategy.

Best practice formal mentoring programs enable learning across an organization as they offer an organized process through which individuals can learn from each other, and discuss and share information.

LD professionals are discovering that while traditional training may rightfully continue to play a role in their LD strategy, a formal mentoring program, with specific organizational objectives, can be a successful and cost effective component to that strategy

Traditional mentoring created a one to one relationship with a more senior employee assuming the role of mentor. But due to the way we work today, there has been a considerable shift in the dynamics of mentoring.

Mentoring partnerships are now created in a number of ways that enables a wider scope of learning opportunities across an organization. Learning takes place in different locations and sometimes in greater numbers, creating more of a social learning network. Here are the new focuses of mentoring currently emerging in today’s workplace:

  • Distance mentoring – the mentoring partnership does not take place face-to-face but uses other forms of communication tools, such as e-mail, audio/video-conferencing, etc.
  • Situational Mentoring – mentoring partnership is often project-based where advice is given for learning or solving specific tasks.
  • Mentoring Circles – everyone participating in the circle acts in the role of mentor sharing knowledge and experiences, AND in the role of mentee, meeting regularly to share, discuss and learn.
  • Group or Team Mentoring – one mentor may have many mentees with common developmental needs or one mentee may have many mentors where he/she can gain “best” knowledge sharing from many experts.
  • Peer mentoring – a one-to-one mentoring partnership where each individual plays the role of mentor AND mentee depending on area of expertise.
  • Reverse mentoring – mentor is younger or in an earlier stage in their career than the mentee.

The question then is how can mentoring facilitate LD across an organization, furthermore, for an organization with multiple locations, nationwide or worldwide?

With the development of online mentoring software solutions, participants can be bi-coastal or just about anywhere in the world and still have successful mentoring partnerships addressing various objectives and career development goals. Many organizations are implementing an online solution, such as those offered by Insala, a provider of mentoring and career development solutions, to support formal mentoring programs.

Using an online technology solution enables better matching and paring with an application process that identifies the most compatible participants. By connecting mentees with a wider pool of compatible mentors that more closely align with their development needs, mentees find the best possible match among available, committed mentors company-wide, from any location. Better matches make for better mentoring partnerships.
An online mentoring technology solution supports LD initiatives by giving mentoring partnerships a social learning network platform with tools and resources to communicate, explore and set development goals, track events and activities associated with goals and successes, and track program results.

What should one look for in an online mentoring solution?

  • Seamless integration with an organization’s present HRMS for ease of data transfer.
  • A streamlined application process, where mentors and mentees are selected for the mentoring program, confirming commitment level and appropriateness of participation based on an organization’s standards.
  • Robust features including assessments, communication and tracking tools with fresh content that allow participants freedom to explore, reflect, develop and achieve career goals.
  • For administrators, the ability to track and report program results is critical as ROI will need to be qualified and quantified to ensure longevity and continued support by decision makers.

Mentoring fosters learning and development, allowing employees to learning from one another. An online technology solution provides employees with a structured mentoring process and the tools to make the best connections and achieve their personal career goals while enabling the organization to achieve its unique business objectives as well. A strategic mentoring process supported by the right technology, yields individual, group and organizational successes.

Insala is a leading global provider of mentoring, career development and career transition solutions for organization of all types and sizes. With consulting, training and SaaS technology solutions, Insala connects your people with right resources for optimal results, anytime, anywhere. For more information please visit and for information on career development and career transition solutions please visit

10 Tips for Managing Mentoring Meeting Time

Posted on: August 22nd, 2012 by Mentoring Matters Blog presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

What can we do to improved conduct your mentoring assembly time?

Try these 10 tips.

1. Set an bulletin in advance of mentoring meetings.  Designating specific blocks of time for any subject we wish to cover increases a contingency that we will be accountable for how we spend your time.

2. Be flexible. Your assembly might start on time though we might learn that a subject we are deliberating needs even some-more time than we anticipated. Honor that time.

3. Build in time to catch-up though put a extent on a time we allot to do it.  Unless we guard a time we could find that catch-up can simply turn catch-all time.

4. Make time to reflect on a specific subject or doubt we wish to concentration on before to your meeting. It will make your review richer and deeper.

5. Keep a log, biography or diary to record agreements, ideas, insights, issues and questions.  It will assistance we ready for your meetings, draft your swell and stay on track, and remember only what we were meditative during a time.

6. Schedule time to check in with your mentoring partner to see if we both feel that mentoring meetings are satisfactory, goal-focused and productive.

7. Think about where we reason your meetings. Make certain we are in a space and a place where there are no distractions and interruptions are minimal.

8. Stay in conversation. Don’t get held adult in an information exchange. Keep a review going and flowing.

9. Express appreciation to your mentoring partner. Be specific and transparent about a value we are receiving.

10. Postpone rather than accommodate only to meet. If assignments haven’t been finished and there is no purpose for a meeting, afterwards postpone a meeting. Going by a motions is a rubbish of time and doesn’t emanate value for anybody.

Building Mentoring Skills: How to Wind Down the Relationship

Posted on: August 21st, 2012 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

Building Mentoring Skills: How to Wind Down the Relationship

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In a formal mentoring program, there is a set beginning and a set end to the mentoring relationship. Since mentors and mentorees are asked to make a commitment for a period of time, once that period of time is over, both participants need to be released from any further commitment.  They also need to be provided with a process for formally ending their relationship as well as determining if they wish to continue informally. Without such a process, bad endings and hurt feelings may occur. Formally ending the relationship is just as important as other mentoring skills that are taught to the mentoring pair.mentoring skills

So what’s involved in formally ending your mentoring relationship?

1. Each participant provides feedback to his/her partner about the experience with the mentoring relationship. For example:

  • What worked best?
  • What was our most challenging meeting/event?
  • What could we have done differently?


2. Discuss any remaining work that is being done to bring closure to that work or bring it to completion. 

3. Both partners need to share with each other whether they wish to continue the relationship when the formal relationship ends. Not every relationship will continue for very good reasons. For example:

  • The mentor may wish to participate in the corporate program again and, therefore, doesn’t have the time to commit; 
  • As a sign of independence, the mentoree may wish to detach from the mentor.

4. If the pair is going to continue, there needs to be a discussion about expectations going forward. For example:

  • Will we still meet as often as we have been?
  • Will we have an agenda?
  • What will be the focus of our relationship?

No matter what they decide, it is important that mentoring pairs go through this process of bringing closure to their formal mentoring relationship.  

6 Tips For Mentorees To Prepare For Meetings With A Mentor

Posted on: August 20th, 2012 by Mentoring Matters Blog presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

6 Tips For Mentorees To Prepare For Meetings With A Mentor

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In a one-on-one mentoring relationship, many mentorees may make the mistake of assuming that the onus is on the mentor to prepare the schedule and the agenda for meetings with their mentorees. Not so! The primary purpose of the mentoring relationship is to help to develop the mentoree. Therefore, the mentoree should be pro-active and help to create an agenda and a relationship that reflects the types of goals he/she would like to achieve. Mentors are offering their valuable time to their mentorees. It is the mentoree's responibility to make the most of that time (think "you get what you pay for").

Fast Company recently published an article titled 6 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Mentorship, Dear Grasshopper. In this article, an executive who has mentored many individuals for over 30 years, Alice Korngold, is interviewed. Korngold details one experience that stands out in her mind–unfortunately it is not a positive one. She says that her mentoree arrived at their first meeting completely unprepared. She felt that her time had been undervalued by the mentoree. “I felt an imposition that she hadn’t prepared. I think its the mentee’s responsibility to do their homework to understand the background, expertise, and value of the mentor, and ask for what they need.”

So what should a mentoree do to prepare for meetings with his/her mentor? Here are 6 tips to help you get your mentoring relationship off on the right foot:

mentoring relationship

  1. Be prepared for your meeting with anything agreed upon and with an issue to discuss that's important to you. There is always something to discuss since events have occurred between the current meeting and the last one. The issue need not be monumental–sometimes simple things can lead to great discussions and insights.
  2. Think commitment, not lip service. Regular, ongoing contact is one of the most important building blocks for successful mentoring. Agree with your mentor to meet on a regular and ongoing basis and avoid canceling appointments.
  3. Give back and get more. Mentors don't usually ask how the mentoree has benefitted from the relationship. Take the time to share examples and to say "thank you" on occasion, and you'll often find that the mentor will give more without your having to ask. Sharing how a mentor has been helpful in the past gives the mentor guidance on how to be helpful in the future.
  4. Keep expectations realistic. Unstated assumptions or expectations can easily derail a relationship. To avoid this, you and your mentor should both discuss your expectations of each other and the relationship. For example, discuss how often you'll meet or what areas you will work on. When there's a change in expectations, discuss this as well. Relationships grow and change and so do expectations, so those agreed upon early on may not be the same later. Have periodic conversations to discuss your mutual expectations.
  5. It's risky, but it's healthy. A mentoring relationship is not meant to make you comfortable with where you are. It should challenge you both professionally and personally. This can't happen unless you're willing to take risks. What kind of risks? Whatever makes sense, but things like discussing your lack of confidence, challenging a mentor on an issue, trying something completely outside your comfort zone are all examples. Taking risks is an integral part of growth and well-being. So by taking risks, you're actually getting healthier!
  6. Don't be afraid of your mentor's silence. You're in a mentoring session and you seem to run out of things to say, and your mentor isn't helping because all she or he is doing is keeping quiet. This is a good thing! Your mentor's silence is inviting you to probe more deeply into what is on your mind, and it's an opportunity to share more deeply in the relationship. In this situation, pause and look inside yourself to try and get at what is of immediate concern or on your mind and share that with your mentor. The possibilities of what may happen are endless. 

Homework, logistics, emotions. These are all important aspects of preparing for your meetings and your relationship with your mentor. 

3 Reasons to Make Mentoring Part of Your Business Development Strategy

Posted on: August 19th, 2012 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

3 Reasons to Make Mentoring Part of Your Business Development Strategy

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business development strategy


In today’s competitive global market, talent is the most important asset an organization has. Employees are the face, the voice, and the overall personality of an organization. Through them, a company communicates with potential and current customers, achieves sales, and grows. 

One of the most important strategies in your business development should be a mentoring program because it applies in a variety of ways to developing your talent. Here are 3 reasons to make mentoring part of your business development strategy:

  1. Mentoring is a great tool for onboarding new employees that you’ve invested money in recruiting by linking them with a mentor who takes a personal interest in their career and can help them with the challenges in their career.
  2. Successor plans should always include a mentoring program because it deepens the development of the mentoree by exposing them to the experience and knowledge of the company’s experts. 
  3. With baby boomers retiring, companies are losing the expertise that these individuals have at an alarming rate. Mentoring allows a company to institutionalize that knowledge to the younger generation that is responsible for the company’s future success.

So when thinking about business development, think about mentoring as a partner for your future success. 

Tips for Focusing Mentoring Conversations

Posted on: August 18th, 2012 by Mentoring Matters Blog presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

In our previous blog we wrote about the importance of good conversation in building trust and facilitating learning in mentoring relationships.  Here are seven conversations that all mentors and mentees should be engaged in and some tips to help you deepen the conversation.

#1: Conversation with Yourself

  • Ask yourself why you want to be engaged in a mentoring relationship.
  • What is it you can contribute to it?
  • What is it that you hope to gain from it?
  • What attributes and characteristics are important to you in a mentoring partner?
  • What lessons have you learned about mentoring from your previous mentoring experiences?

#2: Prospective Mentor Conversation

  • If you are a mentee, be specific about what you want to learn and why you want to learn it.
  • If you are a mentor, make sure you are clear about your prospective mentee’s motivations and goals.
  • If you are a mentee,
    • Show genuine enthusiasm for your work
    • Find ways to demonstrate your commitment to your own growth and development
    • Provide evidence that you are ready to learn and conscientious
    • Determine if you both think this relationship is a good match for each of you.

#3: Accountability Conversation

  • Establish ground rules at the beginning of the relationship.
    • Decide when and where you will meet.
    • Agree on who will be responsible for scheduling mentoring meetings.
    • Discuss confidentiality and come to agreement about what it means in the context of your relationship.
    • What are the boundaries of the relationship (what is not appropriate and shouldn’t be part of your conversations)?
    • Share your “hot buttons.” What are those behaviors that other people engage in that push your buttons?

#4: Goal Conversation

  • Focus mentoring time and attention on what you want to learn by creating SMART goals.
  • The mentee’s goals should require a stretch to reach them; they should be future-oriented and aligned with the mentee’s development goals.
  • Choose no more than three goals to work on at one time.
  • Make sure each goal is specific and targeted.
  • Define measurements and milestones for each of the goals to let you know that you are making progress.

#5: Feedback Conversation

  • Regularly build feedback into mentoring conversations.
  • Be specific and descriptive when you ask for feedback. It helps the other person know what you are looking for.
  • When giving feedback, be specific and provide examples.
  • Focus on behaviors, not personality when giving feedback.
  • Check for understanding and agreement.
  • Ask for feedback on your feedback.

#6: Check-In Conversation

  • Set up a regular schedule to check in with your mentoring partner when you establish your ground rules.
  • Evaluate your process to see if it is working for both of you.
  • Assess your progress.
  • Talk about how the relationship is going.
  • Discuss how you are using your time and what adjustments you might need to make to be more efficient and productive.

#7: Closure Conversation

  • Make time to plan how and when you will bring the relationship to closure.
  • Reflect on what you have learned and how you will leverage the learning and take it to the next level.
  • Celebrate your successes in a meaningful way.
  • Redefine the relationship. Will you continue with the same mentoring partner? If so, what will remain the same? What will be different?
  • Talk about moving on to the next phase. Will you continue to be in contact and if so what might that look like?

7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Mentoring Program

Posted on: August 17th, 2012 by Mentoring Talent presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

Implementing any new company sponsored program can seem a daunting objective and pitfalls lay at every turn. Corporate mentoring programs are no different. To minimize challenges and maximize program results, we’d like to share seven recommendations that have proven successful to real-world mentoring program challenges. Most recommendations seem obvious, but it’s in the questions asked and details examined that the most compelling information is gathered and utilized in the creation, implementation and management of a truly successful and sustainable mentoring program. While it may seem a no-brainer, planning is always the first step. Those responsible for implementing mentoring programs are sometimes pressured to just get it done and done quickly. But creating a well-defined plan in advance will allow you to envision the program in its various stages and hopefully see where challenges can arise that you can respond to prior to implementation. How does one approach planning? Consult with those who have been there and done that successfully. Work with experienced subject matter experts to ensure inclusion of all critical elements in your planning. Defining critical elements is very organization-specific. Your subject matter expert should ask you to consider the following questions:

  1. Create a well-defined plan.
  • How will you determine if mentoring is viable for your organization?
  • What are the organizational goals/objectives that will support the implementation of a mentoring program?
  • How will you tie mentoring to these goals/objectives?
  • How will you measure results?
  • Do you have support and commitment from all appropriate levels?
  • Can you link mentoring to your overall talent development strategy and process?

Consider consulting with subject matter experts to guide the planning process and ask the right questions. Insala, the leading mentoring, career development and career transition solutions provider, offers a Hi-Impact Mentoring® Readiness Workshop for companies organizations exploring mentoring. Insala works with organizations to assess and define program scope, and create a realistic and achievable mentoring program plan that aligns with each organization’s unique strategic goals.  

Define specific and relevant measurements of program success. Once you have identified the objectives of your mentoring program and what you want to accomplish with it, you will be able to more easily define success metrics that make sense for your organization. This, too, is a critical element where subject matter experts in the Hi-Impact Mentoring® Readiness Workshop can assist. Determine how you will retrieve specific data to determine how the program is doing, where improvements can be made and identify what is not working. Presenting hard data on success factors to decision makers with ties to funding can ensure program success and longevity.

Select mentoring program participants. Assuming all executives want to or have the skills to be good mentors can be detrimental to your mentoring program and the mentee assigned to the unprepared and possibly uninterested mentor. Ensure your mentoring program has an application process where skills and competency assessment along with commitment level can be determined. Don’t assume all executives have the skills or desire to be a good mentor and be sure to prevent unsuitable applicants from participating in your program. This will go a long way in ensuring good mentoring participants and satisfaction of both mentors and mentees. Your subject matter experts can guide you on appropriate tools useful in selecting participants, but to conserve time, energy and resources consider Insala’s Hi-Impact Mentoring® Application Process to assess participants, build a participant pool for effective matching and prevent those unsuitable for the program from participating.

Train participants. Not everyone may know his or her role in mentoring. Offer informative and relevant training to mentors, mentees, their managers/supervisors and administrators/coordinators of the program. Give them access to engaging content and resources created by mentoring experts in various formats, i.e. online webinars, on-site workshops. Insala’s Hi-Impact Mentoring® Training Programs can help eliminate program dropouts by creating proper training methods, dissemination of mentoring content and resources to ensure effective and positive mentoring experiences.

Ensure program participation is voluntary. Participants will be more likely to show up for meetings, complete assignments, be more engaged and have a more meaningful mentoring experience if participation is voluntary. With Insala’s High-Impact Mentoring® Application Process individuals can apply as mentors and mentees using an efficient and simple set of online tools. Administrators/coordinators can review and report on application responses and match with suitable mentors. Making it voluntary with a simple, accessible online application process ensures a high-quality and engaged participant pool.

Ensure mentee-driven partnerships in your program. Without proper training mentors may assume they know what mentees need to learn rather than be guided by the mentee’s goals. Use training time to communicate to participants that partnerships are mentee-driven. During the application process mentees should be able to specifically identify areas of interest and develop a learning plan for both mentee and mentor use.

Save time, energy and company resources by using a technology solution. The response to a successful mentoring program can be more applicants and greater participation. To keep up with the increasing demand of a large and growing program implement a technology mentoring solution to save time and energy on program administration. Insala’s Hi-Impact Mentoring® Software enables administrators/coordinators to:

  • Manage large pools of program applications more efficiently
  • Generate a greater number of compatible matches faster
  • Monitor program activities and progress from a single online platform
  • Easily report on the effectiveness of the mentoring program
  • Match/pair, track and manage mentoring programs more easily

Laying the groundwork with experienced professionals, ensuring proper training and using customized mentoring software solutions can help organizations overcome potential program pitfalls and create a sustainable best practice mentoring program with measurable results.

Conversation: The Key to Building Trust and Facilitating Learning in a Mentoring Relationship

Posted on: August 16th, 2012 by Mentoring Matters Blog presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

Can we remember a final time when we were intent plainly and respectfully in two-way, teeming unequivocally good and suggestive conversation? If we are like many people we can substantially remember one or dual such occasions even yet we competence be engaging in genuine conversation reduction and reduction these days.

It is mocking that in a really routine of joining with any other, we are indeed apropos some-more and some-more disconnected. Technology has finished joining some-more judicious but, during a same time, it has influenced how we correlate and rivet with any other.

Mentoring relations run a risk of apropos a array of sound bites (text and IM) instead of genuine conversations. Engaging in review increases trust and facilitates training in a mentoring relationship.

We grown a Levels of Conversation indication to illustrate how trust and training enhance relations to a turn of review that takes place in a mentoring relationship.

Monologue is radically a non-conversation. It shuts down, rather than invites, conversation. It doesn’t build trust or foster learning. One or a other celebration claims all a airspace for storytelling, lecturing or expounding.

Most people rivet in transaction when they meant to be in conversation. The review goes behind and onward and stays on a surface. I.e., “Would we do me a favor? Yes. Did we review that article? Good.”

Interactions are useful information exchanges and estimate review though still slick a surface. Your mentee asks we how to get something finished and we respond by suggesting opposite ways to get a pursuit done.

Good review lives above a dotted line. With a pierce to collaborative engagement a peculiarity of a communication shifts. This is where deeper discernment and thoughtfulness take place. There is some-more trust and therefore coach and mentee are both peaceful to be vulnerable. The review and attribute lower and training accelerates to a new level.

When review becomes dialogue, common bargain emerges from a mutual training that is holding place. Because trust is high there is no defensiveness. Conversation is open. As opposite perspectives emerge, a meditative of coach and mentee expand.

The serve along a continuum we are a some-more guileless your attribute becomes and a some-more training takes place.

Leadership Questions: Good review is a pivotal to building trust and facilitating training in a mentoring relationship. Where are we and your mentee spending many of your time along this continuum? What do we need to do some-more of? What do we need to do reduction of?

This only competence be a time to have a conversation about conversation and find out!

Welcome to The How To Mentor Blog

Posted on: August 10th, 2012 by News presented by How to Mentor No Comments

It is our aim to provide you with continued information to further guide you in your mentoring experience.

Keep your eye on our blog to stay up to date on the latest techniques and information.


Happy Mentoring!