Archive for February, 2014

Getting Real About Mentoring and ROI

Posted on: February 28th, 2014 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

Getting Real About Mentoring and ROI

calculator resized 600When I speak to a prospective client, the issue of return on investment (ROI) often comes up.  What people generally are asking is:  ”What do you have to justify that mentoring is a wise business investment so that I can present this to senior management?" 

The case for mentoring is largely anecdotal (people reporting on their experience); however, there are resources that are available for those seeking more "objective" criteria.

So let's start off with the easy part.

The research.

The following cover the gamut from serious research, theories and case studies.  The Gartner study is one of the more comprehensive studies that measured salary increases, etc. in a corporate setting.

  • The Handbook of Mentoring At Work edited by Ragins and Kram
  • Gartner study on Mentoring at Sun Microsystems
  • American Sociological Association on Diversity Management in Corporate America
  • The Management Mentors' website


The experiences.

For me, though, the more important measurement is how people report about their experiences with mentoring and how this transforms their approach to their work and to their life.  What dollar value would your company put on statements such as these made by mentorees:

    • "My mentor helped me gain self-confidence that made me much more effective in managing my employees."
    • "I would not be here today were it not for my mentor.  I had become very frustrated with my job and the organization and my mentor helped me to look at things differently and how I could make changes to enjoy my work more."
    • "I am so grateful for this company for having provided me with this really amazing relationship.  It's wonderful how the mentoring experience can transform you."
    • "I love the company but thought that my career here had reached its peak.  My mentor ignited a fire under me to see new opportunities and map out a plan to apply for those opportunities in the future."


    Future Mentoring ROI.

    Another ROI in mentoring is that once someone has been mentored, they tend to mentor others so that your ROI keeps on growing long after you've implemented your program.

    Cost To Replace An Employee.

    I recently saw a statistic that said that replacing an employee costs about $22,000.  In at least one of the statements above, an employee was retained and the company saved that $22,000. 

    Some great resources on the cost of losing employees: Why Employee Turnover Is So Costly

    CBS News: How Much Does It Cost Companies To Lose Employees

    Center For American Progress: There Are Significant Business Costs To Replacing Employees


    So certainly do your homework on researching mentoring ROI, but be sure to include the anecdotal, which, in my view, can be more powerful and more persuasive than the written and statistical research.



    Image Credit: © Ml12nan |


    Self-disclosure within a mentoring relationship

    Posted on: February 19th, 2014 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

    What is the proper amount of personal disclosure in mentoring and when does it cross the line?

    I sometimes get this question when speaking to a mentor or mentoree. There is no one correct answer because each relationship is unique.  Clearly if the mentoring pair builds mutual trust, then over time both partners will most likely reveal some personal information or stories that inform how they act in the world. This is perfectly fine because it is often this personal information that really impacts one's success.

    However, there is a difference between (1) stating that your reluctance to be more assertive is due to the family environment you experienced as a child and (2) spending most of your time in the mentoring session focusing on your family history.  Mentors are not therapists—they are guides. They partner with the mentoree to help a mentoree find his or her “way" in their career development— not in one's recovery from a bad family history.

    For either the mentor or mentoree, the question to ask when considering sharing personal information is "How much do I need to share that will be of value in dealing with the goals we are currently working on?"  A reflection on this can help provide a boundary as to how much to share at any given moment with your partner.

    For further reading on business mentoring relationships, check out our ebook: Creating A Successful Mentoring Relationship: Training, Tips, Tricks

    Reach Out and Touch Someone

    Posted on: February 12th, 2014 by Mentoring Matters Blog presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

    iStock_000029822034XSmallWe recently asked participants at a seminar to raise their hand if they were informally mentoring someone.  Almost everyone in the room held their hand up.  We told those folks to keep their hand raised if the answer was yes to the following question: “Would that person, if they were sitting next to you right now, say they were being mentored by you?”   Almost all the hands dropped.

    What does that say and what does that mean? 

    Although most of us are informally mentoring, we basically end up answering questions, lending a hand, or offering support.  Whatever you offer to others reflects positively on you, and your generosity and willingness to give your time and energy to others.   However, when the other person actually knows you are mentoring them, you both win.  You get credit for your generosity of your time and expertise, while also communicating an important message to them: “You matter, you have value. I believe in your potential.”

    The now famous messaging  from the old ATT, “reach out and touch someone,” offers much wisdom.   As 2013 comes to a close, consider what you could do to make more of a difference by reaching out and touching those whom you informally mentor.

    Four Suggestions

    1. Let the person know that you see your role as a mentor, helping them grow and develop and fulfill their potential.

    2. Make yourself more available.

    3. Talk to your informal mentee about how you can best use your time with each other to make the learning more meaningful.

    4. Be more proactive in supporting your informal mentoring relationships rather than waiting for them to come to you.


    Beautiful business woman with question mark above the head lookiQuestions to Think About

    Who are the people you are informally mentoring right now?

    • What would happen if you “formalized” aspects of the relationship?
    • What would be the benefit?


    What are you currently doing in your informal relationship?

    • What more could you do?  (Here’s one hint:  Instead of giving answers, try asking probing questions and help the mentee find the answer for themselves.)


    What would be the impact if you added more structure to your current informal relationship?  How might your mentee benefit if you . . .

    • Met on a regular basis?
    • Set expectations?
    • Provided learning opportunities or resources for discussion?


    Go ahead, reach out and touch someone!




    How your mentor can help when starting a new venture

    Posted on: February 5th, 2014 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

    How your mentor can help when starting a new venture

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    What if this happened to you?

    You’ve been in a stagnant career for some time.  You’re at the top of your game but are feeling frustrated and unfulfilled in your work.  You have thought about starting your own business in a different field but aren’t sure if you can take the risks involved.  You’ve gone to classes on how to start your own business and you’ve done some preliminary work but you can’t seem to move any further ahead.  You know that this new venture is something you would really like to try but you are reluctant to give up the security of a good salary, important benefits and the status of a good job. So you continue to vacillate in taking action, hoping that at some point something will happen to get you to move decisively toward that new venture. You don’t know what it will take but hope that whatever it is comes along soon.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. What if this is how it happened?

    You’re in the final stages of having done all the necessary work prior to making the decision to go into a new venture leaving behind a lucrative and highly successful career.  To many people, leaving this behind and going into something new is viewed as risky and a little foolhardy.  They are skeptical and critical of what you are trying to do but you know that deep down they are also envious.  You, however, are ready to seize the moment because throughout this whole process you’ve had your mentor who has been extremely helpful in discussing why you want to make this move and has also assisted you in focusing on this venture and thinking it through.

    You’ve made some financial decisions based upon your mentor’s suggestions which is allowing you some security in taking this risk.  In addition, she has offered to open any doors that she can in getting you to speak to potential prospects.  It’s a scary thing to go out on your own but you know that your mentor will be there to provide support and guidance throughout the process.  Whether you succeed or fail in this venture is not as important as being willing to take the risk.  By doing so, you really are a winner.  But you might not have been here at this decisive moment had it not been for a number of people who have assisted you in growing, especially your mentor.

    You’ve come a long way from a the conservative risk taker to being an entrepreneur.  Is there anything you can’t do?

    business mentoring

    executive mentoring

    Image Credit: © Otmar Winterleitner |

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