Archive for April, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Group Mentoring

Posted on: April 30th, 2014 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

group mentoring

Among the various types of mentoring programs, group mentoring is one that is used the least frequently. That's not to say it doesn't have its advantages. It is important to know the pros and cons of initiating a group mentoring program.

PROS OF GROUP MENTORING:

 

  • It provides for greater exposure to multiple levels of expertise and knowledge as each participant brings their own competencies to the group that can be shared
  • Diversity within the group brings a diversity of perspective to issues as well as to a greater understanding and awareness of diversity in general
  • Support comes not only from the Mentoring Group Leader (MGL) but from peers within the group
  • Provides for a greater number of individuals who benefit from mentoring as opposed to the limitations of a 1-to-1 mentoring program
  • Requires less commitment of resources than traditional mentoring
  • Group projects in group mentoring enhance the learning of participants in understanding how teams operate

Cons of group mentoring:

  • Each member has different needs that must be balanced against the overall group needs
  • Does not offer the "personal" relationship that is the hallmark of 1-to-1 mentoring
  • Scheduling meetings can be a challenge given the numbers in the group
  • The elements of confidentiality and safety may not be achieved to the level possible in a 1-to-1 relationship thus limiting the extent a member takes risks and learns
  • Competition within the group can disrupt the success
  • Mentors need to understand and be comfortable with group dynamics and processes

Should Mentorees Choose Their Mentor?

Posted on: April 23rd, 2014 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

My response is that a mentoree and a mentor are choosing their partner when they complete the matching form.  By specifying the focus areas and the personality traits they are seeking, they are defining who their partner should be.  What they are NOT doing is choosing the specific individual. 

Although there is nothing wrong about allowing mentorees or mentors select the specific individual they wish to work with, the reality is that they are likely to select someone who is either the most powerful or promising candidate or someone that they already know.  This bias may not lead to the best match.

If a mentoring program manager believes strongly in having mentors or mentorees choose their own partner, I recommend the following approach:

Use an online algorithm to get an objective list of potential matches and then present the top 3 potential matches to a mentoree or mentor and request which they prefer.  This combines both the advantage of an objective assessment while also providing for the input of the participants.

For more information on matching mentors with mentorees, check out our Precision Matching Tool. 

Getting Group Mentoring Started

Posted on: April 16th, 2014 by Mentoring Matters Blog presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

There appears to be a groundswell of interest in group mentoring. New formats and forms of group mentoring are emerging all the time and in different industries and setting around the globe. In group mentoring individuals either mentor each other or rely on one or more individuals to facilitate the learning of a group of mentees. Mentoring groups can be peer-led or facilitated by one or more experts who serve as group mentors.

10 Best Practices for Getting Group Mentoring Startedgroup_session_800_5156

  1. Get to know the members of your group— not just their business titles but who they are as people.
  2. Clarify the purpose of the group. What is the purpose of your group and what do you want to accomplish?
  3. Decide on the process you are going to follow. Who will lead the group? What process will be used to make sure that participants receive what they need from the group?
  4. Define roles and responsibilities of group members so that each participant is clear about what is expected of them.
  5. Make everyone feel safe by putting confidentiality agreements in place.
  6. Talk about personal and group boundaries and how to address potential stumbling blocks, when and if they occur.
  7. Establish an agreed-upon set of ground rules. Will there be an agenda? When is the group going to meet? What happens if someone’s attendance is inconsistent or infrequent?
  8. Discuss each person’s learning style and how individual learning styles might affect the learning that goes on in the group.
  9. Agree on when and how to bring the group to positive closure. How will you know it is time for the group to come to closure?
  10. Establish an accountability process to help the group and its members stay on track. Is the group meeting its goals?

Changing Career Paths? Mentoring Can Help.

Posted on: April 9th, 2014 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

Mentoring is an important survival tool for anyone changing career paths.

There are significant business trends that are making mentoring an important survival tool for anyone seeking to maintain a career within a fast paced and changing business climate. One example is changing career patterns.

Once upon a time…

“Once upon a time …” is how we might describe what used to be the traditional career development process.  You:

  • went to college
  • got your first job
  • worked there for 2-3 years to gain experience
  • eventually moved on to increasingly responsible positions
  • finally settled on one major company that gave you “golden handcuffs” until you retired or got fired

In the event that you were “downsized” or “deselected”, you might be given the services of an outplacement firm that would work with you until you either found your next job or the contract ran out.  If you were in your late 40’s or older, you had a particularly difficult time, despite age discrimination laws, in locating your next opportunity.  It was likely that you would have to start at a lower position with subsequent lesser salary.  Then you began the process all over again.

This pattern started to change dramatically at the end of the ‘80’s boom. White collar workers were the hardest hit as jobs got squeezed out and many became unemployed.  This “squeezing” of the middle layer in corporations changed the career ladder, moving it from vertical to horizontal.  People caught in this squeeze needed to look at comparable jobs in a linear way as fewer and fewer jobs existed. 

The standard now is not upward career mobility but career flexibility and adaptability.

Expertise is what commands attention and leads to career advancement and financial suc-
cess.  

People are moving away from viewing themselves as a “resume” and more as a package of skills and competencies available within the employment marketplace.

Although this change may be traumatic for a lot of us, it does promise to give us a more exciting and, potentially, more satisfying career.  We will become multi-employed in the future either by having multiple employers in the course of our career(s) or in being employed by several employers at one time as we parcel out our expertise to each organization on an “as needed” basis.

The changing workplace will also change our venue of work. With technology, more employees will work from their homes and go infrequently to the office.  An affordable home office including computer, modem, fax machine, videoconferencing, E-mail, copier, etc., is available to all of us, allowing us to link globally without leaving the comfort of our homes.

What can you do for me today?

If “once upon a time” describes the career path of yesterday, “What can you do for me today” could be the mantra of those navigating the new career path.  Control of your career, now more than ever before, rests in your own hands. Strategic thinking about what school to select, what companies to pursue and what kind of work environment within which to work will provide the most fertile ground for your career growth. 

Being current in your expertise and thinking strategically allow you to market yourself
from a position of real strength to those companies (let’s call them clients) which have the
most to offer. Once employed by that company, it will be critical for you to continue to demonstrate your value through research and by linking yourself with influential people who can give you valuable guidance in finding new ways to demonstrate your worth to the organization. 

The need to remain current and on the “cutting edge” by developing key competencies can be greatly assisted by having one or more mentoring relationships.

Having access to someone who has expertise and experience in navigating a career path and who can encourage and support your professional growth is a critical tool in becoming more successful.  A mentor won’t solve all your problems or provide you with all the answers, but s/he can smooth the transition, provide you with valuable insight and support you in taking risks with fewer negative consequences.

There are countless selfless individuals who are willing to be asked to be a mentor and who have a wealth of information and expertise to share.  Why not tap into this vast and valuable resource rather than tackling every issue on your own, resulting in a lot of false starts, lost opportunities, and a frustrated career path?

 

If you’re not sure How to Find a Business Mentor, check out our latest eBook.

 

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The Learning and Mentoring Connection

Posted on: April 2nd, 2014 by Mentoring Matters Blog presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

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Without the presence of learning, mentoring doesn’t exist. It is the purpose, the process, and the product of a mentoring relationship. Because learning is so central to mentoring, it is essential that mentors understand their mentees as learners. Mentors need to know how to engage and guide the mentee appropriately and to create a climate that supports learning. In addition, mentors must to be open to learning themselves.

When you begin your relationship mentor and mentee should agree to the purpose. What is it that the mentee wants to obtain from your meetings?

Once you have figured out what you both are going to receive from the relationship, it is now time to plan the process.  How frequently will we meet? What will our meetings consist of? What goals will the mentor set for the mentee?

Finally, decided what you want to end product to be. Where do both mentor and mentee want to be after the relationship comes to a close?  How will you measure your accomplishments?