Archive for August, 2014

7 Organizational Benefits You Won’t Want to Miss

Posted on: August 27th, 2014 by Mentoring Matters Blog presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

Mentoring is an investment of time and effort. To get it right, it is important to prepare the people in your organization and make sure everyone is on the same page. Are your HR and learning/development specialists ready?

Our “Mentoring: Strategies for Success” Trainer Certification Program might be just what your organization needs right now. The Center for Mentoring Excellence’s most popular one-day workshop has been presented to organizations throughout the world for over a decade. This comprehensive workshop provides all the tools and strategies mentors and mentees will need to engage in productive, learner-centered relationships.

Make the investment to train your trainers in mentoring and watch how quickly you reap these rewards. We think you will agree, it is well worth the effort.

  1. Increased talent retention
  2. Heightened employee engagement and productivity
  3. Support for diversity and inclusion
  4. Enhanced employee and career development
  5. Fast-tracked leadership development
  6. Stronger leadership bench
  7. More commitment and collaboration

Executive Mentoring: A Delicate Balance

Posted on: August 20th, 2014 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

Executive Mentoring (EM) is an important part of key leadership development. It is a powerful and effective way of sharing high level knowledge and experience

with a specific mentoree. In most ways, creating an EM program is similar to any other program in terms of best practices. However, there is one unique component of EM that needs to be understood and managed to avoid derailing a mentoree's career from the get-go.


The key component to any mentoring relationship is to establish a trusting, confidential relationship between the mentor and mentoree that also promises not to jeopardize the mentoree's role within the organization.

This is even more critical at the highest level of the organization. Mentoring is about development and not about assessing whether a person is ready for the next level job. Therefore, one has to be clear about the confidentiality rules and what can or cannot be shared between a given pair and what the mentor can share with other senior managers. 

In mentoring, a cardinal rule is that a mentor does not participate in any talent assessment meetings concerning his/her mentoree. This is the proper role of the mentoree's manager—not the mentor.

But how can that work when someone is being mentored by the President of a company?  In my experience, it can't. 

I once worked with the President of a well known banking company who insisted upon mentoring a mentoree. I counseled against that, but he insisted. After two meetings with his mentoree, he approached the mentoring committee and stated that they had to do a better job of determining who gets into the program, because his mentoree wasn't really following his advice. At that point, this mentoree's career at that bank was, for all intents and purposes, over.  

This is why I believe that Presidents should never mentor. Rather, have them lead a group mentoring session. This way the program participants will gain the advantage of the Presidents' experience and knowledge without putting any one mentoree at risk.

When a company creates a mentoring program, they enter into a contract with the mentoree that his/her employment will not be put in jeopardy because of the program and that their confidentiality will be respected. It's important to keep this of paramount importance when creating an executive mentoring program.  

Mentoring for Leadership Development: Top Tips

Posted on: August 13th, 2014 by Mentoring Talent presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

With the economy in a slow recovery, it’s becoming more necessary for organizations to prepare for the future in terms of leadership development and succession planning. Mentoring has always been a popular method of knowledge sharing and talent development, but ultimately it’s your objectives and how well your program addresses them that ultimately makes or breaks your program.

Mentoring with the goal of expanding leadership depth or developing your succession pipeline are two very smart and relevant objectives right now, and we’re seeing more and more clients request mentoring for these very reasons. However, the way mentoring programs are designed to meet those objectives must necessarily be very different from organization to organization, depending on the culture and situation of each. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to mentoring process or technology.

The following best practices, as presented by Judy Corner, an expert in mentoring training and program planning, are guidelines to increase the likelihood of a mentoring program’s success in any organization by helping your organization build your mentoring process around the particulars of your situation as well as your objectives.


1. Define your goals and objectives, and align them with leadership.

Your goals must be more specific than “leadership development”. What specific aspects of leadership development do you most need to focus on? Decide whether you want to focus on skill development, strengthening the succession pipeline, or increasing leadership depth. Don’t jump into the program before you’ve decided what the focus will be, at risk of having little success with a directionless program.



2. Qualify your selected mentors, and assess their areas of expertise as well as the skills to be a good mentor.

The success of your mentoring program is highly dependent upon the quality of your mentors. Program administrators often fear low numbers of recruited mentors, and in order to have as many mentors to mentees as possible, will allow all volunteer mentors in the program. This is a common mistake. If your mentors a) don’t have the necessary targeted skills that fit in with your pre-determined program objectives, or b) don’t have the communication skills to get them across to their mentee(s), they won’t be effective, and your program will suffer. Even if you’re afraid your mentor recruitment numbers will be low, remember to maintain quality over quantity.



3. Determine your matching criteria.

Your matching criteria will determine the success of your individual matches – and the success of your entire program. Determine which participant characteristics are most pertinent to your targeted goals. Examples of good matching criteria for a leadership development program can include career level, leadership skills, and location of participants, as well as overall business function that’s most at risk within the organization.



4. Communicate your plan, objectives, and goals to all stakeholders.

Make sure that all stakeholders – that includes mentors, mentees, managers, and administrators – understand that your mentoring program is a business strategy first and foremost.



5. Provide your mentees, mentors, and managers with mentoring training.

“We would never put someone in a job where we didn’t give them any training so that they could be successful, and yet we do that all the time with mentoring programs, and don’t provide mentoring training of any kind,” says Ms. Corner. Successful mentors, mentees, and managers must understand what is expected from them, what they can expect, and how they fit into the overall leadership development initiative.



6. Focus initially on a specific pool of high-potential candidates.

In the initial phase, think about what your organization needs immediately, and target a highly qualified pool of mentors and mentees to accomplish it. When qualifying, consider your determined goals and objectives, the selected mentors’ and mentees’ availability, and the skill and career levels necessary to affect the initial change.


Interested in combining your leadership development efforts with your succession planning initiative? Read our article “Mentoring Solutions for Succession Planning Problems”.

Don’t micromanage. Mentor instead!

Posted on: August 6th, 2014 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

employee developmentAn article on yesterday, Six Alternatives to Micromanaging Employees by Andre Lavoie, CEO Co-Founder of Clear Company—relates to much of what we talk about here at Management Mentors. 

Lavoie's article insightfully provides tips to managers who may have a tendency to micromanage their employees, especially when productivity is down. Lavoie suggests letting go of micromanaging tendencies that damage employees' attitude toward the company in the long run. 

We found Lavoie's 6 tips to be extremely helpful, and couldn't help but to put a "mentoring" spin on them:

1. Hire the right people.

…people are the most important piece of any mentoring program. Properly matching pairs in a mentoring program is vital to getting the most out of the mentoring relationship.

2. Set clear expectations and goals.

…but without direction, mentors and mentorees don't know what it is they are trying to accomplish. Attach clear expectations and goals to your company's mentoring program (i.e. develop talent, reverse mentoring, diversity initiatives, etc.) and require that pairs are accountable to those goals via monthly or quarterly check-ins with a Mentoring Program Manager.

3. Provide real-time feedback.

…Any successful mentoring program has at it's core a Mentoring Program Manager (MPM). An MPM creates and implements the program, trains the participants, plans meetings, evaluates the program, and provides reports to senior management. In essence, the MPM keeps everything running smoothly for current and future mentoring program participants. 

4. Develop employee ownership.

…Some organizations recommend participation in the corporate mentoring program—others' allow voluntary enrollment. Regardless of how employees entered into a mentoring program, partaking in the program should take it seriously. Do not waste the time of your mentor or mentoree. An employee mentoring program is a benefit—not a chore. 

5. Understand the power of peer accountability.

…aah, this is the tip that got our attention! There is so much to be gained by a mentoring relationship, not only for the mentoree, but also for the mentor. We have heard time and time again from mentors that they feel that they gained invaluable insights about their managing style and their relationships with co-workers during their time with their mentorees. Many of them went into the relationship thinking their primary role was to encourage and guide the mentoree, when the reverse was happening simultaneously!

6. Openly communicate to avoid misunderstandings.

…We are all involved in relationships. You may be a parent, a spouse, a son, a daughter, a friend, a co-worker, a pet-sitter, the list goes on! Communication is key to any relationship. Whether it's a relationship between a manager and a sub-ordinate or a mentor and mentoree, communicate, communicate, communicate! But don't confuse communicating with micro-managing! Making sure that your mentoring partner know that you are open to discussion without being overbearing can be a fine line to walk. Consider discussing your communication styles at the start of the relationship to avoid any misunderstandings.


So thank you, Mr. Lavoie, for the inspiration for today's Mentoring Matters post. We hope that we've opened up even more discussion about your topic!