Archive for the ‘Mentoring Programs’ Category

Be a Truth-Teller: Advice for Better Mentoring

Posted on: November 1st, 2015 by News presented by How to Mentor No Comments

As a small business owner, you forge strong bonds with your staff and serve as their teachers, whether you realize it or not. Foster better, more honest relationships with those team members with these great tips from our recent panel on small business mentoring.

  1. Be respectful. Maria Contreras-Sweet, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s current chief, says mentors should avoid ‘gotcha’ moments. Instead, see critiques as a chance to be someone’s champion and to offer help and guidance.
  2. Seek to understand, not judge. Poornima Vijayashanker suggests you lead with compassion and the desire to understand your staffer mentees to know what’s driving their decisions before rushing to judgment. Jenn Piepszak, a national sales executive at Chase, agrees. “Truth-telling is very effective when combined with empathy,” adding that understanding the context of the development opportunity is essential.
  3. Be good to them. Truth-telling depends on trust. Build trust with staff you’re mentoring by removing obstacles in their path and giving them the resources they need, suggests Contreras-Sweet.
  4. Ask “What can I do better?” Says Contreras-Sweet, this simple question won’t just make it easier to help your mentee. It will even the playing field and allow for an honest two-way conversation.
  5. Help them think big. The bigger picture isn’t always obvious, says Bridget Weston Pollack, vice president of marketing and communications of small business non-profit SCORE. Take the time to educate the mentees in your company so they understand how their role and problems fit into your business’s overall timeline.  

5 Ways To Raise The Bar On Your Mentoring Relationships

Posted on: September 1st, 2015 by Mentoring Matters Blog presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

Mentoring ToolsStarting Strong walks you through several fictional mentoring examples, highlighting the importance of the first 90 days of a mentoring relationship and pointing out invaluable conversations to have.

One of those fictional examples introduces readers to Rafa.

Rafa is a composite of hundreds of mentees we have worked with over the past 15 years. He’s an ambitious Millennial, and impatient to make it big and fast. To help him on his professional path, Rafa’s company has matched him with a savvy and experienced mentor. This is new for him, and he has no clue what to expect from a mentoring relationship.

Sound familiar? If you’re someone who is new to mentoring like Rafa, our new book, Starting Strong, can help you jumpstart your mentoring relationship and get it on solid footing right from day one.

Starting Strong models mentoring best practices by taking you inside a mentoring relationship, allowing you to observe, feel and experience six key mentoring conversations as they take place.

As the story evolves over the first 90 days of their mentoring relationship, Rafa comes to appreciate the importance of a good launch, and the critical role preparation plays in moving forward. He learns many lessons about how to build a trusting, open and honest relationship, how to maximize his mentoring time, and how to take charge of his own learning.

The Conversation Playbook that follows the story is jam-packed with strategies, tips and probing questions that you can use to your advantage while working with your mentees.

Here are five ways to use Starting Strong to deepen your relationship, stay on track and raise the level of your mentoring practice:

  1. Invite your mentees to read Starting Strong and discuss Rafa’s experiences.
  2. During one of your initial sessions with your new mentee, address the questions at the end of each chapter.
  3. Prepare for your mentoring meetings by selecting questions from the playbook to deepen your mentoring conversations.
  4. When you bring your mentoring relationship to closure, give your mentee a copy of Starting Strong as a gift. It will help them prepare for the transition from mentee to mentor.
  5. And, don’t forget to benchmark your mentoring practices against those described in the book.

Need Better Leadership Skills? Get a Mentor!

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

Many people believe that you are either born with leadership skills or you are not. Although some people are natural born leaders, it is possible to learn how to lead….and mentoring can help. 

How does mentoring foster leadership?

leadership skillsMost people need to learn and continually practice leadership skills. There are very few naturals out there. A mentoring relationship provides a safe place to learn about leadership, ask questions, make mistakes, and receive coaching from someone who has been there, done that.

Let's consider some compelling statistics, findings, and quotes on leadership and mentoring:

• More and more companies (nearly 60% according to this survey) are reporting a shortage of qualified leadership talent.

• “Leaders hold the key to employee engagement”—from Aon Hewitt’s 2014 Trends in Global Engagement Report.

• “69% of business leaders say it’s important to have a mentor”—from Entrepreneur.

• “The difference between the impact that a top-performing leader and an average leader has on an organization is at least 50 percent, according to leaders participating in Global Leadership Forecast 2011.”

• “Leadership development cannot be left to chance”—from the Center for Creative Leadership’s white paper titled Grooming Top Leaders: Cultural Perspectives from China, India, Singapore, and the United States. 

When it comes to developing leaders, why would mentoring be more beneficial than coaching?

Would there be a situation where coaching would make more sense than mentoring? When you mentor, you’re also coaching. What mentoring does in addition to coaching is it brings in the personal relationship. Both coaching and mentoring should exist within the organization. Coaching is about getting things done. Mentoring is about transforming people and transforming the group. (Read more about the differences between mentoring and coaching in this free white paper.) That said, we know some coaches today who feel that coaching has evolved over the last decade or so and that they bring a personal relationship to the work they do. And that’s great. But we maintain that when this happens, the person transitions from being a coach to being a mentor. It’s a fine line, but it’s important to note the distinction.

Mentoring and Leadership in Action

An employee with U.S. Fish Wildlife Service describes working on specific leadership skills with his mentor. Read the complete case study here. “The mentoring program was very valuable. My mentor and I addressed two of the Service’s leadership competencies: visioning and strategic planning. This included interviewing stakeholders, reviewing documents, preparing a vision statement, and updating my program’s strategic plan consistent with national, regional, and field office priorities. I was using the document almost as soon as I completed it and know that it will benefit my program. As a result of this process, I am also now more experienced with these two leadership competencies. In addition to the specific goals that my mentor and I addressed through the program, I benefited in many other ways. I received career advice, exposure to another program, and much appreciated feedback from an objective third party. Lastly, and most importantly, I gained a new friend who I will be able to turn to in the future.”

Excerpts of this post are taken from our latest white paper, Leadership Mentoring: FAQ's, Tips and Real-Life Stories. To learn more such as "Why do Leaders Need to Mentor?" and "What Does a Leadership Program Look Like?" download the free white paper now. 

Image Credit: www.graphicstock.com

5 Traits of a great mentor

Posted on: February 11th, 2015 by News presented by How to Mentor No Comments

A Huffington Post article defines mentoring as a “partnership where a ‘mentee’ is assigned to a more experienced ‘mentor’, who passes on valuable aspects of their own accumulated experience and wisdom for the benefit of the mentee’s personal and professional development.” However, as the same article explains, mentoring has evolved and often both individuals play the roles of mentor and mentee. For instance, now “mentors gain an understanding of the world view of another generation and equally, mentees can help senior colleagues to see new perspectives and shifts in societal behavior, for instance, the growing importance of social networks.”

So if you’re on a quest to find the right mentor, you need to sit up and pay attention. This shake-up in the roles and expectations associated with mentoring affects what you should look for in a mentor. Not only do you need to consider if someone will be a good mentor in the traditional sense, you also need to contemplate if the person will be a good “student.” To help you sift through your options, here are five traits that set a great mentor apart.

Listener
A mentoring relationship is based on communication, and the most important aspect of communication is listening. You want a mentor who understands the difference between hearing and listening – someone who strives to understand what you’re trying to say. This is crucial when you’re trying to describe a situation in order to get their input, as well as when you’re trying to explain a new concept, such as social media.

Young At Heart
There are some people who have always been old at heart, while there are others who will always be young at heart. When you’re looking for a mentor, find someone who is the latter. Certainly, if you’re helping your mentor understand the differences in work culture or between the generations, it will make your job easier. But, it will also help mentors relate to you and give better advice if they remember what it was like to be young.

Courageous
It takes a courageous person to open up and be honest at the level required for a truly successful mentorship. But even beyond that, you need to find a mentor who has had some major career failures and yet still had the courage to keep trying. The more mistakes someone has bounced back from, the more experience they’ll have to share and the more helpful they’ll be as a mentor. Plus, this will be the kind of mentor who isn’t afraid to ask questions and learn new things from you.

Teachable
If you want to get the most out of a mentoring relationship – with both of you giving and taking – you want a mentor who is teachable. While a know-it-all advisor might be helpful for a while, you’ll soon get tired of the attitude and start wishing for someone more open minded. This is something you really want to pinpoint because it ultimately goes back to expectations. Does your mentor just want to give you advice and tell you what to do? Or does your mentor want a reciprocal relationship so he or she can learn new things from you too?

Curious
Inquisitive people are generally successful people, which is exactly what you want in a mentor. You need someone who is curious about your life and wants to know how to help. A naturally curious person will encourage your own curiosity and push you to never stop learning. That need-to-know drive will also ensure the mentorship is a two-way relationship, with your mentor learning from you as well.

Mentoring is no longer the one-way street it once was. An article from Forbes echoes the same sentiment and explains that, “Effective mentorship relationships enrich both people.” So make sure you keep that in mind as you seek out a mentor. A great mentor will also make a great mentee.

EXPRESS EMPLOYMENT PROFESSIONALS

WEBSITE: http://www.expresspros.com/grandrapidsmi

The Misery of Mentoring Millennials in the workplace

Posted on: February 4th, 2015 by The Chronicle presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 2.28.29 PM“For a new generation of workers, the idea of seeking out a single career confidant is as old-fashioned as a three-martini lunch…”

By Marina Khidekel 

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-03-14/the-misery-of-mentoring-millennials

When Christina Wallace, then 25, started a job at a management consulting firm in 2009, she was assigned two mentors: one, a career counselor; the other, an office-culture guru. “It all felt very awkward and forced,” she says.

In the years since, Wallace has taken a different approach. “I’ve curated a personal board of advisers who range from peers to professionals spanning generations and industries,” she says. “I lean on different mentors for different things and often provide them with just as much mentorship as I take.” Her assigned career guide’s role was to gather feedback from Wallace’s bosses and funnel it back to her. “It was like a game of telephone, only the game was with my career.” Her new advisers connected her with “multiple interesting people” and “cool companies”—and helped her land her current gig before it was posted as a job listing.

For a new generation of workers, the idea of seeking out a single career confidant is as old-fashioned as a three-martini lunch. Sure, seasoned professionals still offer valuable wisdom to those on the way up, says Monica Higgins, a professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, but “one senior person can no longer be the only place you turn for career support.” According to Jeanne Meister, co-author of The 2020 Workplace, younger workers seem less respectful of more experienced colleagues and don’t feel compelled to follow in the same path as their superiors. “Millennials can be bold and hungry when it comes to getting what they want,” Meister says. “And today’s new mentorship models are more like Twitter conversations than the long-term relationships of days past. They’re short-term and quite informal. And they end before it becomes a chore for either party—like moving on from a just-OK date.” This hard-core pursuit of guidance can be annoying in established corporate hierarchies. “While this approach may have worked on supercharged college campuses or on the lacrosse field or tennis court,” says Meister, “it may backfire when Millennial employees have to work on an age-diverse team where their aggressive career goals may be intimidating to others.”

Mandatory mentorship programs remain common at large corporations, including accounting firm Deloitte and publisher Time Inc., as well as major investment banks such as Goldman Sachs (GS). Many large firms, though, have begun experimenting with alternative, more creative forms of mentoring. One approach is “peer mentoring,” a gathering of like-minded individuals who can offer guidance for one another, much like Facebook (FB) Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s “lean in circles.” Another is “reverse mentoring,” in which older workers attempt to stay current in a rapidly changing industry by relying on younger colleagues, an approach popularized by former General Electric (GE) Chairman Jack Welch. It’s now typical at major advertising agencies such as Ogilvy Mather. And there’s “speed mentoring,” where aspiring mentees face off individually with prospective mentors, speed-dating-style, for short bursts of advice and a cache of business cards.

Academic institutions such as the University of Texas at El Paso and organizations such as New York Women in Communications proudly hold these events. “Rather than meeting a potential spouse,” reads the New York Women’s website, “you will be meeting experienced professionals who are important connections and valuable sources of information to help you make the most of your career search.”

Younger workers are in pursuit of a sponsor, the preferred academic term for a mentor who goes beyond advising to actively promoting an underling. “Millennials look for those critical few to help them reach their goals in as short an amount of time as possible,” Meister says. Several studies have found that sponsorship can be effective for securing better compensation, faster promotions, and job satisfaction. The Sponsor Effect, a study of several thousand white-collar workers published in the Harvard Business Review, found that such sponsorship emboldened employees to further pursue pay increases.

Finding a mentor can seem beside the point for those determined to forge their own paths and those comfortable promoting themselves. In Meister’s online survey of more than 1,000 workers, Multiple Generations @ Work, she asked respondents if they think their personal drive is intimidating to colleagues. Among Millennials (born 1977 to 1997), 66 percent said yes, vs. 49 percent of Gen Xers (born 1965 to 1976) and 40 percent of baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964). “The younger, tech-savvy generation sees themselves as better equipped for the ‘new world’ work environment than their experienced senior colleagues, who still do things the old way,” says Susan Adams, a professor of management at Bentley University in Waltham, Mass., and senior director of the school’s Center for Women and Business. “Younger employees expect to jump in and contribute all they have immediately,” she says. “Organizational hierarchies and waiting in line don’t make sense to them when they’re ready now.” A 2012 Bentley study of 1,000 college-educated Millennials found that only 2 percent of respondents claimed that a mentor at work gave them the most career encouragement (33 percent said spouse/partner, 25 percent said mom, and 16 percent said dad). And one-quarter gave credit to a manager for encouraging them to assume a leadership role at work.

“I did work with an older mentor who helped me get my jump in the business,” says Tom Daly, a 30-year-old photographer in Charlottesville, Va. “He generally pointed me in the right direction. But the problem was, I surpassed him in some skills, and some of his clients started asking me to work with them instead of him.” Former investment banker Sam Graziano, 34, now co-founder and chief executive officer of Fundation, an online lending platform for small businesses, agrees. “When you have a mentor who has committed him- or herself to a long-term career for one company or in one line of business,” he says, “it’s hard for them to identify with someone like me who chooses to pursue a different path.”

Millennial attitudes toward mentorship have left potential mentors feeling deeply jilted, says Bentley University’s Adams. “One issue I’ve had with some of my mentees—all of whom are Gen Y—is the understanding that interacting with a professional from another generation requires them to change their behavior,” says Catherine Carlozzi, a speech and business writer in Cedar Grove, N.J. “I had to teach one mentee that it isn’t acceptable to call in the late evening with a routine question. I’ve had to explain to others that texting on your smartphone in a situation that involves your seniors suggests you think you have more important things to do,” she says. She’s adapted by using Facebook messaging, texting, and Skype (MSFT). “Sometimes it can be days and days before a mentee will answer an e-mail. That annoys me.”

Carlozzi says Millennials need to understand that they, too, bear responsibility for maintaining a fruitful mentor-mentee relationship. “One of my assigned mentees and I mutually agreed to table the relationship because she never seemed to have time for our scheduled meetings,” she says. “Although she’d seen the benefit of having a mentor, she simply couldn’t make time for it in her life.”

Who Do You Want to Become? vs. What Do You Want To Be?

Posted on: January 28th, 2015 by All Things Workplace presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

Which question are you asking yourself?

Your choice will help determine the depth of your life as well as the comfort-level of your career. Treegrowingtall0

I've been watching a new CEO client begin his tenure at a global company. He is very comfortable listening, talking, giving direction, and saying "I don't know. That sounds good to me. Go ahead and do it." (Whatever the "it" is).

What I'm really seeing is a man who has, over a lifetime, decided to "become" the kind of person he wanted to be. I know for a fact that he didn't set out to be a CEO. In fact, he was invited into the role. The reason he received the invitation, I believe, rests in great part on who he is to the people around him.

Yet "who he is" was shaped by not ambitiously jumping into a position that was too far ahead of "who he was" at the moment. His career path shows a progression that was slow and steady, building solid relationships and new knowledge along the way.  And each step on the ladder reflected genuine accomplishment.

Now he has become a CEO; he doesn't have to play the role of CEO.

And that's the distinction between where the two questions above will lead you.

Who do you want to become?

Or do you want to play a role?

Think about the how the difference will affect your life.

Starting Strong is Key to Mentoring Success

Posted on: January 21st, 2015 by Mentoring Matters Blog presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

StartingStrongAre you from Gen X or Y, anxious to advance your career?

Are you eager make a mark in your organization?

Are you committed to orchestrating your own future?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you will need good mentors if you’re going to be successful.

In our new book, Starting Strong: A Mentoring Fable, you have the opportunity to observe mentoring at work and learn valuable lessons from an experienced mentor about what makes a mentoring relationship successful.

Cynthia, a talented and successful VP of Marketing and Communications agrees to mentor Rafa, a Gen Y financial analyst. Cynthia enjoys mentoring talented, ambitious employees, but only when she is sure that her time investment will truly make a difference.

Rafa is new to mentoring and doesn’t know what to do or what to expect. In retrospect, he realizes that he had a lot to learn about mentoring. The truth of the matter is, most mentees, like Rafa, would like to come to mentoring better prepared.

In Starting Strong, you soon discover just how important the first 90 days are to laying the groundwork for a productive and successful mentoring relationship and what you can do to prepare yourself so that your mentoring relationship starts out and stays strong.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the success strategies you will find in our book:

  1. Get to know your mentor and help them get to know you.
    • Do you feel comfortable being honest and open about your strengths and weaknesses?
  2. Establish agreements that define your relationship and clarify your expectations.
    • How often will you meet?
    • What is your understanding about confidentiality?
    • Who will set the agenda for your meetings?
  3. Articulate the goals that will be the focus of your relationship.
    • Are they SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely) enough to produce tangible results?
  4. Identify specific learning opportunities that will encourage you to stretch and grow.
    • Are you playing it safe, or are you being pushed out of your comfort zone?
  5. Check in on progress after 90 days.
    • What is working?
    • What could be better?
    • Are you getting the support you need?
    • What else are you looking for?

When Mentorship Programs Fail Due to Poor Training

Posted on: January 14th, 2015 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

mentoring trainingI am frequently asked “What are the most common reasons mentorship programs fail?”

There are four main reasons mentorship programs fail:

  1. Design
  2. Matching
  3. Training
  4. Support

This is the third in a series of four blog posts.

In this post, we will focus on training as a common reason mentorship programs fail.

Because many people understand mentoring differently, it is important for both the mentor and mentoree to have the same understanding of how to establish a mentoring relationship. This is why both partners need to be trained.

  • Good mentoring training will consist of:
  • an explanation of what mentoring is and is not,
  • understanding the stages of mentoring and how they work,
  • dealing with some of the most common challenges pairs have such as time constraints, long distance relationships, etc.

Good mentoring training will also walk pairs through their first meeting together, and have a process for dissolving the relationship near the end of the program’s close.   

Some trainers may also bring in a lot of communication training, which is fine.  The training itself should not be a one-hour orientation but should actually involve several hours dealing with the dynamics of a mentoring relationship. Classroom training is the best. When we conduct training sessions, we train half a day with mentors and half a day with mentorees. On the following day we have a joint session with all participants. However, in today’s cost-conscious business environment, an online elearning mentoring course is often more appropriate and more cost effective.

Training is a very important part of supporting successful mentoring programs. Without proper training, mentoring relationships are likely going to fail.

Why Should I Measure My Mentoring Program?

Posted on: January 7th, 2015 by Mentoring Talent presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

Human, but Subjective

Mentoring is a very human development method – and that’s definitely part of the beauty of it. One of the reasons mentoring tends to work as well as it does within organizations is precisely because it’s individual-to-individual, and facilitates conversations and connections between employees.

These conversations and connections mean a few really great things for the organization, among them stronger bonds between and across teams, a greater wealth of shared knowledge, and more developed people overall.

However, the flipside to the “humanness” of using mentoring as a developmental method is the subjectivity that comes along with it.

This presents a challenge.

A mentee might think that they have achieved their goal, but their mentor may not agree. Or a mentee’s manager may not see the development they were hoping for or expected to see, and not agree that the mentee’s goal was reached. Or leadership may disagree that the mentoring program as a whole met its organizational objectives.

All of this translates into bad sentiments all around, bad word of mouth within the organization, and the dwindling possibility that your mentoring program will grow and thrive the way you want it to.

There’s a balance between encouraging that person-to-person interaction and development, and being strategic. No matter where you are with regards to planning, implementing, or running your mentoring program now, ask yourself the following questions:

  • If there’s a dispute with leadership or management, how will I prove what objectives were agreed upon in the first place?
  • How will I prove that goals and objectives were met?
  • How will I prove the success of my program overall?

40% of Mentoring Program Managers Don't Know How Successful Their Program Is

At our webinar “How to Make Your Mentoring Program a Success,” a staggering 40% of attendees reported that they didn’t know how successful their last mentoring program was – because they hadn’t measured it.

This was by far the leading answer, far ahead of 28% of respondents who said that their program was “Somewhat Successful” and 22% who said that their program was “Mostly Successful”.

That 40% who reported they didn’t know if their program was successful or not is really quite alarming considering that without the ability to record objectives, measure results, and provide transparency about both objectives and results to all stakeholders, your program will be hindered by doubt, lack of information, and potentially your inability to prove why you should keep your funding.

Reporting for mentoring success comes down to three things:

1. Recording goals, objectives, and progress. Administrators record organizational goals and objectives set by leadership. Mentors and mentees record how often they’ve met, their learning agreement, individual learning goals, and activities, and their progress toward these goals.

2. Measuring success and spotting problems. Administrators track and report on overall progress toward the organizational goals, and spots potential problems as they occur. Problems can crop up at the partnership level, or overall. Noting inconsistent or infrequent meetings, or little to no progress toward learning goals are a big red flag no matter whether they’re occurring in just one partnership, or across the entire program.

3. Adjusting the program and resolving conflicts where needed. Spotting these red flags allows administrators to take care of problems before they spread further and get the partnership and/or entire program back on track.

Ultimately, all of this allows for transparency in mentoring programs – and don’t underestimate the importance of transparency at all levels.

Transparency not only keeps everyone on the same page and prevents major disagreements from coming up – it also helps keep everyone accountable. Mentors and mentees are held accountable for their own development, administrators are kept accountable for supporting the program, and leadership is kept accountable for the initial goals and objectives that were set at the very beginning of the program.

That 40% of people who self-reported that they didn’t know how successful their mentoring programs were because they weren’t able report? Their issue goes far deeper than simply being unable to prove their success. The overarching issue is that they are hindering themselves from being successful in the first place – and they aren’t acknowledging it.

So Why Should I Measure My Mentoring Program?

Not convinced yet? To sum it all up, here are four good reasons to report on your mentoring program.

1. Keep your funding year to year. Presumably, you will need to report to your manager what occurred in your mentoring program, and what occurred as a result of it in the organization in terms of development, promotion, recognition, etc. – even if you haven’t tied your mentoring program to organizational objectives (which we strongly recommend you do!) Set yourself up for success from the get-go.

2. Keep all your stakeholders happy and prevent disputes. When it comes to what has been accomplished, why it was accomplished, and what the purpose of your mentoring program is in terms of your organization’s goals and growth, you never want any of your stakeholders to be in doubt. This includes all participants, managers, administrators, and leadership. At the first whiff of purposelessness in any initiative, productivity tends to go down. Don’t let this happen to your program.

3. Encourage momentum and good word of mouth. The better experience your participants have in your program, the more likely they are to not only volunteer to be part of future programs, but spread their excitement to their friends and colleagues at the organization. That means more willing mentors and mentees, and program growth from cycle to cycle.

4. Develop a mentoring culture. The more infectious your participants’ excitement, the more mentoring becomes a part of the very culture of your organization. And even if this is informal mentoring and goes unmeasured, your organization is still all the better off for it.

3 Common Mistakes Made When Matching Mentors and Mentorees

Posted on: December 31st, 2014 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

*Parts of this blog post have been previously published in our monthly newsletter titled, Business Mentoring: How We Match Mentors and Mentorees.

In our last blog post, we discussed How to Make a Successful Match Between a Mentor and a Mentoree and we shared some of the ideas behind Management Mentors' algorithm which was born from our 90% success rate in mentor/mentoree matching.

In this post, we are going to tackle three of the biggest mistakes companies make when it comes to matching mentors and mentorees:

  • It gets too political. Someone on the committee is overly influential and may force matches based on office politics rather than the recommended matches.
  • A committee makes the matches but must send them to upper management for review, at which time upper management makes changes (and not for the better). The problem with this is that upper management was not involved in the committee meetings and discussions, so they might not understand the reasoning behind the matches.
  • People put too much emphasis on percentages. Our matching system provides a "matching percentage" between mentors and mentorees. So Jim Smith might be rated as a 58% match to Kim Jones, based on the matching algorithm. Percentages should be seen as a starting point for discussions, not the be-all end-all.

Do any of these mistakes sound familiar to you? If your company has made these mistakes and now finds itself with an unsuccessful mentoring program, can it be fixed? It sure can. The first step is recognizing where the problems lie. We have plenty of resources that you can share with the executives at your company which will help to find a solution to your broken matching system and/or mentoring program.