Business Mentoring Matters

Talent Management Magazine Interviews Rene Petrin

Posted on Fri, Jul, 24, 2015

We're thrilled to share an interview that Talent Management magazine conducted via Skype with our president and founder, Rene Petrin

Check out the video below!



Psychology That Underlies My Approach To Mentoring

Posted on Tue, Jul, 07, 2015

Screen_Shot_2015-07-07_at_8.15.16_AMRecently I facilitated a meeting to design a mentoring program. During the meeting, someone asked the question:

 "What's your theoretical basis for your interest in mentoring?"

I thought this was a great question, and one that others may be interested in knowing the answer to as well.

I received my Master's degree in Counseling and Consulting Psychology.  In my studies, I felt that two particular approaches appealed to me and these two are the ones that have formed the basis of my approach to mentoring.

1. Person-Centered Therapy (PCT) developed by Carl Rogers.

This is an approach that puts the responsibility for the therapeutic process on the client and makes the therapist more passive or non-directive but also affirming in responses. The way this applies in mentoring is this:

  • The mentoree is the driver in the relationship.
  • The mentor is a partner in the process but not the driver.
  • I also believe that mentoring is more about who you are as a professional person as opposed to acquiring specific skills sets or knowledge.

2. Gestalt Therapy created by Fritz Perls, Laura Perls and Paul Goodman.

This psychology focuses on the existential experience of the individual at the present moment including the environment and social context. This applies to mentoring in that it's important for both partners to be aware of what is affecting the mentoree's success that is related to the environment they work/live in and the relationships they interact with. I am often asked "What do you do if you feel stuck in the relationship or there is silence?"  My response is Gestaltian:  "Pay attention to what is happening in the moment: body language, relationships, etc.” This type of awareness will help to further develop the relationship.

The above pillars of my practice have formed the basis for how I have created my mentoring process.

If you are wondering about other best practices in mentoring including tips and tricks to make your mentoring program actually work, check out our free download below:

mentoring best practices

9 Suggested Activities For Mentoring Pairs

Posted on Thu, Jun, 18, 2015

Tags: mentoring pairs

activities_for_mentoring_pairsWhen I conduct quarterly sessions with mentoring pairs I get a lot of useful suggestions. The following are 9 suggested activities for mentoring pairs directly from people currently partaking in a corporate mentoring program:  

  1. Visit each other's worksite to learn more about what each of you do
  2. Introduce each partner to two new people to build a larger network
  3. Observe each other executing a presentation or leading a meeting
  4. Decide on a leadership or management resource which you both will review and discuss its importance in the mentoree's development
  5. Review the organizational chart together for a better understanding of how various components of the organization work and the key players in each
  6. Discuss two recent challenges faced by each of you, how you each handled these challenges and whether the outcomes were satisfactory or not.
  7. Take a company offered course together and share the learning
  8. Share with each other a person who has been most influential in your career and why.
  9. Discuss the wildest (think daredevil!) thing you've ever done


For even more ideas about how to maximize your mentoring relationship, check out our online training courses for mentoring:

corporate mentoring training

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Learn How To Create A Pilot Mentoring Program

Posted on Mon, Jun, 08, 2015

Tags: Pilot Mentoring Program

pilot mentoring programWhen people in an organization first start thinking about mentoring, they usually want to start small to test the waters and see if it gains any traction. This is a smart approach, and one we support 110 percent. 

That said, this is usually where organizations stumble.

  • What should happen next?
  • Who's in charge of creating the program?
  • How big should it be?

These questions often go unanswered, resulting in a great idea being pushed to the back burner indefinitely.

Don't let this happen in your organization.

If you've been thinking about creating a mentoring program, but you don't know where to start, then download our FREE white paper, How to Create a Pilot Mentoring Program

And even if you already have a mentoring program, it can't hurt to download this guide and compare the set-up strategies to your own. You might discover some ways to improve your existing program.

If you already have a mentoring program, have you provided your participants with proper training?

You may also find our mentoring e-learning courses helpful for an existing mentoring program. If your mentors and mentorees don't have the skills they need to succeed, your mentoring program will be a bust!

pilot mentoring program corporate mentoring training

10 differences between formal and informal business mentoring

Posted on Mon, Jun, 01, 2015

Tags: Mentoring Programs, mentoring pairs

differences between formal and informal mentoringInformal and formal mentoring are often perceived as being the same, but they have significant differences. A failure by individuals engaged in such relationships to understand these differences can lead to disappointment and frustration. Both can benefit the organization and the individuals involved.



  1. Tied to business objectives
  2. Goals are established
  3. Results are measured
  4. Access is open to all who meet criteria
  5. Mentors and Mentorees are matched
  6. Matching is based on compatibility
  7. Mentoree Manager is involved
  8. Mentoring is time-limited
  9. Training in mentoring is provided
  10. Program Manager is a resource



  1. No direct link to business objectives.
  2. Goals are unspecified
  3. Results are not always clear
  4. Access is limited and may exclude some
  5. Mentors and Mentorees self-select
  6. Matching is based on chemistry
  7. Mentoree Manager is not involved
  8. Mentoring may last for years
  9. No training is provided
  10. No Program Manager is involved

Which is right for your company? Formal or informal business mentoring? We are not suggesting that one is right and one is not right. Business mentoring programs have different goals and criteria. It's best to understand which category yours falls into (formal or informal) before rolling it out to participants. Check out our free resources below to help you get started.

pilot mentoring program corporate mentoring myths

How to ask someone to be your mentor

Posted on Fri, May, 29, 2015

Tags: mentoring pairs, Mentors & Mentorees, mentoring relationships

how to ask someone to be your mentorWhen asking someone to be a mentor, timing and how you ask are both important issues to consider. You have to lay the groundwork and be clear about the amount of time you are asking the person to invest in you. 

You first need to consider what specific development you need: personal development or professional development?

Once you've decided upon the person you would like to ask to be your mentor, engage with them prior to asking so that you get to know a little bit more about one another. The easiest way to do this is to contact them and ask if they would be willing to chat with you about how they developed their career. You may say that you want to follow a similar career path or you want to learn how to be successful.

Having this conversation or perhaps several conversations will allow both of you to develop a comfort level with each other so that when you ask the person to be your mentor, they will be more likely to say yes.

So how do you ask someone to be your mentor?

When asking, consider this short model as a guide:

Dear (future mentor),

I have really enjoyed our recent conversations together. They have provided me with a lot of insight. I would like to continue to speak on a more regular basis and I was wondering whether you would consider being my mentor.

Perhaps we could meet once a month for an hour. I will plan a short agenda with specific topics to discuss for each meeting. We could speak on the telephone or meet face to face, whichever is more convenient for you. 

Thanks again for your consideration and your time. I know it is valuable! 


Asking a person to consider avoids their need to respond yes or no immediately––which makes it more likely they may say yes. Also, clearly stating the time commitment you are requesting is important. After all, timing is an important issue to consider. Not only WHEN to ask someone to be your mentor, but HOW MUCH time you are asking them to invest in you.

Good luck with your mentoring endeavors! We have some great resources below that can help you to get the most out of your mentoring relationship (and they are free!).

business mentoring mentoring best practices corporate mentoring training

Image Credit: © Isabel Poulin |

How to Prepare for Your Meeting With Your Mentor

Posted on Wed, May, 27, 2015

Tags: mentoring relationships, Mentorees

Prepare for meeting with mentor

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 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 how do you prepare for your meeting with your mentor? Here are 6 tips to help you get your mentoring relationship off on the right foot: 

1. Be prepared

Prepare yourself 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. Now, if you would really like to "WOW" your mentor, download our free resource Creating A Successful Mentoring Relationship and bring it to your first mentoring session. You and your mentor can map out a mentoring plan together and no one can accuse you of coming to your next mentoring meeting unprepared! 

To learn how mentoring can help you foster your career development, check out our free white paper by clicking the button below. 

business mentoring

Image Credit: © Revensis |

Real Advice from Mentors to Mentorees

Posted on Tue, May, 19, 2015

Tags: mentoring pairs

advice mentors to mentorsRecently I conducted a quarterly session with a group of mentors and the following are key points they wanted me to convey to mentorees at their quarterly session. You may find these helpful to share as well:

  • Be clear on what you need and want – you drive the process
  • Do not leave the mentor in the position where they are trying to figure out or drive your needs
  • Allow yourself to be fully vulnerable to develop and grow
  • Remove titles from your mentor’s position and see them just as they are; there for you as a mentor
  • Leverage the relationship not just during your scheduled meetings – utilize them at any time you need assistance, guidance, advise, feedback, or support
  • Everything does not have to be done in a formal process – informal when needed can be powerful for you
  • The program is not just solely about your development plan – greatest part of the relationship is getting advice/support in other areas like personal issues, case study, peer relationships, work balance, etc.
  • Your engagement in the process will determine what you get out of it

Follow this advice and watch your relationship bloom. Feel free to use this list as part of your mentoring training or check out our mentoring training e-learning courses:

corporate mentoring training

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How to match mentoring pairs from two different areas of an organization

Posted on Thu, May, 14, 2015

Tags: Matching Pairs

mentoring_match_pairRecently I conducted a training session with a new group of pairs.  At the mentor training I had a former mentoree who made the following comment:

"You know when I was first matched with my mentor I couldn't understand why we were matched as she came from a different area of the organization and we didn't seem to have much in common. But as our relationship developed we found we had a lot more in common than we thought and we have a great relationship that still continues today."

I share this with you because I often get comments like these and I also frequently get asked about these types of matches. In many cases we do pair people from the same discipline but not always. Sometimes for purposes of breaking down silo mentality and creating connections throughout the organization, we do the opposite and match from different disciplines. We have a two-fold philosophy as to why we do that:

  1. We believe that it is the quality of the relationship that matters and not so much the content.
  2. We believe that a mentor need not have all the expertise a mentoree is seeking as a mentor should be able to help a mentoree to network and get that expertise.

So if you are a mentor or mentoree who is matched with someone outside your discipline, see it as an opportunity to learn new things and share a different experience.

mentoring matching

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Does Your Company Have a Mentoring Philosophy?

Posted on Wed, May, 06, 2015

Tags: Mentoring Programs

mentoring philosophyAt Management Mentors, we believe that mentoring is about building a trusting, transformational relationship promoting the sharing of personal experience and the transmission of knowledge and insight. The result is a relationship creating a developmental learning environment with opportunities for both mentor and mentoree to stretch beyond his or her boundaries within a safe environment.

Does your organization have a corporate mentoring program? If so, do you know your company's mentoring philosophy? If not, feel free to share this post with your mentoring program manager. This is meant as a starting point. Your company can edit/tweak it as it relates to your company's beliefs.

Mentoring Philosophy

  • Mentoring is about having a transformational relationship not only about gaining skills, knowledge or expertise.  This is what makes mentoring different from coaching and managing.
  • We believe that the role of a mentor is to 'empower' a mentoree by leading the mentoree away from dependence upon the mentor so as to assume full independence and self-confidence. 
  • We believe that technology can aid in mentoring but cannot replace the interpersonal relationship that makes mentoring unique. Online systems can be an important tool, when appropriate, as a means of enhancing the relationship.  Our technology components have been developed based upon this philosophy.
  • We believe that mentoring is the most powerful and effective strategy for professional development within an organization.  We remain committed to this sole enterprise for Management Mentors.  We are one of the few consultants who focus exclusively on mentoring and our brand is the most valuable thing we own.
  • Mentoring to be successful must be adaptable and reflect the specific culture of a company and must be built upon that company’s values and core competencies. We listen to our clients to make certain that the programme is truly “theirs”.
  • Diversity both in a broad and a specific sense informs every mentoring project we engage in. Some of our programmes have focused on specific affinity groups while others have focused more broadly on diversity.  The decision as to which emphasis to make is based upon a client’s needs and readiness to engage in meaningful dialogue around issues of diversity.  We believe that mentoring respects the diversity of each employee and, in doing so, creates a culture that is accepting and mutually beneficial. When this occurs, customers are the ultimate beneficiaries.
  • As entrepreneurs we are constantly seeking to be innovative and leaders in the mentoring field. We are committed to creating standards for mentoring practice in order to bring quality control to the mentoring field. 


  pilot mentoring program

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