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How do you make a successful match between a mentor and mentoree

  
  
  

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

mentor matchWe get lots of questions about matching pairs in mentoring programsWhat's the process like? How long does it take? Is there a secret sauce?

We have been successfully matching pairs in mentoring programs for over 25 years achieving, on average, a 90% success rate. Yes, you read that right.....a 90% success rate!! This history of success led to our developing our precision matching component, Precision Matching. Our tool asks critical questions in five key sections and uses our proprietary algorithm to calculate what would make a good match.

We can't give you all the details about our algorithm (it is proprietary, after all!), but we can share the rationale behind it, the difference between manual and system matching, the matching method we recommend most clients use, and the biggest mistakes that we see people make when it comes to making matches.

The Magic behind Our Matching Algorithm.

Our algorithm draws its information from an online matching form that all potential mentors and mentorees fill out. We developed and fine-tuned this form over many years. It currently includes the following sections:

  1. Focus areas/competencies. Our mentoring system comes with 25 default competencies, such as leadership, communication, technical skills, and so forth. Our clients can add and revise these competencies as they see fit. Competencies are based upon job knowledge and skills. The goal is to pair people who want to mentor—or be mentored in—certain competencies. This then allows the mentoring pair to have a focus as they begin their work together.
  2. Forced choice questions. These questions "force" people to make a choice, often between two desirable things. For example, a person might need to answer "yes" or "no" to the following statement: I'd rather my mentor be more businesslike than social.
  3. Personality test. Here, people rate themselves on a personality continuum.
  4. Ranking of key roles. In this section, mentorees must decide what type of mentor they want based on how they order the following roles: teacher, sponsor, cheerleader, counselor, and friend (meaning if they put "cheerleader" first and "counselor" last, it's more important that the mentor is a cheerleader than a friend). Mentors must decide the type of mentor they want to be and do the same thing, ranking the roles in order of most important to least.
  5. Essay section. This section is the only section that doesn't directly affect the algorithm. Program managers can use the essays as an additional resource as they review and finalize matches.

The Matching Process

We offer two main ways to match mentorees and mentors: manual matching and system matching. For both, we provide the online matching form that all mentorees and mentors fill out.

Characteristics of Manual Matching

  • It's subjective and relies quite a bit on the human touch.
  • Typically, the program manager (PM) will have a committee. The PM and committee members will hash out the matches based on info in the matching forms and through discussion/debate.
  • This is a time consuming process. It could take 3-5 hours to match 20 pairs. If you had 150 pairs, this could take two full days.

Characteristics of System Matching

  • It's objective. The program manager can justify each match since it's based on the algorithm, which weighs criteria from four of the five sections on the matching form.
  • The system does the heavy lifting by suggesting appropriate matches. There's no need to "hash out" the matches, so this method saves A LOT of time.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: There are two options within system matching: Auto Matching and 3-Step Matching

The 411 on Auto Matching

This is the quickest and easiest method, but it's not necessarily as effective as 3-step matching (or even manual).

How it works:

  • The system makes the matches based on the algorithm. The program manager likely accepts 90 percent of the matches the system recommends without reviewing further. The PM might make some edits to the other 10 percent.

The 411 on 3-Step Matching

We recommend this method for most clients because it combines the best of auto matching (the algorithm's speed and objectivity) and manual matching (the human touch).

How it works:

  1. The program manager (PM) chooses a mentoree and has the system suggest mentors. Based on this list, the PM chooses 1-3 "tentative" mentors to consider for this individual mentoree. The PM does this for allmentorees in the program.
  2. The PM then compares the mentoring forms for each mentoree against the 1-3 mentors she tentatively selected for the mentoree. The beauty of our system is that you can look at the forms side by side while online. The PM makes almost-final choices for each mentoree. (Note: Here's where reviewing the essay questions can be helpful.)
  3. The PM makes one final review. Now, the PM can look at the complete, just-about-final list of mentor/mentoree matches and make sure she is happy with the final selections. If yes, she can finalize the matches. Each mentor and mentoree will receive an email announcing the match, and the program will officially kick off.

 

Successful matches is one of THE key components to a successful mentoring program. 

Stay tuned for our next post, Mistakes Companies Make When it Comes to Matching Mentors and Mentorees.

corporate mentoring mentoring matching

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Sneak Peak! MentoringComplete: a fresh new look AND new features

  
  
  
Okay, so we are completely aware that all blogging best practices scream "Don't be too promotional! Share relevant industry information, but don't use your blog as a platform to toot your own horn!" 
 
But, today we are going against best practices (shh! don't tell our awesome marketing team!) because we also know that many of our blog followers also use our super robust mentoring software, MentoringComplete, (and if you are not currently using it, maybe you're thinking about it :-). So we just had to share the exciting news about our fresh new look and the new features we are rolling out.
 

MentoringComplete is now even more visually appealing and easier to use than ever before!
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Here are just a few of the updates:
 
We have simplified the user mentoring program manager home page and given it a new look:

Screen Shot 2014 10 01 at 4.50.21 PM resized 600

We simplified the 3-step matching process for Program Managers and added the ability to add a bio of a user (mentor/mentoree) to aid in the matching process. We also simplified the save matches functionality.
 
mentoring software

We made the editing process for both program managers and participants a little bit more visually appealing. 

mentoring software
Not using an online mentoring software system? Check out this FREE resource and learn about the benefits today.

online mentoring program

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When Mentorship Programs Fail Due to Poor Support

  
  
  

mentoring program supportI 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 fourth in a series of four blog posts.

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

In the final post of our series, we are covering the issue of ongoing support of mentoring pairs. There are some organizations that create a mentoring program and match people—and that’s as far as they go. This limited amount of involvement is mentoring “lite” and likely to get poor results.

For a mentoring relationship to be successful, there has to be someone that the pairs can go to in order to resolve issues. This would be the Mentoring Program Manager (MPM), an internal person who has other duties within the organization—most often human resources, training and development or diversity.

"A good mentoring program needs a Mentoring Program Manager to make pairs accountable."
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When setting up a professional mentoring program, the MPM specifies how often mentoring pairs should meet and what they should work on. The MPM is responsible for checking in with the pairs monthly/quarterly to verify whether or not they are meeting as well as checking in on the quality of their meetings.

This expected check-in motivates the pairs to accomplish their goals of the program. Supporting the pairs need not take a long time depending on the number of pairs a program has. In a traditional one-year mentoring program of twenty, the MPM may spend 3-5 hours a month monitoring pairs. Typically, 10-15% of pairs will need more support than the others.

In practice, the first three months is the most critical time period for the pairs to gel and to work effectively. If that has not happened within three months, that pair should be dissolved. If the pair has clicked, then they are not likely to need the MPM much throughout the rest of the program. The fact that the MPM is there and available allows them to be more comfortable within the program. In today’s mentoring profession, there are now companies that will actually manage programs for you, that will act as MPM externally. Whether you have an internal or external MPM, it is critical to have one.  

 

We offer an awesome MPM Certification online course. Learn more by clicking the button below.

mentoring program manager, mentoring program managers

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When Mentorship Programs Fail Due to Poor Training

  
  
  

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.

In our next post, we will focus on supporting mentoring pairs. 

 

corporate mentoring training


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When Mentorship Programs Fail Due to Poor Matching

  
  
  

mentoring pairI 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 second in a series of four blog posts.

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

One of the most critical components of any mentoring program is the matching process. If the matching process is not thorough enough, you will end up with dissatisfied mentors and mentorees, and/or bad or mediocre pairs.

There are a number of ways people use to match such as MBTI (Myers & Briggs), other personality tests, personal information such as hobbies, favorite books, etc. All of these can be part of that process and included in your matching form.

However, in our experience in matching, we have focused more on:

  • the competency areas that a mentoree wishes to learn
  • the competency areas that a mentor wishes to mentor in,
  • the role of the mentor within the relationship,
  • personality preferences on part of both mentor and mentorees,
  • and a few essays

We then use our algorithm in our mentoring software system, MentoringComplete, which provides objectivity to the matching process. If you are not using an online system and creating a manual matching process, then we recommend that you ask similar questions as above. You can also put together a committee of 5 or 6 individuals who can assess each match to provide the best match possible. 

Mentors and mentorees entering a program will have questions about the matching process as well. What mentors and mentorees want to know is:

  • Is the matching process fair?
  • Is the matching process devoid of political favoritism?
  • Is there an equal opportunity for everybody who meets the criteria?
  • Are the questions asked on the matching form truly effective at finding a good match?
  • Is the process of matching transparent?
  • Is the matching process objective?

A successful mentoring program starts with successful matches. For more information on matching, watch for our upcoming newsletter, Mentoring Minute, where we discuss matching in even greater detail.

corporate mentoring newsletter

 

business mentoring

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When Mentorship Programs Fail Due to Poor Design

  
  
  

mentorship programI 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 first in a series of four blog posts.

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

We know from research and from the experience of people who have implemented mentoring programs that there’s a process of best practices that should be followed when designing a mentoring program to assure that the program will work effectively. I recently spoke to a prospective client who told me she spent about one year trying to design her program. Actually, designing a mentoring program should not take that much time. 

  • A good design will have a specific focus on the mentoring relationship—we call these competencies or focus areas. This is to ensure that pairs will know what their task is when they meet.
  • A good design will have a well-defined matching process. For example, who can be in the system, how do they get in the system, how are they matched?
  • A good design will have a training component for both mentors and mentorees in understanding how to create an effective mentoring relationship. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen over the years is for companies to train mentors, but not mentorees—which means they are not on the same page the first time they meet.
  • A good design will have guidelines that set some boundaries between a mentor, a mentoree, the mentoree’s immediate boss and the program manager.
  • A good design will have accountability measures throughout the program such as monthly checkpoints.

In summary, if you have a mentoring program, ask yourself whether you meet the above criteria.  If not, you may want to take advantage of our FREE mentoring best practices presentation.

In our next blog, we will cover the second topic that leads to failed mentorship programs: the matching process.

business mentoring

corporate mentoring training

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Ask an expert and avoid implementing the wrong mentoring solution

  
  
  

Pick My Brain resized 600Recently, I had a prospect (a large international manufacturing company) take advantage of my free one-hour consult on mentoring. This company is interested in having new employees mentored as part of onboarding. Specifically, they also wanted the mentors to work on helping their mentorees to more quickly produce on the job. In just those two sentences, I could tell that mentoring was not the right solution.  Here's why:

  • Mentoring a new employee should only happen after that employee has successfully passed their probationary period—usually 90 days. Why? Because you don't want to invest valuable mentor time and frustration by pairing him/her with an employee who may not make the grade.
  • Having an employee more quickly perform on the job is the role of the supervisor and not the mentor.

As we moved further into the conversation with some of the ground rules that need to be in place for mentoring, I suggested that what they really want to create is a coaching program. There was some debate among the team attending the consulting call. It became clear that the team needed to regroup and reconsider what they wanted.

I always follow-up after such a consulting call to see what the results of the deliberations are and in this case, the prospect indicated that they went with coaching for the moment and hope to put mentoring into place at a later date. What was most satisfying to me was the feedback they provided on how helpful a one-hour consult with me was and how appreciate they were of my assistance.   

Sometimes being a consultant means talking someone out of what you offer and pointing them toward a more perfect solution. If you are or will be exploring mentoring in the future and want to pick my brain, feel free to contact me.

 

coaching vs mentoring corporate mentoring

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What is modern mentoring?

  
  
  

Modern mentoring goes beyond the traditional one-to-one mentoring model that pairs a senior member of the organization with a junior member. Instead, modern mentoring encompasses a wide variety of models and philosophies, such as reverse mentoring, speed mentoring, and situational mentoring (just to name a few).

Technology often plays a role in modern mentoring. For example, a mentor and mentoree might meet via Skype. The rules are often more casual as well. In a traditional one-to-one model, mentors and mentorees meet weekly or bi-weekly, in person, for nine to 12 months. In modern mentoring models, the mentoring is often completed more quickly, sometimes even within a couple of hours.

Read more about modern mentoring in our latest newsletter...

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What is hybrid mentoring?

  
  
  

There is a new terminology arising in mentoring recently: hybrid mentoring. At Management Mentors, we call it Anytime Mentoring. In some cases hybrid mentoring is a result of trying to respond to millennials who are seeking quick and easy access via a mentoring software system to be able to get the mentoring they need when they need it.

Hybrid mentoring puts millennials in the driver’s seat in terms of managing their career development. [Tweet this!]

A hybrid mentoring system will not only have the ability to find and match with a mentor, but will also have social networking components such as the ability to create groups, create projects with other colleagues, create resources, etc. (See screen show below of Management Mentors' Anytime Mentoring system.)

 

Screen Shot 2014 10 01 at 1.40.29 PM resized 600

 

Although this new twist on mentoring is certainly a creative approach to introducing mentoring to this generation, it does not mean that traditional mentoring or group mentoring are no longer valid. All forms of mentoring have their place and ability to accomplish specific goals and objectives. The fact that we are adapting the experience of mentoring to a millennial audience speaks to the ongoing value of mentoring within today’s and tomorrow’s work force. 

For more information on hybrid mentoring and mentoring millennials, check out our resources by clicking the buttons below. They're FREE!

mentoring millennials knowledge share

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Mentoring requires both partners to know what they are doing!

  
  
  

mentoring relationshipEach week, I get inquiries from a prospective client to enhance their mentoring program. When I ask if they train people on how to engage in mentoring, the answer is often "Yes."  Without asking about the quality of that training, I ask if they train mentorees as well as mentors and the answer is often "No." This is one of the most serious mistakes made in a mentoring program. This means that one-half of the partnership doesn't know what they are doing within that relationship!

If we remember that mentoring is about establishing a specific type of relationship, it doesn't make any sense to train one person about how it works and leave the other half out. Mentoring involves a mutual partnership and one can't be a complete partner if he/she doesn’t have the same understanding as his/her mentor or mentoree.

I think a number of people don't train mentorees because they confuse informal mentoring with formal mentoring. Formal mentoring has structure and has a specific purpose which necessitates explaining how this type of relationship works. To not do so at all or to only train one half of the partnership significantly reduces the effectiveness of any mentoring program.

Another reason I often hear that companies train only mentors is the cost involved. That is a legitimate concern when you consider bringing all parties together in a classroom setting where travel expenses are involved. However in today's technological age, there is mentoring e-learning.  This is very cost effective and within the budgets of most organizations.

So if you want to get the most out of your mentoring program, be sure to train both your mentors and mentorees in understanding how to effectively engage in a formal mentoring relationship!

If interested in learning more about our mentoring e-learning course, click the button below:

corporate mentoring training

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