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How Your Hiring Manager Should Talk Up the Company Mentoring Program

Posted on Tue, Feb 24, 2015
  
  
  

company mentoring programMentoring is one of the more sought after benefits that prospective employees are seeking. Due to the overwhelming success of mentoring, prospective employees are very much aware of the value of having a mentor and are seeking companies that support that kind of career development.

Given two comparable job offers, if there is a mentoring program in place at one company, chances are that the prospective employee is likely to select that position. But how will she know about the program and how it will benefit her? All hiring managers should be promoting the company mentoring program as much as possible. Here's how:

Do more than just pass out brochures.

Speak passionately about the mentoring program in front of prospective employee during interview process.

Cite examples or provide a summary of a result of a given program.

This provides concrete evidence of how valuable a mentoring program is as an employee benefit.

Make it personal.

This is going to be a journey for this new hire. Let her know that the company is invested in its employees very concretely and this mentoring program is as much about her future as it is the company’s.

There is nothing more powerful than to tell an employee that someone within the organization will take a personal interest in her career development by being her mentor. So talk up your company mentoring program during the interview process!

 

Here's a free white paper that may help:

business mentoring

Image Copyright: Flickr/Minto Roy

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Management Mentors is Now an Approved GSA Vendor

Posted on Thu, Feb 19, 2015
  
  
  

We're happy to announce that the General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded Management Mentors a GSA contract. Now it's even easier for federal agencies to buy from us.

And with over 25 years of experience in helping organizations create and launch world-class mentoring programs, you can't do any better than us (if we do say so ourselves).

Here's what you need to know.

What is the General Services Administration?

The GSA was established in 1949 by President Truman. The goal? To streamline the federal government's administrative work. As its website states, the "GSA oversees the business of the U.S. federal government. GSA’s acquisition solutions supply federal purchasers with cost-effective high-quality products and services from commercial vendors."

Read more about the specific things the GSA does here.

What is the GSA Advantage?

As its website states, "GSA Advantage is the federal government's premier online shoppingGSA Advantage superstore giving you access to millions of commercial products and services available from GSA-negotiated contracts."

The goal is to leverage government buying power in order to get "you" the best possible price.

In this case, "you" typically refers to an organization affiliated with the federal government, although state and local governments can shop here as well.

How should I use GSA Advantage?

Use the GSA Advantage website to research GSA approved vendors, learn about special programs, and discover products that can make life easier for your organization.

What does it mean when the GSA awards a company like Management Mentors a GSA "contract"?

Essentially, our GSA contract makes it much easier to sell our flagship product, MentoringComplete, to federal government agencies AND it makes it easier for these agencies to buy from us. Why? The GSA has already done the heavy lifting and approved Management Mentors as a vendor.

Note: this approval doesn't mean an endorsement of our product; it simply means we meet the standards put forth by the GSA. That said, not every company that seeks a contract is granted one. In fact, we went through a long vetting process.

I work for a federal government agency. We're interested in e-mentoring software. What should I do next?

Start by checking out our profile on the GSA Advantage site. If you're interested, contact us and we can set up a call to discuss your agency's specific needs. From there, we can help walk you through the process of purchasing through the GSA Advantage site.

Hmm. I'm not sure I get all this. What should I do?

Don't worry—we understand! There's a lot to know, and it can be overwhelming. Let us help. Contact us or give us a call. We're happy to answer your questions.

Here's to your mentoring success!

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How Mentorship Programs Have Changed Over 25 Years

Posted on Tue, Feb 17, 2015
  
  
  

In reality, the dynamics of mentoring have really not changed in 25 years. The dynamics of the relationship continue to involve establishing a trusting relationship between the two partners.

mentorship programs

What has changed over the last 25 years in regards to mentorship programs is the added value of technology to assist in matching and in communicating.

  • In the area of interaction, the use of video conferencing using technologies like Skype and Facetime have made it possible for people across the world to be able to mentor each other at a minimal cost. This technology has helped to promote mentoring globalization, and the breaking down of barriers in large companies that have employees located throughout the world. 

 

As technologies continue to develop, they will impact mentoring, but what will remain the same are the basic dynamics of a mentoring relationship and its ability to transform participants as a result.

For more information on mentoring best practices, check this out. It's free!

mentoring best practices

Image Credit: Flickr/Niall Kennedy

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7 Quick Ways to See if Your Mentoring Program is on the Right Track

Posted on Tue, Feb 10, 2015
  
  
  

mentoring programDo you know if your mentoring program has the essential components to be successful? Here are 7 quick ways to see if your mentoring program is on the right track: 

1. Guidelines

Do you have clear guidelines that describe the interaction and the ground rules of the relationship? *This is normally called a program descriptor, which is also used to recruit and inform people about the program.

2. Training

Do you provide training on mentoring dynamics to both mentors and mentorees? Frequently a company will only train mentors. This is a huge mistake! Pairs need to be on the same page; therefore, both partners need to be trained in the understanding of mentoring dynamics.

3. Manager Involvement

Have you oriented the mentoring managers on their role if any in the program and the relationship between the mentor and the mentorees’ manager (hint: there shouldn’t be one). 

4. Matching

Is the matching process that you use based upon criteria that are objective? Is more than one person who participates in the matching process?

5. Support

What kind of ongoing support does a mentoring program manager provide to the pairs throughout their relationship? For example, do they check in with each person on a monthly basis? Do they conduct periodic surveys?

6. Evaluate

How do you evaluate your program? Do you conduct interviews? Surveys? A combination of both?

7. Feedback

What kind of feedback do you get from participants with recommendations on how to improve your program? Are those recommendations implemented?

 

These are just some of the ideas you should be considering when assessing whether your mentoring program is on the right track.

  corporate mentoring training mentoring best practices

Image credit: Flickr/James Wheeler


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Diversity Challenges: Can Mentoring Always Help?

Posted on Wed, Jan 14, 2015
  
  
  

mentoring and diversityJanuary is not only the month that we celebrate one of the most important figures in our nation's recent history, Martin Luther King, but it is also National Mentoring Month. I don't think it is a mistake that these two celebrations are intertwined. Martin Luther King was a change-maker, a visionary, a man with a mission, a hero....he was brave, perservering, intelligent, respectful and humble. Are these some of the adjectives you would use to describe your ideal mentor? 

At Management Mentors, we see many different kinds of mentors with differing personalities, strategies and goals. Combining mentoring and diversity can be challenging. Mentoring may not have been Dr. King’s goal, but he is undoubtedly one of the most looked-up-to mentors our country has ever had. 

There are many companies today with lofty diversity goals and initiatives. Even if a company is enlightened enough to establish a structured mentoring initiative, it may not be sensitive to the unique needs involved in diversity mentoring, such as finding diverse mentors and understanding how to navigate successfully in a majority culture. It is important, therefore, for anyone exploring a mentoring initiative to identify its goals, not only for the organization, but for the mentorees. Our approach is to respect and build upon the company’s culture and the needs of employees being mentored. A one-size-fits-all approach will fall short of achieving your goals. 

According to this recent Fast Company article, Natalie Madeira Cofield launched her own mentoring organization, Walker's Legacy, after finding it impossible to find any female African American business mentors to guide her while she navigated her way to success. Cofield, a young, successful entrepreneur wanted and needed to be able to have very sensitive and HONEST conversations with diverse individuals such as herself, but was surprised when she couldn’t find any other African American businesswomen willing to fill the role. Cofield said "You need mentors who will say, ‘that wasn’t the right thing to do’ or ‘you shouldn’t be wearing that’ … someone who’s going to be honest like that," she explains. 

While we applaud Cofield’s extremely admirable and important contribution to the world of mentoring, we would like to help make it easier for companies to create effective mentoring and diversity programs, so that not everyone has to go out and reinvent the wheel. We have many free resources on mentoring and diversity including the following:

How to Start a Diversity Conversation in Your Mentoring Program

Diversity Initiatives & Mentoring Programs

The Diversity Manager's Role in Your Mentoring Program 

So, while mentoring may not always be the solution to your company's diversity initiatives, it certainly can play a large role in alleviating those "elephant in the room" conversations and allow for some real, honest discussions that may lead to a more successful diversity program and, ultimately, a more successful company.

Finally, if you have not already seen it, check out Common's acceptance speech at the Golden Globes this past weekend. Common and John Legend won the award for best original song in a movie. The song is Glory from the movie Selma—the story of MLK’s initiative to obtain equal voting rights for all via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. Common’s speech reminds us all why diversity initiatives are so important.

 

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Need Better Leadership Skills? Get a Mentor!

Posted on Mon, Jan 12, 2015
  
  
  

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. 

 

leadership and mentoring

 

 Image Credit: www.graphicstock.com

 

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Mentoring and Diversity

Posted on Fri, Dec 19, 2014
  
  
  

diversity mentoringI was recently invited by a prospective client to meet with the mentoring team to discuss diversity and mentoring.  Their goal was to use mentoring to promote diversity within the organization in order to promote the advancement of diverse individuals. After an hour of good conversation, it became clear that the organization was not prepared to implement a specific diversity program. The main issue was that the company could not guarantee that people of diversity would be promoted within two years of implementing the program.  Since that’s the case, people of diversity would view this as window dressing as opposed to as a serious effort to promote diversity.

There are several key issues when considering mentoring and diversity:

  1. The purpose has to have results that people can see and that are measurable. The program has to make a real difference in the lives of diverse individuals.
  2. The organization has to be prepared with diversity information that may be difficult to hear, but that is necessary in order to change the culture.
  3. Measure the current culture of the organization to ensure that it is ready for that conversation—the one we most often avoid. (We wrote a great article about How to Start a Diversity Conversation in Your Mentoring Program that could help.)
  4. The organization needs to understand that when a diversity conversation occurs in a trustful and confident relationship, mentors become champions for diversity because they will have had a first hand experience with a diverse individual that makes the issues “real” to the majority individual.

Diversity mentoring programs are powerful and should be implemented within the right context. To not do so is to do a disservice to both mentoring and diversity. 

For more information on diversity and mentoring, download our FREE white paper, How to Leverage Your Mentoring Program, below:

corporate mentoring program

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Four Things that Should NEVER Happen in a Mentoring Program

Posted on Wed, Dec 17, 2014
  
  
  

Mentoring is a very flexible program that can fit the needs of any given organization. Programs will vary based upon specific criteria, specific focus areas, and specific programs. However, there are areas that should never be included in a professional mentoring program. Here are the top four:

 

Matching-who should be involved?

1. If senior management has not participated in the matching discussion, they should not review the final list of matches submitted by the program manager and make changes, since the changes they are likely to make will not be based upon a clear understanding of mentoring. Get more FREE tips on matching here.

mentoring matching  

Mentor/Mentoree/Manager relationship-what does that look like?

2. The mentorees’ manager should never have a conversation with the mentor about the mentoring relationship. Although, one can argue that this conversation would be valuable in helping the mentoree develop, the downside is it confuses the roles of the mentor and the manager and compromises the issue of confidentiality between the mentor and the mentoree.
 

Importance of a program manager

3. A program should not be implemented without a program manager who is responsible to match, manage and support the pairs throughout the mentoring relationship. To not have a program manager means that the mentoring pairs are more likely to flounder and struggle instead of having a good, solid, productive relationship. Learn more about program managers in our previous post, What Role Does a Mentoring Program Manager Play in a Mentoring Program?

 

Talent review-should mentor participate?

4. The mentor should never participate in a talent review conversation about the mentoree. This is a job between the mentoree and the mentoree’s manager. Again this, compromises confidentiality. 

If you avoid these four pitfalls, your program will be a lot more solid and generate better results.

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Business Mentoring eBooks make great holiday gifts!

Posted on Thu, Dec 04, 2014
  
  
  

business mentoring ebookAah, the holiday season. You've survived Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. But are you still wondering what to give the folks you work with this holiday season? 

This is a great time of year to check out our business mentoring eBooks. With titles ranging from Business Mentoring: A Business Strategy That Works to How to Find a Mentor to Executive Mentoring 101, we have a mentoring eBook for every business professional. Whether your company already has a corporate mentoring program, or if you recognize someone in your office who may be looking for a mentor, check out our options. 

Our eBooks range from $2.99-$9.99 and are available to download immediately onto your smartphone, tablet, ereader or desktop.

Your co-workers will appreciate the thought and effort!

Happy eReading and Happy Holidays!

corporate mentoring

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Top 5 Mentoring Blog Posts Fall 2014

Posted on Tue, Dec 02, 2014
  
  
  

corporate mentoringAt Management Mentors, we consistently get super positive feedback regarding the great mentoring content we publish. We do our best to make all of the information you will need to make an informed decision about whether a mentoring program is right for your company, how to best utilize your current mentoring program, or how to make improvements to your mentoring program (among other things!). Here are our 5 most popular mentoring blog posts from Fall 2014:

  1. FREE: Our most popular mentoring white paper downloads!
  2. Mentoring requires both partners to know what they are doing!
  3. Mentoring Myth: Mentoring and coaching are essentially the same thing.
  4. How do you make a successful match between a mentor and mentoree
  5. When Mentorship Programs Fail Due to Poor Support

 

 

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