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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:

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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!

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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



corporate mentoring newsletter 

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3 Common Mistakes Made When Matching Mentors and Mentorees

Posted on Fri, Nov 28, 2014

*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:

  • mentor match mistakesIt 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. If you recognize that your company's mentoring program needs help with mentoring matching, check out our FREE resources below.

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8 Things We Are Grateful For This Thanksgiving at Management Mentors

Posted on Wed, Nov 26, 2014

corporate mentoringIt's Thanksgiving week here in the United States, a time to reflect on all those things we are grateful for. Without getting too mushy, we've put together a list of 8 things we are grateful for at Management Mentors this Thanksgiving:

  1. All the ways mentors and mentorees can stay connected today, even over long distances, thanks to things like smartphones, Skype, and social media
  2. Millennials, because every time a new generation is knocking on the front door, a fresh perspective is ready to enter and shake things up a bit…in a good way
  3. Our fabulous clients who inspire us every day with their commitment to mentoring their people
  4. The mentors we’ve all had over our lives
  5. Great leadership that recognizes people's strengths and helps them grow
  6. Executives that realize mentoring is about professional development for the person as well as the company 
  7. You—our blog readers—for your commitment to business mentoring
  8. ....and of course our FABULOUS marketing department!


What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?

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

Posted on Mon, Nov 24, 2014

*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.

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

Posted on Wed, Nov 12, 2014
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.

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When Mentorship Programs Fail Due to Poor Support

Posted on Tue, Nov 04, 2014

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

Posted on Tue, Oct 28, 2014

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. 


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