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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


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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

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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!

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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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FREE: Our most popular mentoring white paper downloads!


free mentoring resourcesThere's nothing better for the marketing team at Management Mentors than to have our boss say that he is told time and time again that our website is just chock full of super useful information. I mean, truly, it never gets old! Rock star writing and fabulous graphic designs help to put Rene's unrivaled mentoring knowledge into easily digestible, FREE RESOURCES FOR YOU!

Besides the writing, the snazzy designs and the hours spent on social media (we get paid for this?!), another part of our job as marketers is analytics (yuck...math....we know!). We use a fabulous marketing software tool called HubSpot for our analytics (shameless plug :-). This week, while analyzing our summer downloads, I was shocked at the number of downloads for specific mentoring white papers we have received. So I thought, "hmmm, I should write a post about our most frequently downloaded free white papers." 

So without further adieu, here are Management Mentors' most frequently downloaded mentoring white papers (you can also get them by clicking the fun buttons below...and see our marketing degrees at work!):

Do you have a favorite Management Mentors' resource? We not only enjoy sharing Rene's knowledge, but we also enjoy reaching out to you on social media, via our blog and our monthly newsletter....We'd love to hear from you!

P.S. The excited people in the photo are not us. We are way too busy working on our next white paper to get together and pose for a photo! 

coaching vs mentoring   corporate mentoring business mentoring online mentoring program corporate mentoring program


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Mentoring myth: The best type of mentoring program is long and formal


mentoring programThis is our fifth in a series of posts on mentoring myths. And we think this one may blow your mind!

Mentoring myth: The best type of mentoring program is a formal, managed program that lasts 9-12 months.

BUSTED: Ha! Bet you're confused about this one, considering Management Mentors advocates formal, managed programs. Here's the thing: in a perfect world, all organizations would offer formal business mentoring to its employees and members. These managed programs would last the recommended 9-12 months. But we don't live in a perfect world, do we?

We understand that, for a variety of reasons, not all organizations can support formal, managed programs. And sometimes, depending on the nature of the people who make up the organization, a formal, managed program might not be the "best" solution.

Mentoring isn't one-size-fits-all, which is why there are so many variations to the managed model. Think reverse mentoring, speed mentoring, group mentoring, self-directed mentoring…the list goes on. Download our free white paper on all the different mentoring models to learn more.

In our minds, the most important thing you can do is offer some form of mentoring and create a culture that fosters personal and professional transformation. Because that's what mentoring is all about.

If you want to get this myth plus five more in one handy package that you can easily access and share with others, then download our complete white paper: 6 Mentoring Myths Busted.

corporate mentoring myths corporate mentoring  


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Mentoring Myth: Mentoring and coaching are essentially the same thing.


mentoring vs coachingThere are some mentoring myths we encounter day in and day out as we guide our clients on their mentoring journey. This is the fourth in a series of posts on mentoring myths. Watch as we bust this myth wide open as we have done with the first three!

Mentoring Myth: Mentoring and coaching are essentially the same thing

BUSTED:  It's the myth that just won't die. While we can understand why people still think mentoring and coaching are similar, it's important for everyone to accept the fact they are two different things. Each one is worthy of consideration in the workplace, but mentoring and coaching are still different nonetheless.

Let's talk about two key differentiators.

Differentiator #1: 

Coaching is task oriented. The focus is on concrete issues, such as managing more effectively, speaking more articulately, or learning how to think strategically. This requires a content expert (coach) who is capable of teaching the coachee how to develop these skills. 

Mentoring is relationship oriented. It seeks to provide a safe environment where the mentoree shares whatever issues affect his or her professional and personal success. Although specific learning goals or competencies may be used as a basis for creating the relationship, the relationship's focus goes beyond these areas to include things such as work/life balance, self-confidence, self-perception, and how the personal influences the professional. 

Differentiator #2:

Coaching is short term. A coach can successfully be involved with a coachee for a short period, maybe even just a few sessions. The coaching lasts for as long as it's needed, depending on the purpose of the coaching relationship. 

Mentoring is always long term. Mentoring, to be successful, requires time in which both partners can learn about one another and build a climate of trust that creates an environment in which the mentoree can feel secure in sharing the real issues that impact his or her success. Successful mentoring relationships *typically* last nine months to a year, but you'll see why we put asterisks around the word "typically" when you get to the last myth below.

For even further reading on this mentoring myth, we've compiled 23 additional differentiators in our free white paper: Coaching vs. Mentoring, which you can download right now.

Also, if you want to get this myth plus five more in one handy package that you can easily access and share with others, then download our complete white paper: 6 Mentoring Myths Busted.


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