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Having a Conversation about Personal Issues in Mentoring

  
  
  

mentoring relationshipWhenever you are involved in mentoring, there is a good possibility that at some point your mentoree may share some very personal issues that they are dealing with.  Some may feel uncomfortable or unprepared to deal with such issues, but it's important to recognize that this is an important moment in the mentoring relationship and you should not let this pass. Below is a sample script you might find helpful if you encounter this situation:

 

Sample Script: Mentoring Gets Personal

I appreciate your sharing this information with me. It says a lot about the trust we’ve built. I want to be helpful as best I can and as we discuss this further, it may become apparent that you may need to seek outside assistance to provide you with the help you need beyond my own limited expertise. Are you open to my suggestions to seek additional assistance if that becomes necessary? OK.

Tell me more about what is going on and how this is impacting you in your current job.

This is obviously a difficult time for you, what possible solutions can we explore that would assist you in this situation?

Are there resources either within the company, such as an Employee Assistance program or Human Resources, or outside the company that can assist you in this situation?

How do you want to proceed from here? What do you see as my role? What do you see as yours?

Let me share with you my own concerns.

Before we end our session, I need further clarification…or I need to summarize what we’ve agreed to.

When will we meet again to follow up on what we’ve agreed to do? 

For more mentoring relationship tips and tricks, check out our eBook: Creating A Successful Mentoring Relationship: Training Tips and Tricks.

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Executive Mentoring: A Delicate Balance

  
  
  
executive mentoring resized 600

Executive Mentoring (EM) is an important part of key leadership development. It is a powerful and effective way of sharing high level knowledge and experience

with a specific mentoree. In most ways, creating an EM program is similar to any other program in terms of best practices. However, there is one unique component of EM that needs to be understood and managed to avoid derailing a mentoree's career from the get-go.

 

The key component to any mentoring relationship is to establish a trusting, confidential relationship between the mentor and mentoree that also promises not to jeopardize the mentoree's role within the organization.

This is even more critical at the highest level of the organization. Mentoring is about development and not about assessing whether a person is ready for the next level job. Therefore, one has to be clear about the confidentiality rules and what can or cannot be shared between a given pair and what the mentor can share with other senior managers. 

In mentoring, a cardinal rule is that a mentor does not participate in any talent assessment meetings concerning his/her mentoree. This is the proper role of the mentoree's manager—not the mentor.

But how can that work when someone is being mentored by the President of a company?  In my experience, it can't. 

I once worked with the President of a well known banking company who insisted upon mentoring a mentoree. I counseled against that, but he insisted. After two meetings with his mentoree, he approached the mentoring committee and stated that they had to do a better job of determining who gets into the program, because his mentoree wasn't really following his advice. At that point, this mentoree's career at that bank was, for all intents and purposes, over.  

This is why I believe that Presidents should never mentor. Rather, have them lead a group mentoring session. This way the program participants will gain the advantage of the Presidents' experience and knowledge without putting any one mentoree at risk.

When a company creates a mentoring program, they enter into a contract with the mentoree that his/her employment will not be put in jeopardy because of the program and that their confidentiality will be respected. It's important to keep this of paramount importance when creating an executive mentoring program.  

To learn more about executive mentoring and group mentoring, download our white papers below. As always, they're FREE!

 

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4 Reasons to Consider An Online Mentoring Software Program

  
  
  

online mentoring softwareDo you resemble these statements?

1. Your company has been thinking about starting an employee mentoring program, but you don't know where to begin.

2. You already have an existing program, but you need a precision matching tool to create effective matches between mentors and mentorees.

3. You're looking for a way to share knowledge between employees and create a true learning network.

4. You just think it's time to take your mentoring program online and into the 21st century.

 

Many HR professionals feel that an employee mentoring program will benefit their company but aren't sure where to start. We have lots of resources and information about the benefits of not only an employee mentoring program, but we also offer tools to support existing mentoring programs. 

Still have questions, feel free to contact us for a free consult!

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MentoringComplete: A Robust Online Mentoring Software

  
  
  

 

mentoring softwareWe get a lot of questions about the the pros and cons of online mentoring software. Here, we've compiled some of the frequently asked questions we get about our online mentoring software, MentoringComplete

 

Why should my company have a mentoring program?

Studies show that employees who work with a business mentor flourish in their careers. Companies that offer mentoring programs typically enjoy higher productivity and better employee retention.

Why should my company use web-based mentoring software?

Web-based mentoring software like MentoringComplete integrates the interactive human elements of relationships with all the productivity and technical capability of the Internet. This combination creates an ideal mentoring relationship that ensures employees the best support network possible for success in their positions.

Does MentoringComplete require lots of expensive hardware?

No. In fact, MentoringComplete doesn’t require your company to buy any additional hardware. As long as your employees have access to a browser and the Internet, they’re all set.

Will I need to get my IT department involved?

No. MentoringComplete doesn't require the loading of software or server integration. Your IT department doesn't need to get involved at all.

Do you provide training on how to use MentoringComplete?

Yes. We walk you through set-up, we have a thorough self-help/troubleshooting guide, and we're readily available to answer your questions.

How much does MentoringComplete cost?

When you choose MentoringComplete, you'll buy licensing rights to access the system based upon your specific needs. The cost of MentoringComplete is half the cost of traditional mentoring programs created on paper.

 

To learn more about the benefits of online mentoring software, check out our free white paper:

 

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Don't micromanage. Mentor instead!

  
  
  

employee developmentAn article on Entrepreneur.com yesterday, Six Alternatives to Micromanaging Employees by Andre Lavoie, CEO & Co-Founder of Clear Company—relates to much of what we talk about here at Management Mentors. 

Lavoie's article insightfully provides tips to managers who may have a tendency to micromanage their employees, especially when productivity is down. Lavoie suggests letting go of micromanaging tendencies that damage employees' attitude toward the company in the long run. 

 

We found Lavoie's 6 tips to be extremely helpful, and couldn't help but to put a "mentoring" spin on them:

1. Hire the right people.

...people are the most important piece of any mentoring program. Properly matching pairs in a mentoring program is vital to getting the most out of the mentoring relationship.

2. Set clear expectations and goals.

...but without direction, mentors and mentorees don't know what it is they are trying to accomplish. Attach clear expectations and goals to your company's mentoring program (i.e. develop talent, reverse mentoring, diversity initiatives, etc.) and require that pairs are accountable to those goals via monthly or quarterly check-ins with a Mentoring Program Manager.

3. Provide real-time feedback.

...Any successful mentoring program has at it's core a Mentoring Program Manager (MPM). An MPM creates and implements the program, trains the participants, plans meetings, evaluates the program, and provides reports to senior management. In essence, the MPM keeps everything running smoothly for current and future mentoring program participants. 

4. Develop employee ownership.

...Some organizations recommend participation in the corporate mentoring program—others' allow voluntary enrollment. Regardless of how employees entered into a mentoring program, partaking in the program should take it seriously. Do not waste the time of your mentor or mentoree. An employee mentoring program is a benefit—not a chore. 

5. Understand the power of peer accountability.

...aah, this is the tip that got our attention! There is so much to be gained by a mentoring relationship, not only for the mentoree, but also for the mentor. We have heard time and time again from mentors that they feel that they gained invaluable insights about their managing style and their relationships with co-workers during their time with their mentorees. Many of them went into the relationship thinking their primary role was to encourage and guide the mentoree, when the reverse was happening simultaneously!

6. Openly communicate to avoid misunderstandings.

...We are all involved in relationships. You may be a parent, a spouse, a son, a daughter, a friend, a co-worker, a pet-sitter, the list goes on! Communication is key to any relationship. Whether it's a relationship between a manager and a sub-ordinate or a mentor and mentoree, communicate, communicate, communicate! But don't confuse communicating with micro-managing! Making sure that your mentoring partner know that you are open to discussion without being overbearing can be a fine line to walk. Consider discussing your communication styles at the start of the relationship to avoid any misunderstandings.

 

So thank you, Mr. Lavoie, for the inspiration for today's Mentoring Matters post. We hope that we've opened up even more discussion about your topic!

 

  business mentoring

 

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Mentoring Resources: Our Team Picks Their Favorites

  
  
  

We have been told over and over again that our website is chock full of content....really, really good content. We have an amazing marketing team that just keeps cranking this stuff out. Mentoring white papers, eBooks, podcasts, blog posts...We love to share what we know about mentoring and hope that by producing truly relevent content that our audience finds useful, it will keep y'all coming back for more. No hidden agendas. No jokes. No BS. Our goal is to make sure that when you need information about mentoring and all things employee development related, you will come to our mentoring website.

In this post, our team picks their favorite mentoring resources that can be found on our site. Here they are in no particular order (except for the fact that the boss's favorite pick is first. Job security, duh!):

 

corporate mentoring specialistRene (the mentoring expert a.k.a. the boss):

An eBook: Mentoring: A Business Strategy That Works

Of course Rene had a tough time choosing his favorite Management Mentors' resource. He wouldn't publish anything with his name on it unless he felt it was perfect. Now, if we asked him to name his favorite employee, maybe he'd have an easier time answering that question. Rene?

But Rene did choose his favorite. We have a variety of mentoring eBooks, but Mentoring: A Business Strategy That Works, was his first and is his favorite. There are many corporate mentoring vendors out there that have beautiful websites with lots of fluffy content, but we try to offer more. By writing mentoring eBooks, Rene's goal is to provide the reader with as much information as possible so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not a corporate mentoring program is right for their business.

 

mentoring trainingJoanne (the sales aficionado, ahem, relationship builder):

Management Mentors' Online Mentoring Training Courses

If there's one thing that Joanne is passionate about, it's building strong client relationships. Another thing she's passionate about? Management Mentors' online training courses! Joanne is on the phone every day with prospects and customers alike and she gets amazing feedback about our online mentoring courses. Joanne says: "These courses are great for the Program Manager, Mentor & Mentorees.  Customers rave about them  - excellent content for very short money, and you even get a certificate when you complete each course!"

 

mentoring white paperSusan (the marketing guru and super "smaht" Bostonian):

A white paper: Mentoring Challenges: Getting Buy-In From the C-Suite

Management Mentors now has quite a collection of white papers/thought papers. We are constantly keeping a pulse on the industry and identifying pain points so that our website can continue to assist those in need of resources surrounding employee development goals. We have so many white papers ranging from Talent Development, Knowledge Sharing, and Benefits of an Online Mentoring Program, that it was hard for Susan to pick just one. But since we pressured her, she finally broke down and said it would have to be our most recent white paper "Mentoring Challenges: How to Get Buy-In From the C-Suite."

Susan said "Many of the human resources folks that we talk to know that their organization could benefit from an employee mentoring program, but aren't sure about how to make a compelling argument and present their proposal to the C-Suite. This white paper will walk you though how to do just that, as well as help you to further identify exactly what mentoring model is right for your organization."

 

mentoring best practicesRobyn (the marketing writer, ninja novelist and George Clooney lover)

Business Mentoring Podcasts

Robyn is the woman behind the curtain, truly! She has her hands in every single piece of content written for Management Mentors, from the white papers to the eBooks and the content on the website. Aah, but her talents extend far beyond writing. So what does she choose as her favorite Management Mentors' resource? The podcasts of course! When I asked her why, here's what she had to say:

“My background is in radio broadcasting, so it’s no wonder that my pick is our extensive podcast library. Each podcast is a bite-sized (or ear-sized) nugget of info related to mentoring. People like learning about things in different ways—some prefer text, others visuals, and still others—audio. Our podcasts cater to that last group (and more). Definitely check them out.”

 

business mentoring blogRanae (the marketing coordinator/social media hoverer)

A blog post: Getting Real About Mentoring and ROI

There was no way I wasn't going to pick a blog post as my favorite mentoring resource! I mean, it's my bread and butter here at Management Mentors. Although I write many of the posts for MM, it truly is a collaborative effort. Our marketing agency provides us with quarterly blog content ideas, and Rene and I collaborate together to write posts that we feel are fresh and current and will resonate with our audience. Getting Real About Mentoring and ROI was a post that Rene and I brainstormed together as a result of seeing some online chatter about this subject. We try to use the Management Mentors' blog, Business Mentoring Matters, not only to share Rene's mentoring knowledge, but also to delve into pain points that organizations may be experiencing. And we don't know of a single organization that doesn't ask the question....."What's the ROI?"

So there, you have it.. Our staff picks their favorite mentoring resources (so far!). And if that isn't enough for you, we have more....lots more! Check out additional resources by clicking the buttons below.

How about you? Do you have a favorite Managmenet Mentors' mentoring resource? We'd love to hear from you!

 

mentoring millennials online mentoring program pilot mentoring program

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Four Overlooked Benefits of Mentoring

  
  
  

benefits of mentoringThere are many benefits to a corporate mentoring program. From boosting employee morale to reverse mentoring (millennials mentoring baby boomers on the latest and greatest technologies, for example) to successfully supporting women in their career growth goals. Here we discuss four overlooked benefits of mentoring that will position your organization for the best and brightest prospective employees while nurturing the rock stars you already have today.

 

 

1. Attracting talent

It's college graduation season. There is so much great talent out there, but why would these talented young people want to come to work for YOU? Mentoring has a powerful attraction for prospective employees. In career development surveys, mentoring continues to be cited as an important benefit. When trying to attract talent, advertising that you have a professional and effective mentoring program can be a significant differentiator between you and your competitors.

 

2. Developing talent

Does your organization struggle with developing talentDeveloping a talent pool is an ongoing challenge for most companies as they strive to remain ahead of the competition. Many different development strategies exist and a company that wishes to remain a player needs to incorporate a number of them to grow its talent. Corporate mentoring is one of the most effective strategies as a standalone program or as part of an existing workforce development program.

 

3. Supporting diversity intitiatives

We touched upon this in the opening paragraph. Millennials, boomers, women.....how about global organizations that are working together cross-culturally? Many companies are struggling with supporting diversity initiatives. Today’s workforce is evolving, and the best companies are responding to it by offering and fostering diversity initiatives to expand understanding and encourage collaboration across different demographics. That’s good news, but there’s still a big problem – most diversity initiatives don’t go far enough. And companies that offer insufficient programs are wasting time and money.

 

4. Succession planning initiatives

We all like to pretend it isn't going to happen. "Joe Smith will never leave us....he's been here forever and he knows everything!" Well, we hate to break it to you, but Joe Smith will eventually leave. It's coming and you need to be prepared for it. Ensure that your company's expertise from experienced employees like Joe Smith will not be lost once he retires or leaves the company. Retain that expertise via a mentoring program by properly positioning those who are poised to take Joe's place. Mentoring is an ideal strategy for enriching your succession planning program. In succession planning, you're targeting individual talent to take on increasingly more responsible positions and eventually assume a major position within your organization.

 

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Is your mentoring program "Mentoring Lite?"

  
  
  

mentoring resourcesIn my conversations with potential customers, I often come across what I would call, "Mentoring Lite" (ML). This is a company with an existing mentoring program that wants to get the most out of mentoring but is putting in the least amount of structure and support to get a return on their investment.  The way you can tell if you have a ML program is to consider the following:

1. There is no internal Mentoring Program Manager to support or hold the pairs accountable. 

A Mentoring Program Manager is not a full time job and, if structure properly, does not take a great deal of time.


2. There is no mentoring training of either partner on understanding what a mentoring relationship is all about or, only one partner has been trained (which is not very helpful for the overall program). 

Mentoring is frequently confused with coaching or with managing. Without proper training people are probably doing what they know: coaching and managing.


3. The expected outcomes of mentoring are not clearly articulated.  In other words, "what are we supposed to be working on together?"

Setting a goal for mentoring pairs and a mentoring program as a whole will ultimately lead to successful mentoring relationships.

    So do a quick review of your existing program, is it Mentoring Lite? If so, there are some quick and easy solutions that you can implement which will beef up your program and help you to get the most out of it. Check out our free resources below.

     

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    What should be the focus of your mentoring program?

      
      
      

    mentoring benefitsFor mentoring to work, both partners have to share a focus or focus areas. 

    In professional mentoring, these are usually specific core competencies such as:

    • leadership
    • supervisory skills
    • financial acumen

    This ensures that mentoring will have a clear purpose and will be tied to business objectives relevant for the company. 

    But what makes mentoring different from coaching is that there is also a second set of goals that are personal. These are things like:

    • increased self-confidence
    • perception by others
    • long term career goals 

    So although it's important to attach professional goals and objectives to a mentoring program, it's in the personal area that mentoring gets its power. By establishing a trusting relationship which is not evaluated from a performance system perspective, the mentoree can share the main issues that affect their success which are usually personal rather than competency-based. 

    If you conduct an evaluation survey at the end of your program and ask mentorees and mentors how they grew personally, you will be amazed at what you will read.  

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    Newsletter: Take Your Business Mentoring Program to the Next Level

      
      
      

    mentoring programWe offer some great detailed tips in our latest newsletter about taking your mentoring program to the next level. Here are just a few of the questions we explore: 

    • What is your definition of the next level?
    • Is your program ready for the next level?
    • Have you learned everything you can from your current program, especially if it's a pilot program?
    • Will you continue using the same mentoring model?
    • What role will technology play?
    • Do you provide training?
    • Are you satisfied with your program's size and mentoring model, but you feel there's something lacking, like maybe people can and should be getting more out of the program?
    corporate mentoring newsletter

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