Business Mentoring Matters

How to match mentoring pairs from 2 different areas of an organization

Posted on Thu, May, 14, 2015

Tags: Matching Pairs

Recently I conducted a training session with a new group of pairs.  At the mentor training I had a former mentoree who made the following comment:

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How Mentorship Programs Have Changed Over 25 Years

Posted on Tue, Feb, 17, 2015

Tags: Matching Pairs, Mentoring Programs

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.

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3 Common Mistakes Made When Matching Mentors and Mentorees

Posted on Fri, Nov, 28, 2014

Tags: Matching Pairs

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

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

Posted on Mon, Nov, 24, 2014

Tags: Matching Pairs

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

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When Mentorship Programs Fail Due to Poor Matching

Posted on Fri, Oct, 24, 2014

Tags: Matching Pairs

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What Makes A Good Mentor?

Posted on Mon, Aug, 19, 2013

Tags: Matching Pairs

This is a question I get asked frequently and there isn't one set answer.  It's difficult to predict which personality will mesh with another but with some thought put into a matching process, one can get great results.  I do think there are qualities that are critical for someone to be a good mentor:

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3 Tips for Successful E-Mentoring

Posted on Thu, Jun, 13, 2013

Tags: Matching Pairs, mentoring relationships

Here are 3 tips for successful e-mentoring:

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Understanding Mentoring Matchmaking

Posted on Fri, Jan, 25, 2013

Tags: Matching Pairs, Mentors & Mentorees

We choose our friends. We choose our significant others. So shouldn't we choose our mentors or mentorees? Well, consider this matchmaking scenario:

Roberta works in the marketing department of Company ABC, which promotes an appreciation for cultural diversity. Roberta is smart but also nervous about all the traveling she must do. She gets along well with Jane, the local sales manager. It's Jane's first job out of college, but she's worked her way from account executive to local sales manager in just two years. Roberta and Jane are the same age, share similar values, and have great chemistry. Jane would like to mentor Roberta, and Roberta agrees. After all, the two are friends and often socialize with one another.

Wouldn't this be a great match?

Not necessarily.

A mentoring relationship shouldn't be a friendship in disguise. Instead it should be a purposeful match made by the program manager-a person who won't base his or her decision on the "friendship status" of the mentor and mentoree, but rather on whether the two can benefit from working together for 9-12 months.

Remember, the benefits of friendship (e.g. having someone to socialize with) are different from benefits you get when you're in a mentoring relationship.

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Business Mentoring Tips: Saving a Match

Posted on Wed, Jan, 23, 2013

Tags: Matching Pairs

Despite following best practices and making careful matches, you'll occasionally encounter a mentor and mentoree who will struggle in their mentoring relationship. Take heart, and don't panic: this happens to the most competent program managers and in the most effective programs. The good news? You might still be able to salvage the match yet. Keep these two things in mind:

1. Assess carefully. Don't assume that because the mentor or mentoree indicates the relationship isn't working that the statement is true. Often people confuse a roadblock or temporary setback as a sign that the match is not a good one when, in fact, with your guidance, they can work through the issue at hand and have a great relationship.

2. Focus on motivation. When a member of a pair is presenting the problem to you, always listen to see if there's real motivation to resolve the issue. You know you're in this situation when your frequent recommendations for resolution are always met with a "Yes, but" or "That won't work" response. If the person is not motivated to resolve the issue, then you can't save the match. What is best in this situation is to tell the person that you're not sure how motivated he or she is to solve the problem. This will challenge the person to admit as much (which should result in the dissolution of the match), or it will allow the person to confront his or her own behavior and possibly decide to engage properly in the match.

Here are some strategies for handling specific scenarios:

The "going through the motion" matches. In a professional mentoring program, a "no fault" clause exists that allows pairs to end the relationship early without any repercussions, especially if one of the partners doesn't feel it's going to work. However, this isn't always easy for a mentoree to do, since he or she might fear that the mentor might take offense. As a result, the mentoree might still be meeting with his or her mentor but doesn't feel engaged in -- or committed to -- the process.

To save this type of relationship, you have to have a conversation with the mentoree and indicate that you feel there's an underlying issue or that you believe the mentoree is not enjoying the relationship and is afraid to dissolve it. I find that honesty is always the best policy as a program manager, so stating what you are observing in this way keeps people honest about engaging in the relationship. What's important is for the program manager to ask the mentoree why she or he feels the relationship isn't a good match. This can provide important information for the program manager: is it really a bad match or does some value exist -- and can that value be increased?

The "We haven't met very often, but we have a good relationship!" matches. Talk about contradictions! Remember, you can't have a mentoring relationship if you're not meeting regularly. The person uttering this statement is usually mistaking "liking" the other person as having a relationship. Mentoring is about having a meaningful, developmental relationship. The focus needs to be on working together on a mentoree's goals and not just enjoying each other's company. In this situation, it's important to remind the pair about the importance of meeting regularly and having an actual agenda for the meetings with clear goals and timeframes. This will generally bring the pair back to the standards expected.

The "We've run out of things to talk about, so we don't feel the need to continue" matches. In a typical 12-month mentoring program, some pairs will have this experience at around the 11th month (and sometimes sooner). That's part of the normal cycle of mentoring. However, if a pair makes this statement after the first three months or before nine months, then this is a problem. What is happening that makes them feel this way? Usually this happens to a pair that has connected professionally but not emotionally or personally. This can indicate that the pair didn't feel a strong connection, or it can mean that one or both members were reluctant to engage in a deeper relationship. One solution you can provide is for the mentoree to write down on a daily or weekly basis answers to the following:

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Matching Pairs in a Professional Mentoring Program

Posted on Thu, Nov, 29, 2012

Tags: Matching Pairs, mentoring relationships

There are three important areas that should be considered when matching pairs in a professional mentoring program. 

 

1.  Professional developmental areas that the mentoree wishes to explore with the mentor.  These may often be called competencies. The purpose in matching on this basis is to provide a focus to the pair. Without a concrete plan of action, the pairs will flounder or waste valuable time in trying to build the relationship.  

2.  Personality characteristics so that there is some compatibility in engaging with one another.  Asking questions like:

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