Business Mentoring Matters

When Mentorship Programs Fail Due to Poor Matching

Posted on Fri, Oct, 24, 2014

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.

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Tags: Mentoring Program Manager