We posted a blog about a month ago titled More Misinformation About Mentoring which called out businesses who are trying to pass coaching off as mentoring. True mentoring cannot take place over a one-hour meeting or even a one month get-to-know each other session. Mentoring is a relationship built over time.
Recently, I came across an organization called StudentMentor.org. StudentMentor.org connects college students who are looking for help to navigate their way to an ideal career with “mentors” who are looking to enhance leadership, management, and coaching skills, as well as to serve as a role model.
Although on the premise this idea sounded fantastic, as we delved into this website, there was one nagging issue: the time frame the mentoring pairs spent together was typically around one month. We can’t help but wonder if StudentMentor.org expanded their program to make it longer, how much more success their mentorees could achieve.
In contrast, I would like to compare what Studentmentor.org is doing to the well-known Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. BBBS conducted a nationwide study of over 950 boys and girls who participated in their program with a mentor three times a month for an average of one year.
“We have known all along that Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mentoring has a long-lasting, positive effect on children’s confidence, grades, and social skills,” affirms Karen J. Mathis, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s President and CEO, “and the results of this impact study scientifically confirm that belief.”
It would be interesting to see the results of a StudentMentor.org study compared to the BBBS study.
To reiterate what we have said before, mentoring is a relationship built over time in which trust is established whereby the mentoree can share the real issues that impact his/her success, i.e. lack of self-confidence, how they are perceived by others, goals, etc. To suggest that mentoring need only be a one-month session is to misunderstand mentoring.