ARE YOU MAKING THESE THREE MENTORING MISTAKES?

Posted by Kim Wise on Wed, Oct 16, 2019 @ 08:01 AM

Are you making it hard for your mentors and mentees to succeed?

These mentoring mistakes can ruin a well intentioned mentoring program quickly....

These are the factors that will make or break your mentoring program.

1) Have you not set organizational mentoring goals to measure outcomes?

Can you share exactly why you started a mentoring program? Can you describe program expectations and objectives? What is going to change as a result of your mentoring program?

If you can't answer these questions, you are making mentoring mistake number one. You don't know the business reasons for establishing a mentoring program. This means that you can't sell it to your senior team because you can't define it.

Here are the questions you need to be answering:

  • Why are we going to all of the trouble and work it takes to set up a mentoring program?
  • How do we expect things to be different as a result of your program?
  • Will people be more committed to the organization as a result?

Unless you set clear objectives at the beginning of your mentoring program, you'll have nothing to measure. Yours will be a feel good program that has no traction and you'll have a hard time gaining executive support for it. There will be no ROI or Return on Investment. You won't be able to show improvement in any area without the clear understanding of what you want to change.

Mentoring programs can offer a wealth of information about your community. You can review this information to understand better how to serve them and to maximize their learning. Be sure to set clear program objectives early in the process and determine in advance what is going to be important about your program. Which outcomes or changes do you want to see as a result of your mentoring program?

2) Do you want your mentoring program to run itself?

One of the biggest mistakes and the most deadly to a mentoring program that we see is an administrator who thinks they don't have to do some work. They set up a mentoring program and then off it goes- no check ins, no monitoring of what is happening between partners, no support.

How can this be true, you ask yourself? We do too! Our mentoring programs are set up to need a minimum of support, but they do need support. A mentoring program administrator should expect to have work to do upfront to set up a program and will need to take an interest in their mentoring pairs to ensure maximum learning takes place. Mentoring doesn't go well as a relaxed initiative. Someone has to watch it. Someone has to care about the people involved, their goals and desires for the future.

Mentoring programs take a minimum of time to ensure success. If you don't have the time to run one, find a colleague who can help you put in some time. Together, you can create a culture of learning that will change lives.

3) Are you shortcutting the benefits available via mentoring?

Rather than thinking of mentoring as a good thing to do, think of it as the vital hub for all other learning. 90% of that stand alone training you offer, is forgotten within a week. By putting your learning programs on top of your mentoring program, you'll create long lasting outcomes that will never be forgotten. See more about the types of learning you'll forget here. What you'll find is that people only retain 10% of any training class they attend after one week so why waste the time, money and effort?

Include mentoring as a basis for all learning. When individuals take a training class, be sure they connect with a mentoring program to discuss what they've learned. Include some excercises that mentor and mentee can work on together. This way they'll retain the training they have experienced.

Incidentally, if you establish a strong mentoring program with key learning focus areas, you'll get double bang for your buck. Include learning paths in key areas like career development, diversity and inclusion, on-boarding and product development and you'll be training those ideologies fully into your learning culture. You'll create a standard for learning that will benefit you for years to come making your organization one of the most competitive interesting for employees or funders.

If you answer yes to any one of the above questions, complete the form below and we'll be in touch to answer your questions. We look forward to talking to you.

Mentor Resources can help you launch and run robust mentoring programs. With over 20 years experience, we make it easy to administer too. Complete the form below to request more info.

Topics: Mentor Programs, Learning, Mentoring ROI, mentor software, corporate mentoring programs, online mentoring, web-based mentoring, mentoring research