Leadership Development

When Mentoring is like a Bad Blind Date

Perfect matching between mentors and mentees can increase the results of your mentoring program.

Is Poor Mentor Matching Like a Bad Blind Date?

Expert Mentor Matching


You match partners thinking they'll be perfect but then the partnership fails and you don't know why. I can't tell you how many people we talk to think their people didn't care about having mentors when really it was the programs reputation of poor matching that crashed it before it even got started.  It is a painful thought to consider enduring a bad blind date for a year, but that can be the outcome of poor matching. People cannot endure them so they simply don't meet.
Want to make sure that you don't force the bad blind date on your key executives? Then follow these five steps to ensure a terrific match.

  1. Always consider what the mentee wants to learn. Start with the mentees goals and objectives.  Solicit their input on what they'd like to accomplish. Have them set goals before you start your search for their perfect mentor.
  2. Select a mentor based on sound matching principles. At the least, you should be thinking about the functional area in which the mentee would like support. Aligning the mentor's expertise with the skills and competencies the mentee would like to enhance is important. Your mentee should have a good idea as to what kind of experience and background will help him or her accomplish their goals. Finally, take a look at the discussion topics the mentee would like to cover. You'll make a mentor miserable very quickly if you ignore their needs in the process. Make sure that the mentor is interested in speaking about the discussion topical areas the mentee would like to approach.  These four simple items will go a long way in ensuring a good mentoring match.
  3. Give mentors a chance to say No to a particular mentee. It may sound a bit unusual but they know what they are equipped to handle. You'll keep your mentors happy way after the first program period is completed and they'll come back to participate time and again if you give them the opportunity to say no.
  4. Think of who these individuals are personally. If they seem share opposite interests, play different sports or seem to have totally different personalities, they probably are very different. This won't make the best match.
  5. Finally, make sure to define the rules of the game. Mentoring has as many definitions as there are programs. Don't assume that everyone has the same understanding of what this thing called a mentoring partnership is or how it works. Instead spell it out for them. Make sure all partners share the same understanding and you'll enjoy much greater outcomes from your mentoring program.

Poor matching is the number one cause of mentoring partnership failure. Partnership failure reflects poorly on you as program administrator and on your program and organization at large. Take the time necessary to do it well. It will be worth the time. Oh, and if you have any questions about these ideas, feel free to give us a call. We'll help you keep it simple.

Mentor Resources is the premier provider of enterprise mentoring solutions to Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies, and world class organizations. WisdomShare® Mentoring Software has been awarded Best-in-Class by experienced mentoring administrators for it's ability to successfully create global learning connections between the individual, the executive, the group, and the world.

Kim Wise, CEO & Founder of Mentor Resources, Inc. - +415-380-0918

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