The optimum outcome of matching a mentor with a mentee is immediate synergy between the two partners. There are several factors that can influence this:
- The process used to match the mentor with the mentee
- The organisation’s sponsorship and resourcing of the mentoring programme
- The size of the mentoring programme’s mentor pool
- A clearly defined purpose for mentoring at the organisational level and for the mentor-mentee partnership
- Time available/given for the partnership to develop
And you may have experienced in your mentoring programme, some mentoring partnerships flounder at the beginning, which is quickly perceived as a poor mentor-mentee match. But this doesn’t have to mean that a new mentor (or mentee) is required. And if your mentoring programme doesn’t have a large mentor pool, this isn’t an option.
But you still want mentoring to work and your mentoring programme be successful and sustainable.
There is such a lot of focus on how to get the match right the first time, for obvious reasons. A lot of companies offer various technologies and online matching programmes to manage this process. But there are other strategies that you can use to encourage and support the mentor-mentee partnership to work. For example:
- Have your prospective mentors and mentees fill in a programme application form (often called EOI) which clearly establishes the intentions of each party as to why they want to be involved in the mentoring programme, what they have to offer and/or how they see mentoring supporting their development and achievement of goals
- Use matching tools that help the mentor and the mentee to discover each other’s communication styles and ways of working and behaving (I have since developed my Mentoring 360 Communication Inventory Tool to help people with this discovery)
- Encourage the mentor and mentee to complete regular partnership reviews
- Integrate a self-review process – by the mentor and the mentee – as an evaluation strategy within your mentoring programme.