Thursday, September 26, 2013

5 Mentor Matching Criteria You Must Consider

Based on my own experience assisting in implementation of mentoring programs, I think a lot of organizations overcomplicate the process of selecting mentor matching criteria.

Whatever else you do, your mentor matching criteria should:

Be very simple. The more complicated your criteria is, the more time the mentor matching process will take.

Tie back to your business objectives. If you don’t match mentors and mentees based on your organizational objectives for the mentoring program, you can be sure you won’t see the kind of results you want. For example, perhaps your onboarding process takes too long and you want to use mentoring for onboarding, you’re losing knowledge capital with exiting boomers and want to use mentoring for knowledge transfer, or there’s a lack of leaders in your succession pipeline and want to use mentoring for succession planning.

5 Mentor Matching Criteria to Consider:

  1. What skills and competencies are the mentees lacking and need to develop? To me, this is the most important part. Be sure that the skills and competencies you choose to list tie directly back your business objectives. So if your objective is leadership development, examples of competencies you might list include negotiating, presentation skills, managerial skills, etc.  
  2. Do meetings need to be face to face or can they be done online? This will determine if you need to use location-based criteria.  
  3. Is there a specific business function in the organization that really needs to focus on? Perhaps your organization isn’t doing too well in sales. Your focus should then be on sales and marketing business functions.
  4. What is the mentee’s situation within the organization? Determine how they need and want to develop within the organization. This will become part of the criteria for determining what area of the mentoring program the mentee should be placed in. Are they new, and do they require mentoring for onboarding? Have they been with the organization for a while, and do they want to develop their career further? 
  5. Mentors and mentees need to have an easy way to learn about each other. While this isn’t strictly matching “criteria”, it is the last step in mentors and mentees self-matching. Once the mentee has been given a list of recommended matches based on the above criteria, they should really analyze their potential mentors’ profiles to see points they have in common and get a feel for how they’re a match – or not a match. If you want to take it even further, some mentees request an appointment and ask to speak to their potential mentors first, just to make sure the chemistry’s there and that both their goals and personalities fit. 


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