Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mentor Matches Don't Always Work Out

Don't Hesitate When There's a Bad Mentor Match

Your seventh and final step to getting mentors and mentees to make time for mentoring focuses on closing the circle so that, no matter what unexpected issues crop up, you are ready to keep the mentoring program cycling to success. 

mentor match
We all know that even the best mentor matches can go wrong - regardless of how great your mentor matching criteria are. Even if both mentor and mentee go into their mentoring partnership with the very best of intentions, sometimes the unexpected happens, and there ends up being a conflict of personality, work, family, etc. 

If and/or when this happens, they need to know that there is a clear plan laid out for them to follow, and b) that there is someone who will guide them through it. 

That’s you, the program administrator. 

There’s no point in wasting time if it’s clear it’s a bad mentor match. It’s important that the mentor and mentee know that it’s okay to admit that it’s not working, so that they can be reassigned to more productive mentor matches. 

Consequences of Prolonging a Bad Mentor Match

Equally, it’s important that you, the program administrator, are able to admit that it’s okay that a mentor match isn’t working for a few reasons:

  1. Your mentoring program will lose credibility and momentum. Especially if you intend for your mentoring program to cycle over, you can’t afford to have bad PR if you’re going to recruit new mentors and mentees. 
  2. No progress will be made toward your objectives. Frustrated, apathetic, and/or absent mentors and mentees won’t be able to learn and develop in ways that you can tie back to your objectives for your mentoring program.
  3. You won’t be able to demonstrate ROI. If you’re not progressing toward your objectives, there’s no way that you will have mentoring program ROI – which means that when push comes to shove when you’re trying to keep your funding, you likely won’t be able to. 

Mentor Rematching Action Steps

Here’s what to do instead:

  1. Let mentors and mentees know before the program starts that they should come to you if they feel the match isn’t working – and that there will be no negative consequences for them should they do so. 
  2. Have a plan ready to put into action should a mentor and mentee approach you with just this concern – and take into consideration the possibility that you’ll need to put on your mediator hat as part of the job. 
  3. Be prepared to get back on track by marketing your mentoring program
It’s very important that a “no fault” mentoring partnership split rule is established to enable any necessary switches. Everyone needs to abide by it, mentors, mentees, managers, peers, etc. It’s okay to be reassigned. It’s up to you to communicate that to everyone involved.


Learn more about making the best possible mentor matches.

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