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Advice for Businesses

How to Maintain Mentoring Momentum

Some mentoring relationships can work well from day one, while others need a push in the right direction. As employees deal with busy schedules or unclear goals, mentoring relationships can falter without the right support.

According to HR Magazine, 30% of mentees said that their mentoring relationship failed because the program lost its momentum. In this article, we’ll explore why mentoring programs lose momentum and what program managers can do to solve or prevent this.

Whether you use a mentoring platform, such as Guider, or not, there are plenty of ways you can maintain mentoring momentum!

Why do mentoring programs run out of momentum?

There is a wide range of reasons mentoring programs lose momentum, including:

  • Poor mentor and mentee matches, resulting in a personality clash and a loss of motivation
  • Lack of structure or training
  • Mismatched expectations
  • Unrealistic goals that leave the mentee unmotivated
  • Utilising the wrong types of mentoring for your goals

What can Programme Managers do to maintain mentoring momentum?

Program Managers must ensure the right amount of support is available for mentors and mentees to prevent the above from happening. Here are some tips for those responsible for mentoring in the organisation:

1. Outline clear objectives

One of the first things to do when building your mentoring program is to outline a clear objective that reflects the business or team’s goals and values. This gives both you and the participants a guide to follow and shows stakeholders why they should care.

For example, is the program all about graduate career development? Or is it to drive change in diversity and inclusion and create upward mobility for under-represented employees? Having a clear purpose gives your mentors and mentees perspective over the wider impact of their sessions, leading to greater investment.

This is also the time to think about the types of mentoring that work best for your goals. We all know the benefits of traditional mentoring, but have thought about reverse mentoring, peer mentoring or group mentoring? Each one can align with your objectives in a different way.

Make these objectives visible and easy to access to remind participants what they’re working towards and why it’s important. For example, host them on the mentoring landing page when people sign up.

2. Set the right amount of structure

You want a mentoring program to emphasise the relationship between the mentor and mentee. Creating a rigid program removes the human connection, and can put too much pressure on individuals. But a too loosely structured program means participants lose interest due to confusion, lack of direction, and not knowing who to turn to.

The right amount of structure depends on the individuals. E.g a more experienced senior mentor may already have experience mentoring junior employees. In that case, a great way to show that you support and trust them is to let them have more say in where to steer their sessions. However, in many cases employees are new to mentoring, and will therefore need more guidance and support:

  • Outline the structure so people understand the expectations
  • Create program checkpoints so that the mentor and mentees know they’re on the right track
  • Create a timeline and milestones so participants have a motivational goal to work towards
  • Create a hub for resources in case they need extra support

You’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. So encourage participants to make use of frameworks such as SMARTER, GROW and PDP. This helps them to be proactive while giving them the freedom to set their own goals.

Using the right mentoring software

3. Think about mentor matching

One of the biggest indicators of a successful mentoring relationship is a compatible mentor match. You can match mentors and mentees manually, or use mentoring software, such as Guider, to save you time. Either way, it’s important to give mentees an element of choice in who they match with, as they are more likely to be invested in the relationship.

We’ve written a guide on mentor matching. Our mentoring platform makes it easy, but it’s also important to let participants know what help and guidance are available if there’s a personality clash. Mentor matching can be tricky and people tend to drop off without communicating if they feel too embarrassed to speak up when it hasn’t worked.

You can also learn a lot from existing relationships. Assess what is working well and not so well in the current mentoring pairs and learn from them. Collecting confidential feedback from mentors and mentees can teach you a huge amount about what makes a successful mentoring match.

4. Get enough leadership mentoring support

You may have leaders in the business advocating for mentorship and supporting your program, but have you tried recruiting them as mentors?

Encouraging senior leaders to become mentors creates a ripple effect throughout the company, giving the program more weight and legitimacy. They also help to promote the program through word-of-mouth when speaking to colleagues about mentoring successes, and encouraging others to mentor.

If you feel your program is losing momentum you can do a recruitment push for more mentors, targeting the people with the most influence in the organisation.

5. Create a community buzz

And finally, create a community buzz. When participants feel like a part of a wider community, they’re more likely to feel engaged. To do this you can:

  • Announce your new mentoring program with a webinar and Q&A
  • Host mentor/mentee events
  • Announce program checkpoints
  • Share updates in newsletters and slack channels
  • And celebrate success

This also creates a reminder for employees to sign up or check in.

With a mentoring platform like ours, you can find support in building a mentoring community that lasts. With our dedicated engagement team, we help you to promote your program, run events and guide you on the best times to step in and create a buzz throughout your program.

4 colleagues laughing together.

What can mentors do to maintain mentoring momentum?

Mentoring benefits not only the mentee but the mentor as well. Mentoring develops a whole host of leadership and communication skills, and mentors are even more likely to get promoted than those who do not mentor. Read up on the benefits of mentoring for mentors for more detail.

It’s important for mentors to really understand why they got involved with mentoring and what they’d like to get from the experience. This way they have a personal stake in the relationship besides their mentee’s development.

Embrace mentoring as a learning experience

Think of mentoring as a personal learning and development experience, with the opportunity for mentors to develop their coaching and leadership skills.

  • How does it impact them professionally?
  • What skills are they looking to develop?
  • The importance of building internal relationships

As a program leader, you should encourage mentors to engage with learning resources and training, particularly if they are first-time mentors. Encourage them to identify areas they want to work on, and to set goals for themselves.

Provide a safe space

Effective mentoring requires participants to feel comfortable with being open and vulnerable with each other. Momentum can be lost when they don’t feel comfortable sharing what they’ve learnt, or what they struggle with.

Mentors’ stories of personal development can inspire mentees, and encourage them to open up. They should also establish confidentiality and boundaries, and ensure that mentoring sessions are a safe space, with no hidden agenda. A space where they can be open and honest with each other. The more open things are, the easier it is to get to the root of an issue and make progress.

What can mentees do to maintain mentoring momentum?

Mentoring is a two-way relationship, and it’s a common misconception that the mentor does all the work. At Guider, we believe in mentee-led mentoring, and so the mentees select a relevant mentor for them and drive the relationship, such as leading on booking sessions and setting an agenda. This instils responsibility in the mentee from the onset of the mentoring relationship, setting a precedent for them to keep up the momentum.

Mentor Up

Similar to ‘managing up’ (anticipating a manager’s needs and taking initiative), a mentee should be encouraged to be independent and hold themselves accountable.

For example, this could be by taking a proactive approach and being the first to communicate with their mentor. They should be encouraged to understand their mentor’s priorities and pressures, creating less tension and allowing the pair to focus on building a positive mentoring relationship. It acts as a form of personal development for the mentee, improving their emotional intelligence, communication skills, leadership, and confidence.

As you can see there are myriad ways that you can maintain mentoring momentum in your organisation. With the right type of mentoring, proper planning and strategic promotion, you can ensure your program is built to last.

Find out more about how our mentoring platform can help set you up for success by booking a chat with the team below

Catch up on one of our previous webinars:

Maintaining mentoring momentum webinar
Categories
Advice for Businesses

How to Scale a Mentoring Program

Let’s take a very common scenario:

You have a small but valuable mentoring programme. Participants are engaged, are hitting milestones and having a positive impact on your company. Now you want to emulate this success, but you have a small team, limited resources, and you’re struggling to match enough mentors to mentees. You’re considering their skills, interests, and experiences to ensure the perfect match, all the while dealing with the stress that comes with solving compatibility issues, monitoring success, measuring ROI, and dealing with other projects.

This is similar to the problem Pavilion (formerly Revenue Collective) had. They’d already established mentoring, but hit the “how to scale a mentoring programme” roadblock. They were matching mentors and mentees manually, and it was taking 1 hour to match 3 people. With a small team, how were they going to reach their mentoring programme goals?

In this article we’ll explore the different things you should consider when scaling your mentoring program…

Why you should scale your mentoring program

Let’s say you have a junior employee who is 6 months into a mentoring relationship. Their manager has noticed that they’re more confident, they give more engaging presentations, and communicate more effectively with clients, resulting in higher sales. These results could be replicated among other members of the team.

Scaling your mentoring programme influences your wider business by improving communication and empathy between teams. It improves mental health outcomes by decreasing isolation, improving retention, and inspires employees to reach new goals and participate in company culture. Mentoring helps to establish a company culture that shows you care about investing in employee development and wellbeing.

And don’t forget the stats: Mentors are 6x times and mentees are 5x more likely to get promoted. 87% of both mentors and mentees develop confidence, and feel empowered by their mentoring relationship. On top of this, 81% of those with mentors go on to mentor others, and so the more people you can impact via mentoring relationships, the wider it will naturally scale.

So how do you scale a mentoring program?

Taking a successful program and increasing its scope is not always as straightforward as it sounds. Depending on staff resources and budget, many teams struggle to grow their programs beyond small groups. However, it can be done.

Consider the following steps to scale your mentoring programs and begin to build a mentoring culture.‍

1. Establish or reinforce your program goals

Every successful mentoring program has a clearly defined objective. In order to scale your program, you need to know what you’re aiming to do and what success looks like.

LVMH set out a goal to reach 50/50 gender balance in key positions by 2020. They knew that partnering women with senior mentors would help them achieve this goal and reinforce their company culture of equality and inclusion. By using a mentoring platform to scale their mentoring program, they were able to reach a wider number of participants in a shorter period of time.

Creating or reassessing your program goals forces you to identify which aspects of scaling you’re struggling with, and how to best improve them.

For example:

  • Onboarding – You want to guide new employees through the new workplace and give them another, trusted point of contact.
  • Improving your talent pipeline –  You want to decrease money spent on hiring by promoting internally.
  • Women in leadership  – You want to reach a 50/50 gender balance in key positions.

It’s always worth revisiting the goals behind your programs before you try and scale them further. Have the previous programs been successful against the goals outlined? Is there anything that needs to be changed before attempting to run the program at scale?

2. Identify potential mentors 

As your program grows, you can track the skills most sought by mentees to help you recruit more mentors with those skillsets. This will help you spot trends and identify any skills gaps within your workforce. You can do this manually through surveys, or you can collect the data automatically using a platform such as Guider.

When looking to scale your mentoring program, you will also need to re-engage a fresh batch of mentors. You could run an internal campaign to get previous mentees to give back and become mentors. As always, emphasise the fact that mentoring benefits mentors also – they can use it to reach their own goals of leadership development, coaching skills, and communication.

Ensure you have a strong pool of mentors (and mentees) ready to join the program once it launches, otherwise it will never scale. This can be a challenge, so make sure you dedicate enough time to recruit before launching. Find more tips on recruiting mentors and mentees here.

3. Use automated matching

As mentioned earlier, while it’s possible to match mentors and mentees manually, it requires a lot of time and energy that small teams can lack. This works fine for small programs, but when you want to impact hundreds of employees, it becomes unmanageable. Manual matching takes significantly longer and can even be subject to personal bias, potentially complicating any goals related to women, LGBTQ+, disability and BAME inclusion.

With automated matching via mentoring software, participants can create their own mentoring account where they fill in details about themselves, their position, their interests and what skills they’re looking to develop. This takes the matching admin away by generating a list of the best mentor matches within your organisation. The mentee then selects which mentor they’d like to contact, encouraging them to be proactive and giving them ownership in creating their own success.

Automated matching saves time, removes bias and diversifies pairs. Using a platform like Guider allows mentees a stake in selecting the most relevant mentor for them from a list of best matches.

Here is a guide for more info on mentoring matching.

Read More: How Mentoring Software Works

4. Provide resources to help mentors & mentees

Successful mentoring as a form of development requires mentors and mentees to dedicate their time. As your mentoring program grows, you’ll find an increasing number of participants struggling to keep up with the program.

By creating a library of resources for each program, you empower participants to seek the help and information they need. Being able to access information easily will save time, so mentees are less likely to put off their next mentoring session due to extra researching tasks.

Put together a library of blogs, white-papers, e-books and videos that are relevant to your program. Mentoring platforms like Guider already host a library of resources which are customisable to include your organisation’s own materials. As the name suggests, Guider guides participants through the relationship by delivering the resources in a flow throughout the mentoring journey, rather than all at once at the beginning.

“We’ve not had to run any internal mentoring training sessions to get people signed up or engaging with mentoring since using Guider. Having everything in one place, including a customisable learning library, has made mentoring training self-serve and more accessible.”  Naomi Boachie-Ansah, Senior Digital Learning & Platforms Advisor, Clyde & Co.

Mentoring is a gradual process, so a steady flow of information keeps the programme moving at a steady pace. Read more about Clyde & Co’s mentoring success here.

5. Track outcomes

Finally, track the progress and outcomes of each mentoring relationship and individual. Have they hit their goals? What did they struggle with? What did they enjoy the most?

A final survey at the end of their mentoring program will allow you to take on feedback and adapt plans for future participants. We’ve put together an e-book on the ROI of Mentoring, to help you plan, measure and report the impact of mentoring on your business.‍

Scale a mentoring program

In the end, Pavilion were able to scale their mentoring program, increase their success rate, and decrease the time spent by their small member success team. A solid scaling plan increases the engagement rate of your mentoring program, and sets the tone for a supportive, inclusive and empathetic company culture.

Interested to see how we can support you? Book a demo now.

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Customer Stories

Harnessing the Power of Our People: Mentoring at Clyde & Co

Following the events of 2020, which shook the world and transformed the way we work, communication and human connection became more important to organisations than ever.

From managing distributed workforces, to virtually onboarding new hires, to supporting diverse talent – businesses have faced a number of challenges which primarily revolve around people and personal development. That’s why mentoring, with its human-centric approach, is a powerful and multifaceted solution for organisations.

This focus on people and human connection is exactly what drives Clyde & Co’s global mentoring initiative…

Launched in 2018, the global mentoring initiative was established to encourage mentoring across the business. With offices in over 50 cities on 6 continents, there was a huge opportunity to connect Clyde & Co partners and staff through mentoring relationships.

“We think it’s really important that everyone has the opportunity to be part of Clyde & Co’s global mentoring initiative. It doesn’t matter where your office is or what your role is…mentoring has something to offer everyone and can play a significant role in supporting you with your personal, professional and career development.” David Wood, Global Head of Learning & Development

As with the start of many mentoring programmes, Clyde & Co had a very manual process to initiate match making, using an internal directory of names, job titles and locations. Individuals were encouraged to reach out to a Mentoring Ambassador for their advice to help facilitate recommendations for matchmaking. This put the onus on the mentee, which was quite intimidating given the seniority of many of the ambassadors. Naturally this limited exposure to potential mentors, making it inaccessible for certain people, which contrasted with the firm’s vision for mentoring. Embracing technology to enhance the user experience and increase the scope, scale and quality of matchmaking was a priority for Clyde & Co to improve and grow their mentoring offering.

“Guider has the potential to transform lives, at scale, one conversation at a time. The platform achieves a great balance of delivering a clear, accessible user experience with technology that underpins and supports the process to enhance what is fundamentally a human story of connection, relationships and experience sharing. Bravo! Guy Wilkins, Senior Digital Learning & Platforms Manager

Guider began working with Clyde & Co in early 2021 to help scale the mentoring programme and allow the benefits to be felt globally. This also fed into Clyde’s inclusion goals, by giving everyone equal opportunity to a mentor and making it more accessible.

We are now connecting more people than ever, regardless of their job role, seniority, department or location. There was a common misconception in the past around mentors needing to be a partner or at a senior  level, which was something Clyde & Co were keen to challenge, as a reminder that we can all learn from each other.

“I used Guider to find a mentor within the firm and have been very pleased so far. My mentor is someone I would never have found through other means.” Mentee

The surprise, and unexpected value, from the mentoring matches has been a recurring theme since launching the programme through Guider in March, hopefully creating a shift in mindset around who qualifies as a mentor. Exposure to new and different perspectives is one of the most valuable outcomes of mentoring, and can improve empathy, self-awareness, and cultural competence within a workforce. When using mentoring software to match mentors and mentees, you get pairs that would never have been put together if it was done by a programme lead, or by the individuals.

A woman in headphones speaks on a video call on her laptop.

As well as encouraging a more inclusive company culture, mentoring is supporting individuals in their career development across the firm. Skills such as career development, building client relationships, self confidence and networking are the most highly sought after skills within mentoring relationships, as they rely less on technical training, but can be developed through sharing knowledge, wisdom and experiences with another person.

“Using Guider to find a Mentor and then working with my Mentor (broadly on a monthly basis) has already helped me immensely in my career, particularly in goal setting and career planning.” Emma Hughes, Senior Associate

Another area of mentoring Guider has supported Clyde & Co with is preparing and guiding participants through their relationships. In the past, mentorship training would happen all in one go at the onset of the programme, meaning that the content was front loaded and was not always timely. Now, training and resources are delivered to users in the flow of their mentoring journey, increasing engagement and helping maintain momentum. 

“We’ve not had to run any internal mentoring training sessions to get people signed up or engaging with mentoring since using Guider. Having everything in one place, including a customisable learning library, has made mentoring training self-serve and more accessible.”  Naomi Boachie-Ansah, Senior Digital Learning & Platforms Advisor

This naturally frees up a lot of time for the programme managers, particularly as the self-service nature of using Guider means they’re not having to chase people to understand how relationships are progressing. Guider has provided Clyde & Co with visibility over all the connections taking place within the firm, data which was not previously captured. These HR metrics make mentoring more tangible from a business perspective, allowing Clyde’s to use the mentor and mentee skills data and broader relationship metrics to support other development goals or L&D content requirements.

Clyde & Co are just at the beginning of their mentoring mission, with the goal for it to be a core part of the firm’s aspiration to build a learning and growth culture. Every new joiner will have the opportunity to connect with a mentor, and there are plans to expand the programme to include reverse mentoring to support diversity and inclusion efforts further.

A grey haired woman smiles while talking to a man.

“I find this mentoring process incredibly helpful and fun, and I always look forward to our next session right when we finish one. It is amazing to have a plethora of choices of mentors who are committed to helping you grow and advance in your career!” Mentee

With the belief that everyone should have access to and reap the benefits of mentoring, no matter your background or job title, Clyde & Co are leading their industry forward by harnessing the power of their people. Guider are delighted to be supporting them in their vision for a more connected, inclusive, and truly global firm.