Mentoring programs

How To Pair Mentors and Mentees?

Here are the key things to keep in mind when trying to match up mentors and mentees in a workplace mentoring program.

Ryan Carruthers

Published on 

June 7, 2021

Updated on 

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Mentorships can either succeed or fail based on the relationship between participants. Creating compatible mentoring matches is one of the biggest challenges of managing a workplace mentoring program. To get it right, you’ll need to know what makes a good match, how to cultivate the relationship, and how mentoring software can make all of this easier.

How do you match a mentor with their mentee?

There are different ways to make a mentor match, and whatever method you decide to use, it must align with business goals and objectives for the program. Whether you opt to allow self-matching, where a mentee selects their own mentor, an administration-led pairing, where the mentoring program administrator makes the match or a combination of both, there are some things to keep in mind when matching mentors and mentees, such as:

  • Give participants the opportunity to have a say in the process. Perhaps a mentee could select their match from a handful of potential mentors.
  • Be clear about your matching methods so that participants understand the process.
  • Checking in occasionally after the pairing has been made to see how the mentorship is going for participants.
  • If the match is not successful, have a simple process that allows participants to end the mentorship.

Whatever matching style fits your program, always begin with the registration process. Have potential participants fill in a standard questionnaire or online form through your mentoring software portal. The information collected will be vital to the pairing process.

What can a mentor expect from a mentee?

A good mentoring match depends on many different things, including compatibility and the characteristics of the participants. For example, a good mentee should:

  • Be willing to learn and grow but also to teach or share their knowledge with mentors in return.
  • Have an open mind and behave respectfully towards their mentor.
  • Build trust with their mentor so that they both feel comfortable with each other.
  • Cultivate a positive experience by being reliable, hard-working, and show initiative.

Making the most of a mentoring opportunity always starts with the approach a mentee takes. However, good pairs take time, patience, and commitment.

How do you start a mentoring relationship?

Cultivating a good relationship between a mentor and mentee is key to creating a positive experience and helping them both develop the skill sets they want to. Program administrators can help get things started by being proactive, such as:

  • Establishing an open communication policy
  • Setting clear expectations and boundaries
  • Create a standard of honesty among participants
  • Encourage active participation
  • Plan some ice breaker activities
  • Invite participants to prepare questions to ask during meetings

What are the qualities of a great mentor?

Mentors can have a significant impact on the life and career of their mentees. To help make the matching process as positive as possible, judge mentors on the following criteria:

  • Positive approach- Mentors should also be good role models. They should be professionals that act with integrity at all times.
  • Commitment - A mentor should be willing to share their knowledge and expertise with their mentee.
  • A life-long learner - Individuals that regularly set and meet professional and personal goals make excellent mentors.
  • Enthusiastic - A person that loves what they do will be enthusiastic about sharing their passion with others.
  • Good communication - Mentors will need to offer guidance and feedback to mentees. Look for an individual who can do this with empathy and wisdom.

Depending on your company’s objectives for its mentoring program, you may also want to look for individuals with a unique set of skills. For example, if you’ll be offering a reverse mentoring program, you’ll want a mentor with above-average tech skills with specific software for your industry.

Here's how mentees can spot a great mentor.
Mentees should look for these qualities in their mentors.

What are the most important attributes of a successful mentorship?

While each mentorship may develop differently and have different goals, there are some crucial attributes that all successful mentorships have in common, such as:

  • Relationship goals - Participants should communicate early on what they hope to accomplish in the mentorship. Alternatively, the program administrator can set out some goals for the program, such as skill development for the mentee or succession planning. Both mentors and mentees can also share their own plans for their time together.
  • Mentee-focused - A mentorship needs to focus on the development of the mentee. A mentee needs to take the initiative to plan out their goals, ask their mentor thoughtful questions, and drive the discussion.
  • Scheduled - Participants need to have the time to commit to meetings. Mentorship will not produce results if meetings aren’t regularly rescheduled.
  • Built on listening - Mentees should be encouraged to listen to their mentor actively. Nothing will be gained if a mentee spends too much time talking and not enough time hearing what advice is being offered.
Example screenshot of Together's pairing report
Togethers matching algorithm makes pairing mentors and mentees easy.

Together's mentor matching algorithm

Mentor pairing can take up a significant amount of time and energy for a program administrator. Depending on how many participants are registered in your workplace mentoring program, manually matching may not be feasible. It may also hinder the ability to make the best pairings. Developing a pairing process that is streamlined and efficient will enable you to quickly match mentors and mentees.

Using Together mentoring software allows you to simplify the pairing process letting your program objectives be the guide. Through Together, participants can register and be matched seamlessly. You’ll also be able to adjust the algorithm at any time, which enables you to get the most from your mentoring software. It is helpful if the goals of your program change or you add extra mentoring programs to your workplace.

Mentor matching with software also offers different methods of pairing, such as mentee-led, administrative-led or even software-led. Together offers you the flexibility you need to run a best practice workplace mentoring program with the control you want over the matching process.

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