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6 Challenges of Mentoring
If you’ve considered implementing a mentoring program for your organization, you are on the right track for creating a positive company culture. Mentoring programs can bring many benefits to an organization and its mentors and mentees but implementing a program may come with a few challenges. Fortunately, there are solutions for many of the obstacles that your organization will face when planning and implementing your mentoring program.
Here are 6 common challenges of mentoring that your organization may face:
1. Motivated Mentors
There are challenges related specifically to mentors. One of the most common challenges is getting the right number of mentors to participate in the program. While that challenge is important, we think the quality of the mentors is just as important. Low-quality mentors are not motivated to help their mentee succeed, and will be less effective and less engaged. This results in a poor experience for your mentees and an unsuccessful mentoring relationship.
Choosing the right mentors at the beginning of your program is important, but it doesn't end there. You must also provide them mentor training and communicate with them throughout the relationship. Check-in emails and program updates should be sent regularly. A great way to manage this communication is through mentoring software.
2. Goal Setting for Mentees
Unfortunately, mentees don’t always know what they want from their mentoring relationship. It’s important to help them set goals at the beginning. To do this, you will need to communicate the organization’s objectives, supply the necessary tools, and provide continuous training. You also want to avoid this challenge by encouraging open communication between your mentoring participants to keep goals current and relevant.
Teach your mentees how to set SMART goals and use mentoring software to help them track the goals. This allows the participants and the admins to watch the advancement of the mentee, and it keeps the mentee accountable for goal achievement. Their improvements can also be shared with their manager, keeping them in the loop about important developments.
3. Effective Matching
Matching should be at the top of your mentoring program priority list. Some mentees may only look at the mentor’s title or even choose their friends as a match. This is why it’s an admins responsibility to make sure that the right matches are being made. It's important to cover the matching process during mentee training and encourage them to be open to new faces.
A great way to avoid potential bad matches is by presenting your mentees with the right mentor options. Mentoring software uses an algorithm to make sure that the right mentor is presented to the mentee. This will increase the likelihood of a successful match taking place, and a successful relationship being formed. Overcoming this challenge is crucial to the success of your mentoring program.
4. Open Feedback
One of the main challenges specific to your mentees is providing open feedback. It isn’t uncommon for mentees to be guarded, especially when their mentor is a leader in the organization. They may also be worried about making a good impression or being completely open about how the mentoring relationship is going.
Help mentees overcome their internal challenges by providing guidance on how they can remain confident while working with their mentor. Mentoring software can also help your participants provide feedback to each other and for your program overall.
5. Providing Structure
We’ve covered this in several articles, which proves just how important it really is. However, providing structure is a challenge of mentoring programs for program administrators. Inexperienced or unsure admins may have even more difficulty. But providing support and continuous communication for your participants is crucial to the success of any mentoring program.
Admins can achieve this through continuous training and check-ins. It’s also helpful to create a communications plan so this isn’t forgotten. Again, your mentoring software can help you automate emails and maintain conversations with all of your participants.
6. Tracking Outcomes
If you’ve followed our 5 steps to maintaining a successful mentoring program, you set your business objectives at the beginning. The challenge can be found in tracking the objectives and reporting the outcomes. Reaching your business objectives proves the worth of your program and allows you to continue operation.
You can track outcomes with your mentoring software and create reports that help you to measure the success of your program. These reports compare your outcomes to your objectives, showing the worth and also possibly highlighting places for improvement in your program.
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