People get a bit fixated on the process of matching mentors and mentees to create partnerships. They can get anxious about it because they want each and every match to be as close to perfect as possible and they don't want the partnership to fail. In our experience, provided some basic principles are followed, matching can be quite a straightforward process, and without a huge amount of hand-wringing, can achieve a very high rate of success. So, what are the principles?
1. Establish some basic preferences
These preferences should be the most critical things likely to impact on the productivity of the partnership, and may be different for different mentoring contexts. For example, allowing the mentees (and mentors) the option to state a preference about aspects of background, experience, skills, geographical location, availability and so on, may be fundamental.
These need to be thought through and the most important used to filter the possible matches. This is made easy by using SUMAC®’s bulk matching functionality – a quick and simple way to match and make partnerships at scale.
Once the filtering through 'preferences' has been done, then look at the more qualitative aspects of what the mentee is looking for, what they want to achieve during their mentoring partnership, and the background of the mentor.
2. Use judgement
A judgement is required at this stage and the chosen mentor may not always be the one who looks best on paper. Often the statement people make about themselves, their interests, their experience and what they think they can bring to the process are revealing about touch points and commonalities.
3. The mentee makes the final decision
Once a potential mentor has been identified, the next critical factor is that the mentee is informed about the proposed mentor and makes the final decision. The mentee is the person in the best position to determine how comfortable they will be with a particular mentor and to whether that mentor has the right experience and background to support them. If the mentee decides to go ahead at this point, then a very high percentage of partnerships will be successful and productive - in our experience 95%+.
4. It’s all about the chemistry
All partnerships are different, so once a match has been made, the relationship between the partners may range from formal, professional and business-like, to informal and friendly. Some mentoring partners genuinely like each other and become long term friends and even collaborators. Others work through the process and part ways at the end.
Regardless of the chemistry between the partners, the vast majority of partnerships created in this way will be productive at some level, will produce positive outcomes, and will be judged by the mentee to have been a worthwhile experience.
Want to find out more about how SUMAC can help your organisation create productive partnerships. Contact us today for your free demo.