Blog


Everything you need to know about the #powerofmentoring, powered by MentorCloud. 

Comment

Web Worthy: A Weekly Mentoring Roundup (June 26 - July 2)

MentorCloud's Web Worthy series is a curated list of the best mentoring articles and stories from the past week. Check in every Thursday for inspiration, guidance, and practical advice on everything related to mentoring! 

The Takeaway: 

  • Corporate diversity conference promotes mentoring by Christian Morrow via New Pittsburgh Courier of Real Times Media
    • “ ‘But it goes beyond that, beyond "the illusion of inclusion,"' said Castleberry-Singleton. 'It’s the difference between mentorship and sponsorship—that means you have skin in the game. It takes a conscious personal commitment from everyone.’ “
  •  Antrim businesses can ‘Ask’ for mentoring via Antrim Times
    • “ ‘My mentor was able to give tips and advice to progress my skills and gave me the confidence to give things a go with support. The recommendations and advice were excellent.’ “
  • SWAZILAND TOURISM GETS A LITTLE HELP FROM THE GUARDIAN by Nokwanda Diamini-Masuku via Swazi Observer
    • “Today, smart organisations are realising that a workplace mentoring program can serve the entire employee lifecycle.”
  •  Professional women share how to leverage mentoring relationships via Tulsa Business & Legal News
    • “According to a 2011 LinkedIn Study, 82 percent of women agree on the importance of having a mentor, but 20 percent of women have never leveraged these relationships.”
  • Talent Management Mentoring in Precarious Relationships by Marshall Goldsmith via Talent Management Magazine
    • “Mentoring in precarious relationships offers unique rewards and challenges. The secret to success lies in taking what is a unique relationship and managing the exchange of wisdom so it maintains and honors equality.”

Comment

Comment

Web Worthy: A Weekly Mentoring Roundup (June 19 - 25)

MentorCloud's Web Worthy series is a curated list of the best mentoring articles and stories from the past week. Check in every Thursday for inspiration, guidance, and practical advice on everything related to mentoring! 

The Takeaway: 

Comment

Comment

Web Worthy: A Weekly Mentoring Roundup (June 12 - 18)

MentorCloud's Web Worthy series is a curated list of the best mentoring articles and stories from the past week. Check in every Thursday for inspiration, guidance, and practical advice on everything related to mentoring! 

The Takeaway: 

  • What 'Star Wars' can teach you about the importance of mentorship by Erin Ganju via Fortune Magazine 
    • “…it is essential for female leaders to offer guidance to promising young women and girls on paths that traditionally have been closed to them.”
  • For women in computer science, a little mentoring goes a long way by Jeb Sharp via Public Radio International (PRI) 
    • “Without having mentors at an authoritative level saying, ‘You deserve this sort of experience; you should apply for this program, because you’re strong enough; those are the sorts of things I wouldn’t necessarily have done without a strong mentoring voice to push me.”
  • Resource Management: Organisations salvage bad hiring calls through training, mentoring via The Economic Times
    • “At Deloitte, managers are assigned to help fresh recruits navigate the career traps of under-performance. Career mentors are also provided for insights into the industry and work functions.”
  • Mentoring promoted by Greg Ellis via Illawarra Mercury
    • “Ms. Wren spoke of the recognition as a leader that came with being a mentor, the exposure to prospective young leaders, ideas and approaches and the opportunity it gave to reflect on your own goals and practices.”
  • Hey Scientist, Who Are You Mentoring this Summer?  by Shari Werb via Smithsonian Magazine
    • “Young people need personal connections and experiences that help them turn an interest in math or biology into a lifetime of fulfilling and rewarding work.”

Comment

Comment

Web Worthy: A Weekly Mentoring Roundup (June 5 - 11)

MentorCloud's Web Worthy series is a curated list of the best mentoring articles and stories from the past week. Check in every Thursday for inspiration, guidance, and practical advice on everything related to mentoring! 

The Takeaway: 

  • Before They Go: Mentoring and the Exiting Employee by Randy Emelo via ATD (Association for Talent Development) 
    • “Trust me, you want to capture what these people know before they leave. If employers explicitly give these exiting workers permission to use their time giving back in this way, they will have ample opportunity to share what they know with their colleagues.”
  • In a first, Bengaluru startups on Airbus radar for mentoring business ideas under BizLabs  by Anirban Chowdhury via Economic Times 
    • “The initiative is part of Airbus' business accelerator programme called BizLabs, under which the company will select business ideas from across the world and mentor companies that are giving them. Till now, it has only scouted for ideas within the group. The only level where it has engaged with other companies is for supply of plane parts or technology.”
  • Good mentors come in many forms via The Boston Globe
    • “To exploit your opportunities to grow and move ahead in work and life, the best bet will always be to take matters into your own hands and seek out the people who can help you.”
  • Los Angeles-Orange County area is 4th in the nation for business startups, survey shows by Lauren Williams via The Orange County Register
    • “Alexander attributes the region’s strength in creating new businesses to a recent infusion of capital and business-to-business mentorship – two key ingredients in fostering a strong startup culture.”
  • 10 startups get seed money, mentoring from Techstars in Detroit by Tom Henderson via Crain’s Detroit Business
    • “In addition to mentoring, the companies get help revising their business plans, coaching on how to make elevator pitches for further funding and executive recruiting.”

Comment

Comment

7 Trends in Employee Engagement and What Role Mentoring Plays

Dollarphotoclub_79924598.jpg

Happy Monday! Today we welcome guest blogger, leadership coach, and employee engagement expert Luis Velasquez to share his knowledge on the importance of mentoring.


Employee engagement is a hot topic in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace. Workforces are more fluid, which means companies are having a harder time attracting and retaining talented employees. Mentoring is one method that can tip the scales on employee engagement by fostering lasting relationships among employees, promoting career development, and facilitating the transfer of knowledge within a company. These principles are not a new concept though; in a 2005 report, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) identified several trends that are likely to have a significant impact on employee engagement. Listed below are the seven trends identified in the report and how mentoring addresses each one of them.

Trend #1: Employee-employer relationship evolving/changing INto partnerships.  

How mentoring can help: Companies can take advantage of growing partnerships in the workplace by providing and encouraging mentor-mentee relationships. As employees turn to their mentors for advice, they make fewer mistakes on the job, cutting losses to the employer. Employees in mentoring relationships tend to have greater job satisfaction as well, which can mean a more positive work environment and a higher level of employee engagement.

Trend #2: Increased demand for work/life balance.  

How mentoring can help: Mentors are invaluable resources to employees struggling to balance demanding careers with quality of life. They can offer perspective and suggest strategies derived from their own struggles. Work-life balance is of course a highly personal issue, and one person’s solution may not be the same as another’s. But by offering their support and guidance, mentors can inspire mentees to create their own balance, thus allowing them to become more efficient with their time and less bogged down by stress. A fulfilling career balanced with quality of life increases productivity and employee engagement. 

Trend #3: HR’s greater role in promoting the link between employee performance and its impact on business goals.  

How mentoring can help: Mentoring promotes higher performance, and a high-performing workforce leads directly to increased achievement of company goals. On a managerial level, statistics show that mentoring can increase managerial productivity by 88% when managers are involved in a corporate mentorship program, as compared to only a 24% increase when managers received only training but no mentorship. (Source - ASTD). You can’t argue with sound metrics. HR has a vested interest in using mentoring to leverage the connection between employee performance and business goals.

Trend #4: Increasing focus on selective retention for keeping mission-critical talent.  

How mentoring can help: Employee retention is one of the biggest challenges facing companies today. Failure to build employee loyalty amongst top performers can become a ticking time bomb as external and internal forces work to pry your most valued resources loose. Research into the positive impact of mentoring on employee retention is consistent internationally. Mentoring fosters important working relationships and gives employees a sense of belonging, both important factors that motivate employees to stay with a company. This feeling of belonging promotes an emotional connection with the company, which in turn increases employee engagement.  

Trend #5: Work intensification as employers increase productivity with fewer employees and resources.  

How mentoring can help: Mentoring provides for the transfer and exchange of knowledge between mentor and mentee, spreading resources across the company and employees, so no expertise is wasted. The relationship is symbiotic, with both mentors and mentees learning from each other. This ultimately increases productivity, since you are no longer wasting resources on managing turnover. Instead, you are matching both incoming and existing employees with effective mentors who can better position them for success. The second component of employee engagement is increasing discretionary effort, or the amount of effort an employee chooses to give above and beyond what is required of him/her. Acquiring knowledge through mentoring and applying that knowledge to their current job will not only increase employee output, but will also increase their level of discretionary effort.

Trend #6: Acquiring and keeping key talent reemerging as top issues of concern.

How mentoring can help: In 2006, Sun Microsystems revealed that corporate mentors were promoted six times more often than those not in the corporate mentorship program, while mentees were promoted five times more than their non-mentored counterparts (source). With smart and talent employees being drawn in all different directions, a structured mentoring program aimed at employee development is something that companies can use to encourage employees to stick around. The promise of expert counsel, further career development, and upward movement within the company will motivate employees to put forth their best effort, and as a result will improve both employee retention and engagement.

Trend #7: Decline in traditional communication methods and increase in cyber communication.  

How mentoring can help: With virtual communication becoming more and more prevalent, the transition from traditional, face-to-face mentoring to online mentoring is a natural progression. MentorCloud’s cloud-based solution breaks down traditional geographic barriers and brings subject-matter experts, mentors, mentees, and peers from around the globe closer than they’ve ever been before. Mentees can now enter a mentoring relationship with the confidence that they are being matched with top experts in their chosen field, especially suited for helping them reach their career goals.  

It’s clear that mentoring is a logical solution to all seven trends impacting the future of employee engagement. Employees who have the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals are much more likely to take a deeper interest in their own development, and in turn, the contributions they make to their company. If you want to drive employee engagement within your organization, start building a strong mentoring program that matches mentors and mentees, experts and learners, and watch the transformation unfold. 


Luis Velasquez is a leadership coach, employee engagement expert, and management trainer. Go to http://www.velasconsulting.com to learn more about Luis and how you can take success to the next level. 

Comment

Comment

Web Worthy: This Week's Mentoring Roundup Series

MentorCloud's Web Worthy series is a curated list of the best mentoring articles and stories from the past week. Check in every Thursday for inspiration, guidance, and practical advice on everything related to mentoring! 

The Takeaway: 

How a mentor helps you find the better version of yourself by Stacia Pierce via Fortune

  • "A good mentor will give you guidance, but also hold you accountable for your successes and failures. Accountability is the best inspiration because it keeps you working at a higher level–you won’t want to disappoint yourself or your mentor."

Life After Mentorship by Kate Everson via Chief Learning Officer

  • "Participants in mentorships have to recognize when the relationship is dying and transition smoothly into its afterlife. Not only does this help mentors and mentees move on to other experiences, but it also keeps an organization from fostering dependent employees."

51 Set to Graduate from Judge Judy's Her Honor Mentoring Program by Alfred Branch via White Plains Patch

  • “ 'It is my profound wish that having had the experience of Her Honor Mentoring will help these fine young women become the heroes of their own stories,' ” said Judge Sheindlin in a statement."

Mentoring for Productivity by Randy Emelo via Association for Talent Development

  • "Savvy organizations have started using mentoring as a productivity tool, going well beyond its traditional role as a personal development tool geared toward career moves and career advancement."

Why Boomers Make The Best Mentors by John Tarnoff via Huffington Post The Blog

  • "We've seen success work from many angles, so our wisdom helps us tailor our mentorship in the most appropriate and effective way, ensuring a more resonant and enduring experience for our mentee."

 

Comment

Comment

Need Fulfillment: Mentorship Where It's Needed Most

Everyone can benefit from a mentor's guidance, no matter what role they hold at work. A mentor's goal is to help mentees get from where they are to where they want to be, and this applies to all stages of the career path. That being said, there are a few specific scenarios in which a mentor would have the most positive impact on a mentee's happiness and success.

First Job

Young, would-be professionals just starting out in business are sometimes the best-suited candidates for mentorship. Their minds are fresh and eager to learn. They’re full of ideas about what they want to do, skills and knowledge acquired from their studies, and a sturdy enthusiasm to make a name for themselves. A mentor paired with one of these promising individuals is the ultimate guide. Their years spent gaining knowledge and fine-tuning their careers is a special gift to someone trying to learn the ropes and gain some insight about which direction their career will go.

New Company

Like brand new employees in many ways, these individuals are trying to find their way. They may be plagued by uncertainty and, in the beginning, are just trying to find their place in the company and fit in among their new colleagues. An effective mentor, especially one from within the company, can ease the transition for someone in this scenario. They already know the hierarchy within the company, the lines of communication, and who is responsible for what. Mentors can introduce policies and procedures to new employees, but even more than that, they can help them find a path to advancement.

Premature Promotion

Despite all good intentions, some employees are promoted before they are ready. They may have all the superior skills necessary to master their current roles, but lack the finesse an upward transition requires. If they’re advanced to management without any management skills, they may flounder. Here is where a mentor can serve as a confidant and much-needed source of support. They can show the employee how to apply their strengths to the demands of a new position and how to improve on their weaknesses. They can also provide insight on challenges they faced in similar transitions and give examples of how they were successful.

At-Risk Employee

There’s no question that companies of all sizes and cultures are having a hard time keeping employees engaged. It’s becoming more and more common for individuals to have multiple employers listed on their resumes, their work history serving as a virtual roadmap of discontent. Employees don’t always know what they’re looking for; they just know they aren’t finding it in their current role, so they start seeking fulfillment elsewhere. Mentors can help these employees pinpoint what they’re looking for in a job and employer, as well as help them determine how they might find those within their current company. They can connect them with the right people who can get them the training they need to get to where they want to be. 

If you fit into any of these scenarios, or you have employees who do, think about seeking mentorship. They're the ones best suited to help you overcome barriers and realize your career goals. 

If this post resonated with you, check with your organization to see whether you are part of the MentorCloud network. If not, sign up for a demo here! Our vision is to create a mentoring planet in which true equality is achieved and hard work is rewarded, but it's only possible with your participation.

Comment

Comment

MentorCloud Powers MentorConnect at TiEcon 2015

Expands Footprint to 61 TiE Chapters in 18 Countries

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 05/28/15 -- MentorCloud, the leader in online mentoring, today announced that its partnership with the MentorConnect program at TieCon 2015 (that took place in Santa Clara Convention Center on May 15th and 16th) was a huge success. "With 500 live mentoring sessions on both days combined, this is the largest mentoring event in TiE's 21-year history," said Prakash Narayan, Chair of TiE MentorConnect. "We have had huge success with the MentorCloud platform, that saves us precious time year after year to schedule hundreds of meetings between mentors and entrepreneurs attending this largest annual conference for entrepreneurs," Prakash added.

TiEcon attracts a stellar spectrum of incredible people from successful entrepreneurs to corporate executives to venture capitalists from all over the world who are usually not easily accessible to entrepreneurs. The MentorConnect program at TiEcon makes that access possible using the MentorCloud platform, and directly connects TiEcon attendees to a Mentor of their choice in a structured, scalable manner. "Over the last few years, MentorConnect has turned out to be one of the key draws of TiEcon. MentorConnect and TiE50 are the two gems of TiEcon. To me TiEcon is THE premier ensemble of Talent, Industriousness and Entrepreneurism on an annual basis at a global scale. It's a shining gem in itself," said Sarvajna Dwivedi, Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer of Pearl Therapeutics, one of the Mentors that participated in the event.

"Mentoring has been the epicenter of TiE's mission in all our chapters in 61 cities and 18 countries. MentorCloud has developed a great track record in enabling mentoring with great results in Silicon Valley and Hong Kong. I am very excited to now roll out MentorCloud across our entire network. Now mentees across the world can benefit tremendously and help us fulfill our mission to foster entrepreneurship globally," shared Al Kapoor, Chairman of TiE Board and President of Millennium Ventures Group along with Bridgett Comer, Executive Director of TiE Global.

MentorCloud is also announcing the general availability of its 2.0 next generation platform for medium-sized to Fortune 50 companies and entrepreneur networks. "MentorCloud 2.0 platform is being received extremely well by our global customers, and we are super excited by our growing partnership with an organization of global repute like TiE," said Dr. Ravi Gundlapalli, CEO of MentorCloud.

Supporting Resources

For more information, check out our website at www.MentorCloud.com, or reach us on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

About MentorCloud®

MentorCloud is a cloud-based social learning and mentoring platform for medium-sized to Fortune 50 companies, and entrepreneur networks. MentorCloud's easy-to-use interface allows employees and entrepreneurs to share/learn insights from one another, establish mentoring relationships and in the process accelerate their learning and career growth. Dashboards and big data analytics allow business leaders to quickly identify rising stars and high-potentials in their organizations.

With clients in 7 countries, MentorCloud has been featured in ForbesForbes India, World Demographic Forum in Switzerland, World Bank / Kauffman Foundation publication, and also acknowledged by former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Please may visithttp://www.mentorcloud.com to learn more or watch this 4-min interview of our founder sharing MentorCloud's vision. If you are looking to boost employee learning, productivity, engagement and retention, then drop us a note to schedule a personalized demo.

Embedded Video Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4a8pFVGS_w

Comment

Comment

Web Worthy: A Weekly Mentoring Roundup (May 22 - 28)

MentorCloud's Web-Worthy series is a curated list of the best mentoring articles and stories from the past week. Check in every Thursday for inspiration, guidance, and practical advice on everything related to mentoring! 

The Takeaway:  

  • The Sherpa Approach to Mentoring by Leo Lax via Entrepreneur 
    • "Entrepreneurs live in an environment with thousands of goals and opportunities, and a thousand more different ways to get there. The value of a mentor is to provide focus, help determine which path will likely lead to success and hand over the reins for implementation."
  • Mentor Others for Your Own Professional Development by Margaret Ruvoldt via Huffington Post
    • "Mentoring requires a more personal connection and a willingness to share your own journey. To have effective mentoring conversations, you must have a higher level of self-awareness and self-reflection. Your professional journey is a kind of blueprint for those you mentor. In order to guide them, you have to have a deep understanding of how you got to where you are, be purposeful in thinking about your own skills and knowledge."

  • Why this CEO believes in multiple mentors by Caroyn Rodz via Fortune
    • "Each individualcontributes a unique perspective based on their ownexperiences, and together they are my sounding board when faced with difficult and important decisions. In return, I support them in their endeavors and share my expertise when needed. Remember: a mentorship will only be beneficial if both (or all) parties areequally invested in the relationship."
  • Top 10 Qualities of a Good Mentor by Penny Loretto via About Careers 
    • "8. Sets and meets ongoing personal and professional goals.
      A good mentor continually sets a good example by showing how his/her personal habits are reflected by personal and professional goals and overall personal success."

  • Business Mentoring Matters: How to Prepare for Your Meeting With Your Mentor via Management Mentors
    • "Asking a person to consider avoids their need to respond yes or no immediately––which makes it more likely they may say yes. Also, clearly stating the time commitment you are requesting is important. After all, timing is an important issue to consider. Not only WHEN to ask someone to be your mentor, but HOW MUCH time you are asking them to invest in you."

Comment

Comment

Q&A: The Art of Inquiry in Mentoring

Dollarphotoclub_77601170.jpg

A successful mentoring program is built on relationship, and the life vein of any relationship is communication. You can’t build trust, collaborate on goals, measure progress, or transfer knowledge—all important elements of a strong mentoring relationship—without maintaining strong and effective communication.

In Tune in: The Importance of Listening in Mentoring, we explained how listening, an important element of communication, is an essential quality in a good mentor. But there is another element of good communication that is even more important than listening, and that is the ability to ask the right questions.

The right question can mean the difference between clarity and confusion. Both mentors and mentees can benefit equally from this skill. With the right questions, mentors can gain a thorough understanding of a mentee's current skillset, what they hope to gain from the mentorship, and what fears or doubts might be holding them back.

In turn, mentees can use intelligently developed questions to help them understand a mentor’s background and how it relates to their role as a mentor, the mentor’s expectations, and how their mentor defines success. All of these things are key ingredients to a mentorship that starts out strong and will stand the test of time.

There are many different question types and techniques, but some of them are especially suited for a mentoring relationship:

Open vs. Closed Questions

Open and closed questions are similar in the sense that both methods are designed to elicit a specific type of answer. Open questions are geared toward developing conversation. They aim for long, detailed answers that deliver lots of information. Closed questions, on the other hand, elicit short answers designed to communicate facts.

Example (Open Question): What are your primary career goals?

Example (Closed Question): How many mentees have you had in your career?

Structured Questions

Structured questions are designed to inform the respondent of the reasoning behind a set of questions. This creates the setting for an open Q&A geared toward developing comfortable dialogue with the respondent.

Example: In order for us to set expectations for the mentorship, I’ll need to ask you a few questions about your goals and intentions.

Utilize Wait-time, or Silence

A strategically placed pause or extended silence between questions creates space in a Q&A session. This method is used for emphasis as well as to draw out a response. Pausing before or after a question or statement also gives the respondent time to evaluate the question being asked and devise a thoughtful answer.

Example: You have the potential to become a leader in your career…Can you tell me the defining characteristics of a good leader?

Socratic Questioning

The great philosopher Socrates was famous for using questions to promote learning. This method of questioning is designed to encourage respondents to go deeper by communicating the thought process behind their answers. Respondents are asked to analyze their answers and explain why they have a certain thought or feel a certain way. The purpose is to gain a thorough understanding of their goals.

Example: What is your idea of success? Can you explain what this definition of success means to you?

Questioning to Elicit Participation

This method of questioning is especially suited for group mentoring sessions. In a group setting, it’s all too easy for less outspoken individuals to retreat into the crowd. Questions designed to elicit participation aim to draw these individuals out and encourage them to interact with the group. In this way, shy mentees gain just as much from the session as outgoing ones.

Example: What do you look for in a mentor? Turn to your neighbor and explain your answer.  

Managed Responses

Finally, a thoughtful response can be just as important as a question, and it can sometimes yield the information you didn’t gain from the question. In mentoring, there are no “wrong” answers, but there is often a need for further clarification of a respondent’s ideas. Responses can be used for encouragement, validation, redirection, or to provide context.

Example: Your answer is a little vague. Can you say it in a different way?

There are other methods of questioning that may be useful in mentoring, such as probing, rhetorical, or process questioning. Ultimately, it’s up to both participants to decide how best to use questioning to build the relationship and gain the knowledge they need to reach the program goals.  

If this post resonated with you, check with your organization to see whether you are part of the MentorCloud network. If not, sign up for a demo here! Our vision is to create a mentoring planet in which true equality is achieved and hard work is rewarded, but it's only possible with your participation.

Comment