Thank you for your interest in mentoring resources and mentoring success strategies! There is A LOT of great information out there on mentoring and this is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Instead this an evolving list in which I wanted to share some articles from great minds in mentoring, links to some organizations and resources for mentoring, along with a few of my other favorite exercises, movie clips etc. If you have a mentoring resource that you would like me to include please send it to me and I will be happy to consider adding it to this page. Also, I am doing this as a service and I am certainly not receiving any money, kickbacks, or freebies from listing these- so these are simply some resources that I like and hope you enjoy. Happy mentoring!
Talking Power Mentoring with Women’s Leadership Success Radio
February 2014. Ellen explains the ins and outs of mentor-protégé relationships using her personal stories and research.
Suggested Readings from Mentoring Scholars and Consultants
We all know that our workforce is more diverse than others and I think for most of us we still feel a little shy about discussing these issues with each other. And if you survived corporate America in the nineties you may have suffered through some painfully obvious early renditions of diversity training. One of the best ways for people to learn about diversity is through relationships with each other. Dr. Stacy Blake-Beard has written a terrific article that outlines how mentoring can be used as a bridge to understand cultural differences. This article is thoughtful, intelligent, and has some great discussion/reflection questions at the end that can really be useful for anyone grappling with these issues.
What’s better? Formal mentoring programs or informal relationships? I get asked this A LOT! “Taking a Hard Look at Formal Mentoring Programs” is a terrific academic article by Stacy Blake-Beard that sheds some light on this question. Dr. Blake-Beard identifies five considerations for women getting involved in formal mentoring relationships to consider (although these are also helpful for men as well). The five consideration are” 1) unrealistic expectations, 2) lack of attraction/ or opportunity for identification, 3) managing the developmental dilemma, 4) unbalanced focus on the protege, and 5) forging a post-program relationship. In sum, there is no simple answer to this question as so much depends on the expectations, structure of the program, and how the program is managed. In general, having a network of mentors is best as a formal mentor can be really helpful but cannot be expected to satisfy all one’s needs. This article provides a way to understand these issues more deeply and some great food for thought.
Clients often struggle with how to make formal mentoring programs successful. It always sounds like a great idea to match up mentors and proteges but sadly like blind dates, sometimes these matches don’t always pan out. This terrific scholarly article by Tammy Allen and associates looks at what really matters in making formal mentoring programs as successful as possible. Simply put, control matters. Or more specifically, a protege’s perceived input into the process of matching has a lot to with determining how successful the match and hence the formal mentoring program will be. But what about training- how much does it matter? In fact, I spend a lot of time helping clients develop training and training my students so this questions is very compelling. Allen’s research demonstrates that high quality training for the protege’s can make an important impact but less so for the mentor and the caveat here is the training needs to be perceived as high quality. But how much does proximity, being from the same department, or a host of other factors matter when designing formal mentoring programs? Not so much really- instead help your proteges to have some control over the process and get them prepared and chances are your formal mentoring program will be much more successful.
Popular wisdom tells us that mentoring matters and that people with mentors derive many important benefits from their relationships. However, what kind of benefits do they receive and does hard evidence support this popular wisdom? Mentoring researchers, Tammy Allen along with four colleagues (Lillian Eby, Mark Poteet, Elizabeth Lentz, and Lizzette Lima) take a rigorous empirical look at the benefits associated with mentoring for proteges. To do so, these top researchers aggregate a large body of academic research and reach some interesting conclusions. These research find that mentoring matters and that the type of mentor one has (i.e. whether one has a mentor that tends to provide more career or emotional support or both matters as well). In general, studies bear out that people with mentors do experience greater job satisfaction, career satisfaction and overall have greater positive feelings towards their career. There’s still a lot we don’t know however and this article also provides a great impetus for future research on benefits.
Lead author Lillian Turner de Torme Eby and colleagues provide a rigorous look at what really matters in terms of protégé experiences with mentoring. These authors have conducted a meta-analysis which is basically a statistically aggregate approach to examining a large number of published articles in order to reach a consolidated understanding. If you want to really understand the underlying processes for what is important to protégés in terms of attracting and retaining their relationships with mentors, then this is your go-to article. One important headline is that one of the most important variables that impacts attraction and retention is perceived deep level similarity between mentors and protégés. So, when you do training and education for mentors and protégés, focus on giving them skills to go deep and find areas they click on such as goals, personality, and values so they can really connect.
Remember Rodney King (RIP) in the Los Angeles who asked “Can we all just get along?” I begin my reflection about the differences between mentoring and coaching with this question. In this article, I was privileged to write a commentary on David Clutterbuck who is one of the great minds of mentoring and examine some of the what we know about coaching that can be applied to mentoring.
People get therapy online, meet their soul-mates online and have all sorts of relationships online so why not mentor online? In fact, online mentoring is thriving as a practice but less is known about how it works theoretically. In this research, my co-author and I, Marty Thomas who is a math professor and MentorNet mentor, take an empirical look at the variables impacting e-mentoring relationships. Here’s what matters: people who are used to using forms of computer-mediated-communication with higher forms of social presence were more willing to engage in e-mentoring. Simply put, if you are putting together an e-mentoring program, one would be well advised to include a hybrid approach to communication so that email gets augmented with FtF meetings, skype, and chats.
Helpful Mentoring Websites
Have you always wondered what are you supposed to do with all your LinkedIn contacts if you already have a job? Here’s the answer- leverage your LinkedIn to develop your mentoring network with Mentorfly! What is Mentorfly? In the words of its founder, David Leib, Mentorfly is a “mentoring community designed to provide professionals with an abbreviated, clearly-defined a mentoring success strategie structure allowing for maximum value gained within a brief period of time.” You can use your existing LinkedIn profile and network to create your profile and develop your network of mentors on Mentorfly. There are lots of other cool features with this as well so it is definitely worth checking out.
Ever wonder who mentored famous and successful people? This is a terrific site sponsored by Harvard that has a compilation of famous mentoring pairs. I have used these pairs as a fun matching game in my training classes. It also has some useful interesting information on National Mentoring Month. Very useful!
Fun and Learning
One of my favorites tools in my bag of teaching tricks is to use movie and TV clips to bring concepts to life. Here are a few recommendations that provide great examples of mentoring. Sorry, no links here except to Karate Kid but if these appeal to you they are easy to download. If you have some to share, please send me a line and I will include!
1) Mentoring and the Karate Kid This is a previous blog post of mine about Karate Kid (the original of course!) and how it relates to mentoring with a “building block” structure.
2) Seinfeld. There is an episode on disc 2 of Season 8 of Seinfeld called “The Fatigues.” My colleague, Troy Nielson at Brigham Young University turned me on to this. It is a hilarious episode about all of the misconceptions, challenges as well as positive aspects of mentoring. I use snippets from this and always get a laugh.
3) 30 Rock. There is a hilarious episode called “Grandmentor” that you can easily download. It has some great examples of a generational approach to mentoring and so many great moments that will resonate for anyone.
4) Suits. This whole series is about the mentor-protégé relationship between two attorneys with some great examples of defining moments related to trust.
5) Hunger Games. A mentor can make or break whether you get out alive in the Games and corporate America. Too bad Katniss has a drunken fool for her mentor… who turns out to be great. Gotta watch it and see!
6) Homeland. Carrie is hiding her bipolar disorder from her boss and mentor but he has a few secrets too. The glue that keeps them together is their mentoring relationship.