Common Mentoring Questions

Written by
Allison Laing

Make Your Mentoring Program Run Smoothly

At River we receive a lot of questions about how our mentoring software functions; however, oftentimes questions from clients are focused around the non-technical aspects of mentoring. With our team’s decades of experience, we are able to consult our clients in more ways than just providing a software solution for mentoring. Through these many conversations, we often hear the same types of questions from clients and prospects around such topics as participation and measurement. I’d like to highlight some of our most commonly asked questions.

How do I get people to sign up for mentoring?

One of the most frequent questions we get asked is about how to get people to sign up to participate in the mentoring program. When a program has been designed to be available for employees to join voluntarily, there can sometimes be a lack of sign up, especially in the initial launch phase. One reason for a lack of sign up may be the messaging that was sent out for the launch. Although the program may be voluntary, if the messaging has any missing information or doesn’t communicate the organization’s intentions of the program, participants may feel they don’t need to participate. We can help our clients with their initial messaging to ensure the audience understands the purpose of the program and what the organization is offering with a mentoring program. Another thing we can help with here is to set expectations for our client administrators. For example, with an open, voluntary program, people will come find a mentor when the time is right for them and not necessarily immediately at the time of launch. Knowing what to expect can help ease anxiety.

How do I get people to engage with their mentoring partner?

Another frequent question that we get from clients, and that goes along with their questions about initial sign up, revolves around participation. Some clients may see great sign up when they initially launch a new mentoring program, but they may not see a lot of follow through from the participants who sign up. Typically, we see lack of follow through from mentees when it comes to inviting mentors into a relationship. One way to tackle this is to ensure that your mentees are provided with enough details about the mentoring program, the system itself, and the process before they are given access to invite mentors into a relationship. Some of the feedback we’ve received from mentees is that they do not feel confident that they are taking the right steps to invite a mentor. Some other feedback we’ve received is that they are unsure if they should be inviting people of a certain job level. For example, if a program has directors or higher in the system as part of their mentoring pool, but this information is not shared with the mentees, when an individual contributor goes in to find a mentor and sees someone at the VP level recommended to them, they may be hesitant to invite them due to the mentor’s status within the organization. However, if the program administrators communicate with the mentees that the mentors in the platform have volunteered to be mentors and are expecting to hear from people of all job levels, this may ease some of the anxieties from the mentees.

How do I track and measure mentoring success?

Setting goals

A third question we frequently hear from clients is about how to track and measure the success of a mentoring relationship. We have learned throughout the years that many people involved in one-to-one relationships through the River mentoring system tend to take their conversations offline. To help administrators and participants still track and measure their progress, we developed a way to survey mentoring pairs throughout different touch points in a relationship. Clients are able to custom configure these surveys to best meet their mentoring program’s needs. However, we typically see clients sending questions around such topics as meeting with one another on a frequent basis, if the mentoring pair is on track with completing the mentoring goals they developed, or if they’d recommend the mentoring program to others. We have a robust guide on how to set up these surveys with a library of available questions, and we can also consult directly with clients on effective questions to ask.

While these are just a few of the most popular questions we are asked by our clients, this by no means encompasses everything we hear. Likewise, these answers are just the most common responses; however, based on the way a client may be running their mentoring program, the answer may vary. This is when a conversation with the experts at River can be extremely valuable.

What are some of the questions you have about mentoring relationships and running a mentoring program? We’d love to talk with you and share what our clients have done to be successful, along with the best practices we’ve developed over the years. Reach out to us with your mentoring questions and let us help you discover how you can do more with mentoring.

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