Mentor Matching: 5 Important Factors & Considerations

If you are looking at how best to match mentoring relationships, read our guide on five key factors to consider.

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Mentor matching is a tricky task and there are a huge number of factors and considerations that come into play. Ultimately, matches are not always right. For whatever reason, it’s important to recognise that mentor matches won’t be 100% right all the time and that it is okay to end a mentoring relationship ahead of when you had envisaged it ending. Below, we have outlined a few key considerations to mentor matching which we, at PushFar, also use when offering mentor and mentee suggested matches on our mentoring software.

Look at the Skill Sets
This might seem an obvious one but it is important to note nevertheless. Matching based on skill sets is key to mentoring success. While you do not need to match a mentor and mentee on equal skill sets it is important to look at the skills a mentor has and how they may be applicable to potential mentees. This could be industry skills, management skills, communication skills or a whole host of other skill sets. It is equally important to consider the skill sets of the mentee. A mentee may be seeking support and mentoring guidance in a niche area that could require a specific skill set in order to appropriately provide said support.

Consider Experience Levels
Whether mentoring or reverse mentoring, experience levels and years in an industry or business are crucial to consider. Traditional mentoring looks at pairing a more experienced mentor with a less experienced mentee, and this works for most mentoring relationships. However, years experience do not always equate to true experience and understanding. Someone with only two years industry experience might actually have more insight than someone with ten years experience. So, look at experience levels carefully. You cannot always judge it based on a hierarchical company structure or years in a business.

Consider The Need
Mentoring only truly works when both parties (the mentor and mentee) ‘get’ mentoring. For those who are not engaged in the concept of mentoring, don’t feel there is a need for it or simply do not want to mentor, it just won’t work. So, with these individuals you should first look at a different approach. For those who want mentoring or wish to give back and mentor others, considering the need is crucial. If you are looking at a mentor match yourself, ask what your needs are and what you want to gain from your mentoring relationships. If you are an HR director or company owner looking at mentor matches within your organisation then look at the needs of those employees you are trying to match.

Don’t Rock The Hierarchical Boat
Mentoring is not the same as managing. That said, it’s important to tread carefully with team leads, managers and department heads. Having a mentor who manages someone’s direct manager can be awkward if not carefully handled. Setting boundaries and expectations straight away is important here. Otherwise, you run the risk of a manager feeling undermined. There are other hierarchical and structural considerations and factors you should look at too. This is one to watch.

Look at Industries and Departments
Industries and departments are a big factor in certain mentoring relationships and in others they are far less important. For example, largely speaking, management mentoring does not require a mentor and mentee from the same industry or department - management training is pretty much the same across the board. However, if a mentee is looking for guidance in a certain role or in climbing the metaphorical career ladder then looking at matching them with a mentor in said industry or department is very important.

The above five points are very much top-level guides to mentoring. As we are sure you will appreciate, mentoring can be highly personal and mentor matching is a tricky balance of a huge great many factors. If you are looking at how you can mentor match more effectively, why not consider letting your employees choose mentors and mentees? At PushFar our mentoring platform helps companies and organisations of all shapes, sizes and structures to mentor effectively, with minimal resource requirements from HR directors. Click here to find out more and see a demo!
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