Go Green Bay Packers!

January 12, 2012

I’m going to be cheering for the Green Bay Packers this coming Sunday, as they advance in the playoffs.  Did you know that the Packers organization sponsors mentoring too?  Who knew?!!   In addition to their mentoring program set up within the Packer organization to develop its new team members, the Green Bay Packers Mentor-Protégé Program matches mentor companies within Brown County to protégé companies who are looking to improve in the areas of technology, management, finance, etc.  AFF Research is administering this program on behalf of the Packers.  Call 920-884-5006 or e-mail to aff@affresearch.com.  The deadline to apply is January 31.

Advertisements

Progress!

January 9, 2012

Is it me, or is mentoring getting more attention lately?  I am certainly attuned to mentoring, so perhaps I just notice it more, but I do believe that mentoring became more newsworthy in 2011.

A few recent local examples were:

  • Growth of mentoring programs in support of personal and professional growth, such as within the Mid-Day Women’s Alliance.
  • Highlighting of volunteer mentors like Roxanne Mehlberg for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
  • Implementation of mentoring programs to ensure the smooth transition of board members, as for the Harbor House Domestic Abuse Program.
  • Recognition of All Star Mentors within the NEW (Northeast Wisconsin) Manufacturing Alliance.
    • Cynthia Schmoller – Sargento Foods, Inc
    • Mike Masar – Georgia-Pacific

There are many more examples I could cite; but at the same time, there are many more people within industry, non-profit organizations, and our communities nationwide that could benefit from having a mentor or becoming a mentor.  As our economy continues to improve in 2012, mentoring must play a greater role in triggering innovation and filling the current skill deficit.

Matching Mentees with Their Mentors

October 15, 2011

I am often asked how matches are made within the Mid-Day Mentoring Program that was mentioned in my previous blog entry.  In the Mid-Day Mentoring Program, both mentors and mentees complete confidential questionnaires.   Mentees rank areas of focus that they would like to receive mentoring in.  These areas of focus are the starting point for the match.  Mentors are then selected for each mentee based on their knowledge and experience, as indicated in their completed questionnaires.  Of course, there is also some “matching magic” involved!  That’s when hobbies and other common interests are considered to ensure that both the mentee and mentor will find elements on which to build a fulfilling mentoring relationship.  I recently received the following e-mail message from one of the mentors:  “met with my mentee today…  lovely woman… luv her… you did a great match… i think it’s mutual…”  I ask you, now how cool is that?!!

Mid-Day Mentoring Program

October 13, 2011

A Mentoring Program was established for the Mid-Day Women’s Alliance in Appleton, WI early last year.   As a co-chair for that program, I am pleased to report that the program not only continues to grow, but it is also attracting new members to the  organization.  Women who are interested in participating in the program have responded to our program’s publicity and are getting involved, either as a mentee or mentor.  More than 40 area individuals are currently participating in the mentoring program which offers training to mentors and mentees along with the opportunity to experience a confidential and trusting  relationship.  Anyone interested in becoming members and participating in the program should contact the Mid-Day Women’s Alliance at middaywa@gmail.com.

Mentoring to Make a Difference

September 25, 2011

October 22 will be Make a Difference Day.  On that Saturday, each of us is urged to reach out and do something good for others.  David Gregory of Meet the Press wrote an article for today’s USA Weekend.  He urges each of us to do something that will make a real difference for someone.  In the article, Gregory describes the powerful mentoring relationship he has with a young man from Haiti.  He says, “I feel as if it’s a real fulfillment of my potential.”  The simple act of mentoring involves giving of ourselves and our time to another person and is the most valuable gift we can bestow.

There are lots of things we can do to make a difference for others on that one day or over the course of many months.  Think about what you will do – become a mentor, shop for a shut-in, read to a child, volunteer at a local animal shelter, or whatever fits with your time and talents.  We’ll all be better for it.

Mentoring for Educational Success

August 31, 2011

Mentoring is alive and well in our schools.  Tomorrow is the first day of September and the first day school for the children in our neighborhood.  Teachers have been busy preparing classrooms and lesson plans.  Parents have done the usual shopping for school supplies and other needed gear.  But, mentoring has been receiving recognition as an important part of the back-to-school preparations this fall.  Because of the large number of teacher retirements last year, mentoring is more important than ever for new teachers.  In some districts, new teachers with no prior teaching experience have each been paired with an experienced teacher as a mentor to help him or her get off to a good start, to answer questions, and to provide ongoing feedback on classroom techniques throughout their first year.  New teachers with prior teaching experience are assigned a “buddy” for their first week.  At the high school, incoming freshmen are matched with an upper classman as a mentor to help with finding classrooms, to complete assigned challenges, and to attend special events together.  All of these mentoring matches are made to contribute to the success of this upcoming school year.  One of my neighbors says, “It’s working!”  She and her mentor are already learning and off to a great start!

Let me know if you have other mentoring examples for me to share!

Building Your PLN

August 21, 2011

Students and professionals are making use of technical resources to build their Personal Learning Networks (PLNs). This week, USA Today reported that students are using Twitter to obtain information from experts in various specialized fields.  The article cited one student whose “tweet” was not only answered by a consultant but resulted in a mentoring relationship in which the consultant spoke to her high school class through Skype.  Many college students and professionals are using LinkedIn to build their PLNs.  Here in Neenah, iPads will be issued to 6th graders and some 5th graders in the district during the upcoming school year.  You can bet that these young people are going to become very comfortable at establishing relationships through
technology.

Most of these online contacts are merely brief informational exchanges and do not result in a mentoring relationship.  However, we need to be open to the possibilities and embrace the opportunities that technology brings.  What are you doing to build your PLN?

By Request – Mentor Responsibilities

August 9, 2011

Last week, I responded to a request that I republish the Mentee Responsibilities that I had listed in a blog entry a couple of years ago.  To be fair, I am now putting the Mentor Responsibilities out again as well.  Every successful mentoring relationship depends on the contributions of both parties – Mentor and Mentee.  So whether you are mentoring an individual as part of a formal mentoring program within an organization or you are mentoring someone informally, you want to fulfill your responsibilities in that relationship.  Those responsibilties include:

  • Draft mentoring objectives for yourself and plan to share these with your Mentee at one of your first meetings.
  • Meet regularly.  As the Mentor, you should set up the first meeting for yourself and your new Mentee.  Your Mentee can set up a schedule of regular meetings for both of you after that.
  • Be an active listener.  Ask questions to better understand.
  • Encourage your Mentee to take charge of his/ her own action planning, learning, and development.
  • Offer feedback or advice, when requested.
  • Ask for feedback, i.e. “Was this meeting helpful?”
  • Maintain confidentiality.  Discussions and the topics of those discussions are between you and your Mentee and are not to be shared outside of the mentoring relationship.

Being aware of your responsibilities as a Mentor will get the relationship with your Mentee off to a great start and help both of you learn and grow.

By Request – Mentee Responsibilities

August 2, 2011

Making relationships work takes, well, work.  I’ve been asked to repeat the listing of Mentee Responsibilities that I had included in a much earlier blog.  As a mentee, you want to do your part in building a strong mentoring relationship.  So, whether you have been matched with a mentor through an organizational mentoring program or whether you have taken the initiative to find your own mentor, begin by taking these steps.

  •  If you haven’t done so already, prepare a draft of your objectives for the relationship.  You will want to share these with your mentor at one of your first meetings.
  • Take charge of your learning and development.  Once the two of you have agreed on meeting frequency, offer to schedule future meetings with your mentor.  Plan informal agendas for each meeting, based on the objectives you have developed.
  • Solicit your mentor’s opinions and advice on projects, observations, career direction, or other issues.
  • Be an active listener.
  • Let your mentor know of any outcomes that result from a meeting discussion.  They will appreciate your follow up.
  • Thank your mentor for providing advice, assisting with an action plan, or just listening.
  • Maintain confidentiality.  Discussions and the topics of those discussions are between you and your mentor and are not to be shared outside of the mentoring relationship.

Taking on your mentee responsibilities will get your relationship with your mentor off to a great start and help you achieve your
objectives.

What’s Changed/Not Changed?

July 22, 2011

When I started this blog back in 2009, individuals and organizations were contacting me about mentoring because companies had downsized or were slashing budgets.   That meant career development and training were either severely curtailed or eliminated altogether.  Individuals wanted to keep learning and growing within their chosen careers or find new ones.  Corporations wanted to maximize the productivity of their employees, and non-profit organizations wanted to engage their members. 

So what’s changed in the last two years?  Budgets are tighter than ever.  Employees are working even harder but feeling stagnant in their jobs.  Others have been out of work for months and don’t know how to refresh skills or jumpstart their careers.  Corporations are short on resources to develop their employees, and non-profit organizations are struggling for the resources to serve in their communities. 

What else has changed?  In 2009, experts were predicting recovery from the recession.  Now, two years later, those same experts are predicting a slow recovery over several more years. 

What has not changed?  People and organizations are interested in mentoring as a cost effective means for the development of individuals.  Mentoring programs provide both personal growth and business results.