Posts Tagged ‘mentoring’

Spring Fever!

March 19, 2012

Those of us living in eastern Wisconsin have had the most amazing weather!  Technically, the calendar still says Winter, but the weather has been saying Spring.  Many people are expecting the normal freezing, cold weather with lots of heavy wet snow to descend on us any day now.  However, I’ve chosen to just enjoy these days of sunshine, warmth, and low heating bills.  I’m energized!  I’m cleaning closets, raking the lawn, and prepping my mountain bike.  I’m also using this time to complete winter mentoring projects, refresh meetings with my mentee, and prepare for the next meeting with my mentor.  Spring is the time of renewal and growth.  Explore the possibilities of personal growth through mentoring!

P.S.  Tomorrow is the first day of Spring!  Really!!


Mentoring Through Social Media – Part II

March 1, 2012

I have a love/hate affair with social media, as mentioned in my previous blog.  For me, mentoring is personal.  One of my challenges with putting mentoring out in social media is finding a way to personalize the interchange so a mentoring relationship can be formed and flourish.   For many people, mentoring = 1:1, face-to-face contact.  (I am one of those people.)  I do belong to an online mentoring network, but I haven’t seen any action there for some time.  To find out more, I posted a challenge question to the group.

I asked, “How helpful is this LinkedIn mentoring group for you?  As a learning and development professional with a passion for mentoring, I would to like hear from students and other alumni.  How can we get involved to make a difference for all of you?”  Three days went by with no response.  I tried again.  This time I said, “In my post last week, I said that I would like to hear from students and alumni, but the silence is deafening so far.”  Then, about a dozen comments streamed in – all from alumni, one of who was actually matched with a student!  There were lots of good suggestions for how to get more students involved.  As a result, we were assured by the group facilitator that we would be seeing some changes.  But how useful will it be, really?  We’ll see…

Mentoring Through Social Media – Part I

February 18, 2012

Social media is one of those things that I either love or hate – sometimes both.  There’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and now Pinterest.  Social media is a great way to keep in touch, make new virtual connections, and explore ideas.  However, there are days when it takes up way too much of my time.  This past week, I was touched when someone that worked with me several years ago reached out to me via one of those social media.  His message said that he just wanted to thank me for having made a difference for him.  He had some other very nice things to say.  His kind comments were humbling and gave me pause.  Am I making the best use of all the tools available to me to advance mentoring now?  I know I could be a more active participant in an online mentoring group that I belong to.  (Have I been too busy exploring Pinterest?)  I could post more of my mentoring materials to this blog.  I know for certain that I will do what Don did for me, and that is to thank some of the people who made a difference as mentors for me!  Other ideas?!!

Facebook’s COO

February 6, 2012

A New York Times article this last weekend, entitled, “The $1.6 Billion Woman, Staying on Message”, featured Sheryl K Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook.  The article points out that Sheryl, who is positioned to become a billionaire with the upcoming Facebook IPO, takes every opportunity she can to encourage women to enter and promote themselves in business and technology.  I’ve viewed some of her presentations on YouTube.  Sheryl is a dynamic speaker and an advocate for mentoring.  She herself has been mentored as she climbed various corporate ladders, and she actively mentors other young women in their careers.  However, her real message is more than mentoring.  Sheryl is a strong a role model for women who want to put business strategy and personal goals to work for themselves.  Mentoring is one of the tools to assist in that process.

Mentors Needed

January 20, 2012

The daughter of one of my friends had wanted to become a nurse ever since she was a little girl.  Upon her college graduation, Lindsey (not her real name) was accepted into the nursing program at a large prestigious hospital.  She recently left after only one year.  My friend says that there was a sink-or-swim attitude among the more experienced nurses at the hospital which made a difficult job even more stressful.  She says that if Lindsey had had a mentor to provide guidance regarding hospital procedures and culture, she might still be there.

Our local newspaper, The Post-Crescent, just featured an editorial regarding the upcoming retirement of baby boomers and the hiring of new employees to replace them.  The potential numbers are huge!  For example, 1/3 of the public school teachers in our local area could retire in the next 10 years.  The editorial suggested mentoring as a way to transfer teaching skills and knowledge to the next generation of teachers with minimal cost.  The article stated that industries around the country could benefit if mentoring was implemented for knowledge transfer.

What about your community and your workplace?  It’s time to establish mentoring programs now – before more valuable people and knowledge are lost!



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.

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!

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.

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.