Center for Mentoring Excellence

April 2010 | Volume 1 Issue 2
Mentoring Matters is a bi-monthly e-letter focusing on best practices that motivate, inspire and grow individual and organizational mentoring excellence.
In our last issue we discussed Mentoring as a Leadership Competency. This month, we look at mentoring from an organizational perspective and focus on creating a mentoring culture within the organization.
What is a Mentoring Culture? 
A mentoring culture deploys serious resources, dedicates structures and makes an ongoing investment in mentoring.  A mentoring culture says "we are serious about mentoring and we are committed for the long haul."
  • It creates a continuum of expectation about mentoring and establishes a standard of excellence for mentoring practice.
  • It encourages the practice of mentoring excellence by continuously creating readiness for mentoring within the organization, facilitating multiple mentoring opportunities, and building in support mechanisms and safety nets to ensure individual and organizational mentoring success.
  • Mentoring efforts focus on supporting mentoring throughout an organization, not just on a mentoring program.
There are eight hallmarks of a vibrant and full mentoring culture: alignment, accountability, communication, value and visibility, demand, multiple mentoring opportunities, education and training, and safety nets. The more consistently each hallmark is present, the fuller, more robust and sustainable a mentoring culture is likely to be.
Why Make the Effort?
A mentoring culture:
  1. Establishes ownership for mentoring within the organization
  2. Promotes shared responsibility
  3. Maximizes resources
  4. Maintains integrity
  5. Facilitates knowledge utilization
  6. Supports integration of key processes into the organization
  7. Creates openness to learning through mentoring
  8. Shortens ramp up time
An "Ideal" Example
Mentoring at "Ideal Organization" (IO) grew out of a formal program for high potentials. The initial program created such a buzz throughout IO that now, ten years later, its participants are still committed to mentoring others and initiating mentoring opportunities in their own organizations. Several years ago an organizational survey revealed that in addition to one-on-one informal mentoring and formal mentoring programs, multiple groups actively engaged in mentoring (i.e., women's executive mentoring, technical mentoring, and cross-functional mentoring). Those that participate in mentoring take it very seriously. Leaders regard it as part of their responsibility to informally mentor employees who show promise. Those charged with managing, supporting and coordinating mentoring efforts at IO monitor progress, measure results and work with teams throughout the organization to integrate mentoring process improvements. In addition, they keep an internal focus on mentoring. They coordinate mentoring efforts to make sure that all mentoring programs align with each other and with the organization's culture
Mentoring at IO is always in motion and constantly creating learning bridges that empower individuals to transform Ideal so that it continues live up to its name. The leaders at IO worked through a number of steps and phases in developing its mentoring culture. It is still a work in progress.
How Can My Organization Create Its Own Mentoring Culture?
If your organization has just started mentoring, is in the midst of one or more mentoring initiatives, or has stalled out in the middle of a process or needs to evaluate mentoring progress, the Mini-Assessment Tool can help you decide if your organization has embraced some of the best practices of a mentoring culture. 
Want to learn more?
Join Us in Chicago on May 26, 2010
Chicago SkylineThe Center for Mentoring Excellence is offering a full day workshop focused on helping you raise the bar on your mentoring performance. Don't miss this opportunity to learn with authors Dr. Lois Zachary and Lory Fischler as they take you through a dynamic interactive process to guide your thinking and development as a mentoring partner. Click here for more information
What We Are Reading...
The Handbook of Mentoring at Work (Ragins & Kram) is jam packed with theory, research and practice. It brings together the work of multiple scholars and practitioners into one impressive volume.
For your reading pleasure and treasure we recommend The Art of Possibility. It will open your mind to the abundant opportunities and ways you can create a vibrant and vital mentoring culture.
Lois Zachary Director, CFME
Lory Fischler Asst Director CFME
In This Issue:
What is a Mentoring Culture?
Why Make the Effort?
An "Ideal" Example
How Can My Organization Create Its Own Mentoring Culture?
What We Are Reading
Visit Our Blog CFME
Overcoming Resistance to Mentoring
High Leverage Activities for Senior Leaders

Being With the Building Blocks

Increasing Mentoring Competency in Your Organization
June Issue:
 The Mentoring Cycle
 Getting Your Relationship Started on the Right Foot
Establishing Agreements
Mentoring at Work
Bringing Your Relationship to Closure and Moving On
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Announcing our fourth Mentoring Excellence Pocket Toolkit!



Our latest toolkit, Goals & Accountability: Strategies and Checklist for Mentoring Partners is now available for purchase. 

A Note to Our Readers:
 We believe that leaders cannot be effective without a strong and ongoing commitment to mentoring excellence. This belief, our passion for mentoring excellence, and our extensive experience in the field with organizations led us to create the Center for Mentoring Excellence. At our virtual center,, you will find mentoring tools and resources, expert advice and a forum for sharing best mentoring practices. We hope that you will visit us there and let us know how we can continue to help you raise the bar on mentoring in your organization.