Center for Mentoring Excellence

Mentoring Matters

June 2014
Volume 5 | Issue 6
Quick Links


Read Lois' own thoughts on social media and mentoring in her latest blog post: 

"Finding a mentor on social media."

Lois Zachary at the
Program Meeting 
in Miami, FL on May 8, 2014 

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Books that Chuck Hamilton Recommends!
The Brief History of
Social Media
The Conversation Prism

Mentoring: Strategies for Success Trainer Certification Program
September 29 - October 1, 2014 
Looking to take your mentoring program to the next level?  You won't want to miss our  3-day trainer certification program.   This program is designed for experienced trainers, those charged with delivering and supporting mentoring training, mentoring coaches and program coordinators who want to  deepen their understanding of mentoring or improve mentoring facilitation skills.
Only a few spots left for our special Mentoring Excellence Toolkit giveaway! The first 10 people to register by the end of this month will receive a a free copy of Mentoring Excellence Pocket Toolkit #5, Mentoring Across Generations!

Looking to send more than one person from your company? We offer a discount for multiple registrants, contact us for details!

Interview with
Chuck Hamilton

Chuck is a Social Business and Employee Engagement consultant, an 18 year veteran of IBM and a current Social Media Instructor for the Masters of Digital Media Program at the Center for Digital Media in Vancouver Canada.


MM: Tell us about your work in social mentoring.


CH: Social mentoring is quickly growing as a practice that motivates willing and socially connected people to help grow the skills and knowhow of others. This simple, social sharing act, can be applied to almost any question or challenge resulting in new insights at lightning speed and with laser like focus. Right now people are gathering everywhere to develop new skills collaboratively. From on-line quilt making to iOS programming, if you need skills, a skilled crowd is forming to support you.


Most of us have come to understand that 'we can learn something from everyone, but how do you move this theory into organizational practice? Mentoring in the social era recognizes that in our globally integrated, intelligent and interconnected world, we no longer need to have a single 'go to' mentor. Rather, we need to connect an army of collective minds that can help us to grow our knowledge like never before. Today, the word 'mentor' doesn't begin to cover the true exchange underway within this new social dynamic. Think -'micro-consulting' or 'social sharing' as a more accurate phrase to describe this trend. 

The future of work in an uncertain world: Chuck Hamilton at TEDxSFU

MM:  What do you see as the #1 imperative for organizations engaged in social mentoring and why?

CH: Organizations looking to leverage social mentoring understand that they have near infinite capacity within their organization and within the customers and the communities they serve. Smart, connected and social savvy organizations see this untapped capacity as a way to quickly and cost effectively ratchet up skills sets and/or business knowhow. It's like finding a well of 'knowhow oil' around you that you simply need to tap into and encourage. This newly utilized capacity can work hand-in-hand with existing people development strategies at a small incremental cost.
MM: From your perspective and years of field experiences, what do you see as the biggest challenges organizations face in creating a mentoring culture?

CH: There are a few challenges that need be overcome when adopting a social mentoring practice. First, we need to enable a common social connection backbone, making sure that everyone is in the same open sharing ecosystem. Second, we need to establish persistent profiles, search tools and practices that can connect the community. In some instances this may mean connection to both internal and external communities or wherever the best pools of knowhow exist. In the era of social mentoring we learn that knowledge comes to us through many networked relationships, connection to socially formed groups, communities, panels, forums and many other connected pockets across the organization. (Note IBM connects over 2700 groups/communities outside their organization through LinkedIn TM.)  The guiding principle for a social mentoring strategy should be that "everyone can and should be a contributor"- a tag line that helps drive both participation and value.

Next, we need to shift people development thinking to embrace social business culture. Working socially, sharing and openly discussing holes and fixes may feel like a foreign concept, especially for businesses that have traditionally been fairly insular or prone to hoarding what they know. The good news here is that there is so much social business going on around us that our business case is quickly being made for us.

MM: You've managed multiple mentoring programs simultaneously. What advice would you give to program managers?


CH: In my view, the trick is to strive to create a culture that takes mentoring practice seriously while simultaneously encouraging people to contribute without being pressured into do so. Most organizations will have both formal (well designed, high touch and highly measured) and informal (socially connected, champion led, dynamic work group motivated) programs, each with a different value proposition. Although we need both, my preference is to invest more in the social informal programs at this point.  While the organization can still lay ground rules and cite best practices for these informal offerings, we need to let social programs flourish on their own. Remember that as you read this, people are gathering, connecting, and helping each other grow across every organizational and geographic boundary without being directed to do so.  We all know that intrinsically motivated people can have a huge impact, especially if they have been empowered for action. This is the strength of a global, people led, social conversation - a conversation that will help define and grow your organization.

Chuck Hamilton recommends visiting these forward thinking websites:

Maven Network 
Deep skills location and transfer

Crowd Sourced Knowledge. The bookstore of the future


Impossible Network

Wish, skill and knowhow enablement



Individuals and groups driving knowhow sharing


IBM Connections
in your profile and in Communities. Social business backbone


in your profile and in Communities. Social business backbone



Locate and hire the best freelancers in the world


Qwiki App
Software to translate video, audio, and photo inputs into short movies on an iPhone  



The network for a new Generation of talent



People helping people stay healthy  



Lois Zachary and Lory Fischler have been hard at work again. Be among the first to pre-order a copy of their latest book. 

Starting Strong is a hands-on and usable guide to making the first 90 days of your mentoring relationship a success.

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 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.