Yes, it is possible to manage your mentoring program manually! We’ll even tell you how to do it! Because, at the end of the day, a well-run mentoring program is what matters most — even if it’s manually run.
Here’s our how-to on manual mentoring program management—from getting people to sign up, to matching, check-ins, reporting, and beyond!
Quick note: If you are still in the prep phase and are looking for a guide on how to set up a mentoring program instead, check out our Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up An Effective Mentoring Program.
Managing Participant Signups and Profiles
It all starts with a good signup form. And when manage your mentoring program manually, it’s up to you to create a structured form that captures essential information from potential mentees and mentors. Include basic details such as professional background, areas of interest, desired outcomes, and availability, but overall, let your program goals guide you here. Make sure the information you’re collecting is relevant to your program’s goals and how you want to match. For example, if your program aims to connect employees from different departments, it follows that you include a required field about their current role and department on the signup form. If the goal is to connect industry members across the globe to share knowledge about industry best practices, identifying their current location is key.
We recommend using tools like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey to build your signup form and collect data as these tools help you organize your data after participants have filled out your form. It also helps that these lists are searchable as this will be very handy for matching later on.
For more on what information you need to give yourself the best chance of making good matches, download our guide:
It’s also vital to make sure you’ve made your signup form accessible to everyone, whether you choose to do it through an online platform, email, or physical copies. If you’re going with a digital/online signup process, make sure the link or a QR code can be found on all of your marketing comms. If you’ve chosen to go with physical signup forms, make sure they’re easily accessible in common areas or that people know who or where to get them from.
Sending out emails to remind people to sign up is relatively easy — as long as you have a list. If you don’t, you’ll have to start that list from scratch, which can take a lot of time and be a bit of a cumbersome process. If your program is open to everyone, then this is a bit easier as all you have to do is hit “send to all.” If not, make sure you allow enough time to collect the relevant contact information and double-check to ensure that 1) no one is missed, and 2) no one is on the list that shouldn’t be.
With Mentorloop, you can build your cohort with ease whether you choose to open it to everyone or to select people. You can use a single link to your signup form for all your marketing and recruitment comms or upload a CSV file of your potential mentors and mentees. And because your participants create their own profiles when they sign up, there’s no need for you to input, organize, and match up your data. Easy peasy!
As a bonus, Mentorloop also organizes your participant data and gives you powerful search, tagging, and filtering – making every part of running a mentoring program easier. 😉
Keen to learn more about how Mentorloop makes participant management easier? Click below.
After all that, it’s time to review each application carefully. Go back to your goals and matching criteria. Highlight similarities and alignments in participant profiles and begin matching mentees and mentors based on their compatibility, complementary skills, and shared interests. Be sure to review all pairings at the end to make your final checks, then create your list of final pairings.
Then, it’s time to connect each mentoring pair personally via email or another messaging service your organisation is using. This doesn’t need to be extremely formal. You can make intros via Slack or Teams if your organisation’s culture is more casual.
Mentorloop helps you make intelligent matches with the best chance for success, no matter how you choose to match.
Whether you choose to match manually for a highly curated program or empower your participants to match themselves, Mentorloop’s unique algorithm helps make matches with the best chance for success using Recommended Matches. And on Mentorloop Enterprise, you can make equitable matches for your entire cohort in minutes with Smart Match.
Keen to learn more about how Mentorloop does matching? Click below.
Check-Ins and Momentum Management
Within the first few weeks, make sure you check whether your mentoring pairs are meeting and how the partnership is going. The important thing to check, especially in the first few weeks of the program, is whether meetings are taking place.
Once you’ve heard back, use a spreadsheet or other forms of tracking to mark who’s meeting and who’s lagging behind. Reach out to the stragglers and see how you can help facilitate them getting their partnerships off the ground.
Depending on how your mentoring program is structured, the time to do this may vary. But when it’s time to gather feedback on your participants’ mentoring relationships and what your pairs have accomplished together, it’s good to standardize the questions so you can measure everything the same way. Use a survey (you can use trusted tools like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey again), and then feed this information into a spreadsheet (you can use the one you’ve already created or start a new one exclusively for this purpose).
Pro Tip: We advise that you don’t just collect feedback at the end of the program. It’s best to do this throughout so you leave yourself room to troubleshoot or course-correct if need be. Also, this part of running a program may sound tedious, and it tends to be, but it is vital to making sure your participants, and therefore your program, are tracking towards success.
With Mentorloop, you won’t have to manually do any of this – Mentorloop’s Sentiment Feedback Analysis System does it for you. Mentorloop does the heavy lifting in collecting quantitative andd qualitative feedback from your participants and organizes the data for you in beautiful, ready-to-share reports.
Click below to learn more about how Mentorloop helps you manage mentoring momentum.
At Mentorloop, we measure mentoring programs a little bit differently. To learn more, watch this video:
Measuring and Reporting on Mentoring Success
Last but not least, you’ll need to generate reports on how the entire cohort is progressing. After all, you can’t improve what you can’t measure! Make your survey data visual by generating tables and graphs that can better highlight trends and performance metrics. These can be created with whatever spreadsheet software you’re using, whether it be Excel on PCs, Numbers on Macs, or via Google Sheets in the Google Suite.
Our advice? Try to get both qualitative and quantitative data on how your program is progressing. Numbers are great, but it’s always more meaningful when the humans behind the numbers can provide them with context. After all, mentoring is all about human connection, so it stands to reason that we include the human aspect in reporting on it.
For more on why we advise program coordinators to collect both kinds of data, watch this video:
On Mentorloop, your Live Program Dashboard is designed to assist you in focusing on the five key indicators of program success with snapshots of key program data. It then makes these bits of information actionable for you with Insights that guide you on how to improve or maintain mentoring momentum.
You also have a live feed of Highlights that show you how your cohort has been tracking, allowing you to see what’s happening in your program as it happens, or catch up on key events if you’ve been away for a few days.
And if you want rich data that you can slice and dice, no worries, Mentorloop has that too! 😉
If you have a small program, you can definitely follow these steps and manage a mentoring program manually. However, if you have a larger pool of participants or plan to grow your program, think about whether it’s worth the time and effort.
After all, if your program is too hard to manage, it will probably be poorly run despite your best efforts. And poorly run programs can do more harm than good. According to The Atlantic:
“Researchers have established that negative mentoring experiences caused more intense emotional and behavioural responses among employees compared to positive incidents.”
That’s why, when it comes to mentoring, it’s not just about the program’s intention, but also its execution. Thankfully, if you don’t want to do everything manually, we’re here to help! Find out how Mentorloop can help you run your best mentoring program yet by checking out which Mentorloop plan is right for your organisation!