Finding a good mentor to help steer your career is now more valuable than ever
New York Post – By Virginia Backaitis – July 12, 2020
Tobias Olsen was in a jam. Responsible for the mentoring program at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., he is charged with pairing individuals seeking mentors with a cadre of officers, pilots, lawyers and the military’s finest. Up until recently, he attempted to do this staring at spreadsheets, hoping to make the right match and knowing that the stakes were high.
How high? Brad Johnson, co-author of “The Elements of Mentoring” (St. Martin’s Press), puts it this way: “People who have great mentors do better. They get more promotions. They’re more confident. They get higher performance ratings. They have better networks. They make more money and they are more committed to their jobs. A good mentor can change your life.”
Thanks to eHarmony.com-like pairing technologies and video communication software like Zoom, high-potential employees and budding executives can get the training and support that they need from some of the best coaches in the field through platforms like Sounding Board.
At the time, the Coast Guard Academy’s record of mentorship success was only at 65 to 70 percent. “We were seeing too many missed opportunities and too many poor connections,” says Olsen. So, he sought to find a better way.
It came in the form of a mentoring software platform, Chronus, where prospective mentees answer about 15 questions, ranging from “Tell me about yourself” and “What are you looking for in a mentor?” to demographic data and so on. When the information is mashed up with the data of available mentors and fed into a computer algorithm, potential matches are generated. Mentees can fine-tune their initial criteria, but at the end of the day, pairings work out about 97 percent of the time.
If it sounds to you sort of like how dating sites and social networks work, you’re on the money. Think Match.com for mentorships. There are also online classes where you can learn from your business heroes without spending on anything, except for maybe a cup of coffee.
Here’s how it works.