3 Problems and Solutions with Mentoring Matching

matching mentoring pairsMatching pairs properly in mentoring is a critical component of a successful mentoring program.

The match is typically done by an internal Mentoring Program Manager (MPM) along with a small task force who will meet to review all of the data that is collected via matching questionnaire forms. As you can imagine, problems do arise with mentoring matching.

We are going to discuss 3 typical problems with mentoring matching and solutions to those problems.

Problem #1.

Time spent having to match.

In a typical pilot you will have 15-20 pairs. If you’re going to match those pairs the old fashioned way (i.e. manually), it could take 3+ hours depending on how much time is spent going through the questionnaires and reviewing the data.

Solution #1:

Automate the process by using an online matching system that streamlines the whole matching process.

If an online matching system is not an option, assign one member of the task force to to project the data that has been collected online so that people won’t have to shuffle the paperwork.

Problem #2

Matching people who are not in the same location.

Global businesses may have mentoring programs that include people from all over the world. It’s not unusual to find someone in Europe mentoring someone in Asia. The problem is that if there isn’t a personal connection, it can make it more challenging to form a true mentoring relationship.

Solution(s) #2:

1. Match people as close together geographically as possible. Consider matching someone in Europe with someone in the US as opposed to someone in Asia.

2. Provide pairs with the opportunity to meet to their partner, since that’s such a critical component in long distance mentoring relationships.

  • Bring all the pairs together for training so that they have the opportunity to meet face to face.
  • Use Skype for visual meetings.
  • Use web meetings that allow people to see each other.
  • Dedicate a private room that participants in your mentoring program can schedule for visual meetings with their mentoring partners.

Problem #3

Mismatched pairs

This happens when one or both partners feel the relationship is not working and would like to opt out of the relationship. If the matching process was well designed, mismatches should occur fairly infrequently—10% at most for total number of pairs. Sometimes a mismatch is a personality clash that you couldn’t predict. Other times the mismatch is due to someone not fulfilling their commitment to the program (missing scheduled meeting times, etc.).

Solution #3:

The solution for mismatched pairs is for the MPM to confront the behavior(s) and ascertain if the person can recommit or whether the MPM should dissolve the relationship.

If it is decided to dissolve the relationship, look for other mentor matches and re-match.


If you are interested in learing more about our matching solution, Precision Matching, click the first button below. For Mentoring Program Managers, we have certification options available that you may be interested in. Click the second button. 

Happy matching!


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Image Credit: © Michal Bednarek | Dreamstime.com

Topics: Mentors & Mentorees, Mentoring Program Manager