By Tammy D Allen; Lisa M Finkelstein; Mark L Poteet

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Likewise, a global energy company balances the protégé’s development needs, personality compatibility, reporting relationships, and personal interests when matching mentors and protégés. On the other hand, the matching process described by some companies tends to focus on one or two factors. For example, Starwood Hotels’ property managers base their matching decisions primarily on the mentor’s ability to address the protégé’s competencies that need development, although other factors such as the protégé’s functional responsibilities and personality fit are sometimes considered.

The matching process may be the single most important factor contributing to a successful mentoring relationship, but one in which we have the least research evidence to provide guidance. It is our contention that there is no single best way to match mentors and protégés that will work equally well for all program purposes and for all organizations. In that vein, this chapter follows 37 38 Matching Mentors and Protégés a somewhat different format from the other chapters. We begin the chapter with an in-depth analysis of the experiences involving matching mentors and protégés reported by organizations operating successful mentoring programs garnered through our case study interviews.

At Miller Brewing Company, a standardized process is used to screen potential protégés, weighing, for example, factors such as Matching Mentors and Protégés 43 potential to advance, diversity issues, interest in development, and ability to participate. From there, protégés report the five issues, out of a list of 20, that they want to work on, and the protégé is then paired with the executive mentor who is most capable of helping the protégé with his or her developmental challenges. Other companies appeared to take a less structured approach to weighing factors and evidence.

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