Imagine where you could be at in your career right now if a good mentor had worked with you a year ago, or two years ago, or five years ago. Most of us believe in the power of mentoring, but the fact remains that few of us have mentors. Why is that?

Finding a good mentor is hard. Most of us find mentors by chance or luck. It takes time to discover someone and build the relationship, some degree of chemistry, and a lot of luck. Or does it?

The Mentoring Experiment

Mentoring doesn't seem like a process that can be scaled to large numbers of people, but that's one of the goals of our experiment. We're going to leverage our industry experience and networks to try to match mentors and mentees on a larger scale.

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How are we going to do it? We are conducting a four month cycle of mentoring between mentors we know and a series of applicants. We're going to review the applications and match a subset of the ones we receive to a group of mentors that we've invited to participate.

Over the course of four months we're going to monitor how those mentoring relationships evolve to find the answers to a lot of questions, such as:

  • Are there common questions/lessons that we need to teach mentors?
  • Are there common questions/lessons that mentees ask that we could convert to online lessons, making the actual conversations more productive?
  • How much does chemistry matter?

In October 2011 we're going to do a group interview with our mentors, review notes from the mentees, and then decide if there is enough value in this approach to launch a second and larger set of mentoring pairs.

If you would like to find a mentor, fill out this short application before April 30, 2011. For this first experiment (Round #1) we're only accepting applications from IT professionals working with SQL Server. Please understand that we may not be able to match everyone with a mentor during the first round, but please submit an application if you are interested , it will help us understand the level of interest in this approach.

Steve & Andy