Self Match empowers your Participants to find their own matches. While this takes the pressure off the Program Coordinator to manually match people, it also means you have less control over matching, and places the responsibility with the mentors and mentees.
Less control does not mean less visibility, however. The Self Match activity tab helps you track the status of matching and brings to your attention anyone who may need your help to move through the mentoring milestones. It also helps you gather insight to drive your program growth.
So, whether your program has just launched or it's in full swing, we encourage you to regularly run an eye across your Self-Match activity tab. Let's take a look and what you should be looking for and how to find it.
Understanding Declined Mentoring Requests
Find out who has declined mentoring requests using the filters to see if someone is repeatedly declining requests or if people are struggling to find a match. Ensure that those who may need help are reached out to and supported.
Here are some common reasons why someone might decline requests, and how to help them:
Skills don't match
Depending on your overarching program objectives, skills may be a crucial matching criteria, and a valid reason for someone declining a request. If so, you may need to reach out to individuals who are being declined for this reason, reminding them consider the skills in mentors' profiles before making a request. You can help all participants do this by customising the various in-app messages in your program settings, such as the dashboard introduction message and Program Coordinator welcome message.
If skills are not a necessary matching criteria for your program goals, your participants may need help adopting an open mindset to mentoring . Help them consider the variety of ways in which someone could help them or they can help others by sharing helpful Mentorloop resources, such as this article - What is your Mentor Style?
No time capacity
If someone is repeatedly declining mentoring requests because they don't have time, remind them how to make themselves unavailable to match requests. This avoids disappointment of the person requesting them and saves them time in finding a match. When they're in a better position for mentoring, they can simply make themselves available again.
Whether mentoring is taking place in person or virtually, location and time zones may make mentoring tricky if they don't overlap. Make sure location is being collected in your signup form and send a bulk message to those making the declined requests reminding them to consider this information when finding a match.
Don't think I can help
As mentioned above, there are many ways in which a mentor can help a mentee, however, these aren't always obvious, especially to those who are new to mentoring. A mentor doesn't have to have walked the exact same path a mentee is looking to follow. In fact, it's impossible to be the case. Instead, encourage your participants to embrace the different ways in which they can help each other by asking big questions and active listening, being a voice of encouragement or providing accountability.
Guide your mentors and mentees to check out the Mentorloop Academy for inspiration on how to make the most of mentoring.
Sometimes the reason why someone declines a request is unknown. It may not be cause for concern, however, it is worth reaching out to these individuals in case there is more to the story that requires your attention or they need more support in finding a suitable match.
Finding Your Most Sought-After Mentors
There may be particular mentors on your program who are receiving a huge number of mentoring requests. This shows that the mentees clearly see a lot of value in connecting with them. It may also bring with it some challenges, however.
Find your most sought-after mentors by sorting your 'Respondents' by popularity within the Self Match Activity tab. From there, you can reach out to them to see how they're going, if they have the mentoring capacity for multiple connections, if they need help etc.
On the other hand, if there are some mentors left without any requests, you may want to step in to support by creating loops manually from the Loops tab.
An Imbalanced Number of Mentors and Mentees
The Self Match Activity tab will help you identify which mentors are receiving the most requests. Now would be a good a time to visit the Participants tab to see how many mentors and mentees you have. It may be that you may have an imbalanced ratio of mentors to mentees. This isn't uncommon, and there are things you can do to manage uneven numbers of participants.
Your Match Rate Percentage
Your program's match rate tells you how many people have been successful in finding a mentor or mentee, and can be found on your dashboard. If your match rate isn't where you'd like it to be, gathering the above insights from your Self-Match Activity and Participants tab will help you identify why people may be struggling to find suitable matches and increase your program's match rate.
And there you have it, a whistle stop tour of how to stay in the driving seat of a Self-Match program and support your participants through the matching milestone!