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Montana Choice Mentoring Program and Mission

The Montana Choice demonstration project has the goal of demonstrating how community mentors can empower others locally through encouragement and skills transfer both face-to-face and online.

For-profit mentoring services will be created and promoted based on proven mentoring successes which will be initially offered free for the short term to test and validate the quality of your mentoring outcomes. These outcomes will literally become your training products offered for sale. Mentoring is currently something of a national fad though few people know how to mentor effectively. A search for Mentoring Handbook or Mentoring Manual will reveal hundreds of existing such resources.

Your participation in this mentoring program is designed to help you learn how to create a quality, viable mentoring business. With this goal in mind, we hope you’ll devote the time to learn, and to volunteer your services to validate the quality of what you might offer as a business, both face-to-face and online, globally.

Why Mentoring is Important
by Frank Odasz, email: frank@lone-eagles.com

Making a Positive Difference in the Lives of Others

Anyone who has used computers knows the frustration of being stuck without friendly assistance available. Knowing that a single keystroke or something simple is likely to be all the assistance we need, just makes us feel all the more helpless and embarrassed. A major step forward when learning computers is finding someone willing to take the time to kindly answer our questions.

We all have a need to get help from others on occasion, and find we can offer similar help to others, too.  It is important to understand the benefits of sharing what we know in return for what others know. When we’ve struggled to learn something ourselves, we find we understand the frustrations of others.

Our challenge is to find the right balance and not to overwhelm our mentors or to refuse those who need our help. The luxury of having someone who will help us when necessary is something we can repay by helping others.

Mentoring those who need our help has many advantages.

1.      The best way to learn a topic is to teach it.

2.      Great satisfaction comes from helping others.

3.      Effective mentoring can lead to developing for-profit services.

Mentoring in Person Vs Mentoring Online

While we all appreciate how nice it is to have someone helping us in person, mentoring others online can be more easily ongoing and flexible. While not the same as being there in person, with a little care in being clear in our messages we’re able to offer key assistance to people anytime, anywhere, and on an ongoing basis. If both mentor and mentee can demonstrate patience and perseverance exchanging questions and answers via email, there’s no limit to the extent and quality of help than can be exchanged online.

Developing special skills may be required for effective online mentoring for both the mentor and the mentee. Asking good specific questions is important for the mentee, along with having patience knowing that it might take several messages back and forth to hone in on the exact problem. Mentors need to be able to be very specific in their helpful suggestions, knowing better than to assume anything at all.

Often, the encouragement of a mentor to maintain the self esteem of the mentee is more important than the mentor being an expert on technical details. If a mentee gives up, then all learning stops. If a mentor doesn’t know the answer to a question, the mentor can calmly demonstrate the process of researching, troubleshooting, and/or asking someone who might know the answer. Feeling like an idiot when learning computers is very common. Humor can be an effective stress reliever and mentors can demonstrate how they have learned to handle frustration successfully.

When we tense up we don’t learn as well as when we’re at ease, so a mentor’s challenge is to help mentees relax and feel supported. A mentor can guarantee that a mentee will learn in a “mastery learning” format such that all risk of failure disappears.

For more on mentoring go to:
Level Four - Learning-to-Earn for Sustainable Communities

(The Power of Building Online Communities)
Learn about using Internet collaborative tools for Teaching, Mentoring, Groupwork, Relationship-building, and Customer Support. 

Successive Essential Internet Skill Development

Observe how these four successive steps benefit all of us!

1.      As searching skills are developed, citizens gain the ability to gather valuable new resources of benefit to themselves and the community.

2.      As basic web-authoring skills are developed, citizens gain the ability to share unlimited resources with the community and the world in a convenient public manner.

3.      As online collaboration skills are developed, citizens become more connected to their community which creates new opportunities.

4.      As mentoring skills are developed, citizens gain the understanding of how to combine email, searching, and web-authoring skills to share knowledge effectively to make a real difference in the lives of others.

The Four Essential Internet Skills

Level One - Searching and Browsing Skills
(The Power of a Self-Directed Learner)
Successive hands-on experiences are presented to build the basic Self-Directed Internet Learning Skills for web browsing, cut-and-paste, and using search engines to learn anything from anywhere at any time.

 Level Two - Creating Your Own Web Pages
(The Power of Self-Publishing Globally)

Learn the basics of Web Self-Publishing Skills, creating and posting web pages with text, images, and hyperlinks.

Level Three - Communicating and Working Together
(The Power of Building Learning Communities Through Internet Collaboration)
Learn about efficient uses of Online Collaboration Skills. Includes many related resources for advanced learning.

Level Four - Learning-to-Earn for Sustainable Communities
(The Power of Building Online Communities)
Learn about using Internet collaborative tools for Teaching, Mentoring, Groupwork, Relationship-building, and Customer Support. 


Creating Real Value
The impact one person can make on the lives of others is amplified many times by the power of the online medium. The process of creating value, both economic and social is vastly different than what it used to be.

“Information condenses to knowledge which condenses to wisdom,
value is created in a knowledge economy.”


 “Less is More” in the age of information overload.

The Internet provides each of us with the opportunity to make the world a better place, and it is our personal values which determine whether we choose to make a difference.

The greatest potential of the Internet is not what we can take for ourselves, but what we can learn to build together in collaboration with others.

Specific Montana Choice Mentoring Program Options

1.      Independent contracts will be sought locally and regionally for all mentors who qualify by meeting the requirements below.

2.      Mentoring specific to the online course “A Beginner’s Guide to Profiting from the Internet” Rates start at $25/mentee, payable once the mentee has finished all ten lessons or releases the mentor from obligations due to outside circumstances.


Learning How To Mentor
Mentors need to begin with assessing the skills, self-confidence, self-motivation and attitudes of potential mentees. Both mentor and mentee need to be specific about what commitments are required or will be established by both mentor and mentee.

A basic computer skill assessment checklist is recommended as the place to begin. http://lone-eagles.com/basics.htm

Successive Levels of Mentoring Related to the Online Course

1.      Casual Non-committed Mentoring (usually free)
Simple encouragement regarding an open-ended flexible timeline without committing to specific outcomes.

A Sample Informal Mentoring Agreement
I’ll try some of the ten lessons and see how it goes. I’ll take the
                responsibility to be in touch when I need help.

Mentor: I’m available and will wait to hear from you. I won’t pressure you to do
               anything at all.

2.      Formal Mentoring (usually for a fee)
Committing to specific outcomes and a timeline.

A Sample Formal Mentoring Agreement
I agree to do at least one lesson per week until I’m done with the ten

Mentor: I agree to inquire on your progress a minimum of once a week. I’ve
               agreed to assist you in meeting the goal of one lesson per week.
               I’ll be paid $25 for supporting you though the ten lessons, ideally over a
               ten week period, but not to exceed three months unless I agree


Focusing on Measurable Outcomes as Your Training Product


Be Explicit Regarding What Skills Will Be Transferred Per Hour Mentoring

If you plan to eventually be charging for mentoring services then your product is the end result of the new skills mentees will be able to demonstrate after a set amount of your time mentoring. It is recommended you have a checklist detailing what specific skills you will transfer to the mentee for each hour, or even half hour, of active mentoring. See the sample skills checklists for Web Browsing Basics is at http://lone-eagles.com/browse.htm and for Search Engine Basics at http://lone-eagles.com/search.htm


One hour sessions should have explicit skill checklists to be covered so everyone knows exactly what skills will be transferred during that hour and proof needs to be demonstrated that these skills were successfully transferred. Mentees should check off the skills they have learned as they demonstrate them at the end of each mentoring session. You’ll promote your mentoring services by giving out these checklists with your personal guarantee all skills listed will be successfully transferred.


Document All Your Mentoring Successes.

Mentors should receive written validation for all successful skills transfer sessions. Save all mentoring messages in a mailbox or folder using your email program so you can sort these messages alphabetically and/or by date or subject so you can review the full record of your exchanges at any time. You might also save all messages you send to your mentees perhaps by sending yourself a copy of each message and saving them in a folder dedicated to each individual mentee.
You might refer to the online Email and Listserv Skills lesson listed above.


Document Your Expertise and Resources Via a Web Page

Mentors need to demonstrate their expertise by providing a web page listing of free self-directed quality online support tutorials, lessons, and courses for all topics for which they’ll provide mentoring services to supplement their own instruction, and as a service to others. By showing that you have already gathered great resources which you generously offer for free you begin to establish your level of superior expertise. You might reserve your very best resources for your paid mentees, but it is up to you.


Sell Yourself with a Biography Page and Photo

You would be well advised to create a personal biography page so potential mentees can identify with you as a person, and so they can learn a bit about your background. Mentees often prefer someone who is more like them and who understands their fears and lack of self-confidence.


Other options to consider would be for mentors to maintain a biographical web journal with a photograph, a short biographical narrative, and list of skills they offer with corresponding resource web pages. A web journal is ongoing and would allow you to post updates on your ongoing successes. Think of it as a public paper trail of your business growth and for presenting your winning personality in a way that is fun and compelling. Think about what you’d like to find in a mentor. You’ll find there are many very nice ways of presenting yourself professionally online.


Participating in the Mentor’s Cooperative

All mentors participating in Montana Choice training and mentoring programs are asked to contribute to the online community regularly. Many easy but different collaborative tools will be taught to all mentors. Visit the Lone Eagle Self-employment Incubator at http://lone-eagles.oldcolo.com  Use the Internet Explorer browser only to view this site.


Montana Choice will Emarket Your Mentoring Services

While you are welcome to go it alone, the high visibility of the Montana Choice program is an opportunity for you to affiliate with a major national program and to receive considerable free emarketing assistance and media exposure. The success stories we plan to create, and tell, and sell, are limited only by our collective imaginations.


Mentoring Develops Your Collaboration and Knowledge Worker Skills

Mentors are most necessary for those of us who have not yet learned to become self-sufficient learners using the Internet’s ability to search for very specific free self-directed tutorials, lessons, and courses. 

Learning to follow specific written instructions is a skill many of us have yet to learn. In fact, developing the skill to teach ourselves whatever we need to know can become the basis for many types of self-employment. Being able to simplify the process of learning new skills for others is a very competitive business. Effective mentoring can become the basis for offering for-profit services on the Internet.

Knowledge workers are problem solvers and life long learners able to teach themselves whatever they need to know as necessary. Typically, knowledge workers have developed a network of peers who have different areas of expertise. There is nothing easier than asking someone who knows more than you do for advice. But, relying on others requires sensitivity so as not to wear out your welcome. Returning the favor by sharing what you’ve learned is necessary to be fair in relying on the time you’ve requested of others.

Keeping records of your effective mentoring can help you build up a resume showcasing your skills with testimonials from your past mentees proving you can effectively teach others both offline and online.

Mentoring Tools and Building Your Online Collaborative Capacity

Mentoring online holds the opportunity to positively impact the lives of many, many others, particularly if we post our mentoring tips and collected resources where anyone can get to them. Such resources can be online how-to lessons we’re created ourselves, or simple hot-lists of collected tutorials. Messages we write with solutions for one person’s questions can quickly become global resources relevant to everyone who experiences the same question or problem. We can see examples as “frequently asked question,” (FAQ), listings on most technical help sites. The more different collaborative tools we know how to use, the more effective we’ll be in finding solutions for ourselves, and for organizing helpful information for others.

Mentoring tools cover the whole range of collaborative tools on the Internet from simple email and listservs, to bulletin boards, whiteboards, “live” chat, web pages and web tours, conferencing systems, content management systems, and course management systems, etc.. New tools are being created all the time.

Our collaborative skills often begin with regular email between family members. Then expand to include a circle of friends, then grows again to include communities of interest and peer communities.

Communities of interest on the Internet use many different collaborative tools to share information that is of definite common interest. Most of us are familiar with using email and perhaps listservs, also known as mailing lists. But many other collaborative methods and tools exist to efficiently share information and benefit from the expertise of many, many others. Collaborative tools listed at http://lone-eagles.com/collab.htm and at http://lone-eagles.com/mentors.htm

The sophistication of collaborative applications grows to where whole global businesses are run primarily through the web using the best tools for many diverse specific applications.

For any “community of interest” learning to use appropriate collaborative tools can be very powerful. If we all give a little of what we know, we’ll all have access to all our knowledge.

People need to see models of what purposeful groups created to support their cause.


Web sites dedicated to specific causes
http://webactive.com  (Select “Directory” on the left-hand side)
Web-based activism lessons


            Explore the “Core Values” youth project and new community networking
            free tools developed by a ten year National Science Foundation project at


            Lone Eagle’s Community Networking Recommended Readings


Here are two Mentoring programs you might like to review:


I. Disabled Online Users Association (DOUA)
The Disabled Online Users Association (DOUA) was established as a way to bring technology
to the differently-abled and this is where Ebay comes into the picture

DOUA Volunteer Mentors Program

DOUA eBay Mentors Manual - 18 pages.

DOUA Launches Program to Jumpstart Disabled eBay Sellers - Article

II. Montana Association of Workforce Professionals (MAWP)

Mentoring Guide available at
Select Introduction to Mentoring for the 28 page manual

III. Go to http://google.com and search for “Mentoring Manual” to find over 700 hits, and “Mentoring Handbook” for many more. Many will be quite simplistic, but if you take the time to explore, you’re likely to find some real gems. Please share them with the rest of us when you do!

IV. To see how mentoring can grow to including whole online classes, review the many offerings at http://ed2go.com