Being a mentor is a rewarding experience and you will get as much out of the relationship as your mentee does if you do it well. You may need to do a bit of preparation and planning, however, to be able to offer the level of support that your mentee requires understanding their needs at the beginning is a big part of that.
Here are four key areas to plan as a mentor from start to finish to ensure that your relationship is in sync, and you are both benefiting from the process. Confidentiality is a huge part of the mentor-mentee relationship and that needs to be communicated at the outset. This guide is followed by a checklist to make sure that you are organised and on track before the commencement of every phase.
Six-months is generally the norm for most mentor-mentee relationships. This will give you ample time to assess their needs and build up the rapport between you.
At this point of the experience, you will start to plan the logistics and get to know each other better. Do your research and see what you can find out about them before you meet. You will begin to see the common interests in which you can bond and build upon. From here you can start considering when and how often you might want to get together.
While a formal contract may not be necessary, you will need to have an informal chat which covers the basics of the relationships.
- What is the mentee’s objective?
- How regularly do you wish to meet?
There is accountability on both sides when it comes to the mentor-mentee relationship, and you don’t want to risk letting them down with a lack of preparation.
Months 2 – 5
As a mentor, it is in this phase that you will really find your feet. There will be increasing satisfaction as you begin to see changes happening. You will begin to see a natural rhythm of give and take here due to the trust you have developed, and the conversation should flow much easier during this period.
Don’t forget to reflect on and review the learning as you progress during months two to five. Ask questions to ensure that the mentee’s goals are being met. Make sure you find ways to measure success.
- Are they satisfied with the relationship and the knowledge they have gained?
- Are you satisfied?
- Is it working for both of you?
- What changes need to be made?
Remember, it is a two-way street, and everyone needs to benefit from what happens here.
Month 6 is crunch time where you evaluate the experience and decide whether you end the mentor-mentee relationship or continue for another selected period by initiating a new verbal contract. If this is the case, jump back up to month one and go through the steps again.
Go back over the accomplishments and achievements that were made during the last four months in this wrap-up period. Your mentee may be at a point where they no longer need a mentor, and this can be quite an emotional time for you. You have done well if this is where you find yourself.
Allow for feedback as a mentor so you can clearly establish how successful you were in your role.
A New Relationship
The formal mentor-mentee relationship may have ended however a peer relationship based on mutual trust and respect post-mentorship will be there in its place. Perhaps you meet for a coffee every few months just to stay in touch or maybe your meetings are replaced with email updates sporadically to stay in touch.
If your mentee is in a similar field or industry, then it may be a case that you will bump into them regularly as you do the rounds. Again, like the three stages before, plan for this period and ensure you are both on the same page.
Being a mentor is very rewarding and understanding the four stages that you need to plan for will make the relationship easy to navigate. Download the following checklist to go over to help you ensure that you are committed each step of the way.