So you’ve had a few meetings with your mentor (or mentee) and likely worked through your first meeting checklist.
That means you’ve covered the basics: you understand your mentoring partner’s background, experience, expertise, expectations, and goals. If you’re struggling with the latter, you can get help setting your goals with Mentorloop’s smart goal-setting feature. This will help you both identify what success looks like for your partnership, ensure you’re on the same page, and build and maintain momentum together.
After you’ve gone through these exercises and had your first few meetings, however, it’s not uncommon that pairs get stuck—especially those that are new to mentoring. But don’t worry! Whether you’re at a loss regarding what to talk about or tackle next, or simply need some extra structure to your meetings in order to get the most out of them, our session guides are here to help.
The following four-session guides will help you keep up the good work by providing you with some structure for the next four sessions with your mentor or mentee, ensuring you feel confident, productive, and get the most possible out of your mentoring catch-ups.
4 session guides
You can use these session guides interchangeably, they don’t necessarily need to go in any specific order; use whichever one feels appropriate and/or as needed.
1. The Storyteller
Our brains love good storytelling. That’s because narratives are compelling, but also because they can actually change our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours.
Not only can a story be inviting and exciting, but it can also better sustain a mentoring partner’s attention than some other methods, and can more effectively inspire your mentor or mentee to take action.
This type of approach is best for those who benefit from a free-flowing exchange. Offering stories can mean offering insights for your partner’s development. Remember, sometimes the best mentor is someone who shares experience rather than simply giving direct advice.
2. The Guru
Self-awareness is incredibly important to a mentoring relationship. After all, if you’ve signed up to impart your professional wisdom to someone else, you need to be in touch with how you yourself have arrived at this point in your career and what steps you took—both personally and professionally—to get there.
Similarly, if you’ve signed up to receive this professional wisdom, it’s important to do some digging in order to uncover why, at this moment in time, you’ve made this decision. What about your personal and/or professional situation has led you to seek out mentorship and take the next step in your career?
Start by having your mentoring partner ask how you think others/the world perceives you. How do your actions and communication impact the way others see you? What do you like about that perception, and what don’t you like? Where do your strengths lie? Your weaknesses?
After you’ve gone through this exercise, switch roles—now it’s your turn to ask your mentoring partner the same set of questions in order for you both to achieve a more clear sense of self-awareness.
3. The Situation
(Sorry for the corny title—and GIF—I couldn’t help myself.)
While this isn’t a Jersey Shore style of mentoring, it is about situational awareness and using situations as a mentoring opportunity.
During this type of session, have each participant bring some situations to the table. If you’re the mentee: bring some past situations you could have handled better, or current challenges you’re facing that you’d like advice/input on. If you’re the mentor, share specific situations that have morales directly related to your mentoring partnership’s objectives/goals.
4. The Skill-Builder
Use your mentor as a magical mirror—they might be able to see things you cannot.
After you’ve reviewed your strengths and weaknesses, focus on how exactly you can build up perceived weaknesses via both hard and soft skills. Which hard skills can you learn to take your professional game to the next level? What ‘soft’ skills (leadership, confidence, organisation, etc.) can you improve on? What steps should you take to better yourself in each category?
Work S.M.A.R.T., Not Hard
Whichever session style and guide you choose to implement in your next mentoring meeting, ensure your goals are S.M.A.R.T. That’s to say, the feedback you’re providing is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. This will help both mentor and mentee be more clear on where your mentoring relationship stands and how it’s progressing towards your shared goals.
You can support your organisation by building a culture of mentoring – why not share this with your people-first advocate, today?