Congratulations on your mentoring match! Whether you are new to mentorship or you are a seasoned mentee, there are some simple concepts to keep in mind that can help you get the most out of this experience.

YOUR NEW MENTOR – HOW TO GET STARTED

Contents:

  • What is a Mentor?
  • Your Role and Responsibilities
  • Your Mentorship Timeline

What is a Mentor?

Your mentor is here to support you in your academic and professional development. For many of you, this is probably the first time you’ve had a mentor. Not to fear! This guide will serve as a crash course in knowing what to expect and how to get the most out of your mentorship.

A trusted guide. Not everyone feels comfortable asking for help. Talk to your mentor about what you are interested in learning and be honest about what you don’t know. Your mentor has the benefit of perspective and experience that they can share with you to apply to your own goals and life.

Someone who will listen to you. Your mentor is here to learn about what you need and how their experiences can help you thrive in your academics and career.

Someone who will help you explore opportunities. Expand your community and use this relationship to learn from others. Your mentor can introduce you to new concepts and new ways to think about what you’d like to accomplish.

Someone who will have good ideas about how to deal with difficult situations. Your mentor has likely overcome the same fears, conflicts and difficult decisions while navigating their career. Talk about challenges you’re facing and how you could apply solutions to keep the momentum moving forward.

Your Role and Responsibilities:

The responsibilities of a mentee are simple: have a desire to learn, ask curious questions and continue to develop professionally. Below are a few guidelines to help you put your best self forward during your interactions with your mentor.

Clarify how you will communicate

Review the “Mentorship Agreement” (that will be provided) ahead of your first virtual meeting. Print a copy or have the document on your screen to talk through with your mentor. Be open about how you will communicate and set expectations for what traits are important to you in a mentor. Does your mentor prefer texts, phone calls, email, Skype, Zoom or MS Teams?

Prepare for your meetings and conversations

Use the Meeting Agenda Template (that will be provided) and make sure you follow-through on commitments and identify your key learnings and takeaways. Make a list of questions that you want to ask in advance and always extend a meeting reminder and meeting agenda 2-3 business days in advance. This lets your mentor know that you are taking their time, (and the relationship) seriously. Make sure you take responsibility for scheduling the next meeting before you wrap up your current meeting.

Learn from the whole person

Even if you want your mentors to help with some very specific things, never forget that you can learn so much more if you pay attention to all of the things that make them the person they are.

Your Mentorship:

Before your first virtual meeting be sure to carve out time for personal reflection and really hone-in on some of the areas in your life you want to discuss with your mentor. Do not worry if you aren’t entirely sure of your goals, just come to the first meeting prepared to share your story, your hopes and fears and a bit about your aspirations in life; beyond careers.

Meeting #1 (Get to know each other – let your mentor in)

  • Get to know each other; trust and a positive rapport in any partnership takes time to develop but giving your mentor a sense of who you are will really help them understand how to support you.
  • Review the Mentorship Agreement together
  • Discuss your communication preferences, how you best retain and learn new information and review the Meeting Agenda Template in anticipation of your second meeting.
  • Set your meeting schedule moving forward.

Meeting #2 (Refine and set goals)

  • Discuss any learnings or updates since your last meeting.
  • Discuss goal-setting and decide on 1-3 career or aspirational goals you’d like to work on together.
  • Create a high-level task list to accomplish these goals.
  • Make room to discuss how you are feeling, any obstacles you can foresee getting in the way of you achieving these goals and discuss how to avoid any stumbling blocks (e.g., I don’t have the confidence to apply for my dream job or ask for what I want in my current role or I tend to procrastinate and I’m worried I’m going to leave updating my resume or applying for grad school until the last minute – knowing this your mentor can help work with you on getting ahead of these scenarios by working on your resume at the onset, building your grad school applications well in advance or setting reminders to ask you how it’s coming along to keep you accountable).

Ongoing Meetings #3 through #6

  • Discuss your progress or updates since your last meeting
  • Start checking off tasks for short term goals
  • Consider some activities you can do together:
    • Attend a virtual Alumni Mentors Program Workshop together
    • Discuss any virtual networking opportunities
    • Conduct a virtual mock interview with your mentor
    • Ask your mentor to scan your social media with the lens of a prospective employer to see if any red flags appear.
    • Suggest something that will boost your mental health (e.g., a podcast, a book, a coffee conversation with someone new or an outdoor activity).
  • If your virtual meetings are usually more formal, switch it up and connect virtually over coffee, lunch or breakfast.

Final Meeting (Typically the 6-8th meeting depending on your frequency)

  • Reflect on the goals or progress were able to accomplish together.
  • Provide feedback on the mentorship experience.
  • Discuss how you will remain connected moving forward.
  • Gratitude and conclusion of formal mentorship.

 

For questions, feedback or additional resources, please contact the Alumni Mentors Program Coordinator at jennifer.gray@carleton.ca