The global pandemic marked a new era for professional life as we know it. We all had to switch to a virtual world. Video calls became the only option and mentoring, just like everything else, had to become virtual. Mentoring sessions took place over the phone or video call, instead of face-to-face.
Now, after so many months, many of us have become accustomed to remote communication tools, making the transition to mentoring via virtual tools feel completely natural.
We've discovered in fact that virtual mentoring can be just as impactful, as long as it's well planned, managed, and both the mentor and mentee are on the same page. In fact, not only is virtual mentoring a good alternative to in-person mentoring, it also has many benefits of its own
1. Benefit: Unrestricted by Location
This is a big one. Virtual mentoring offers more flexibility. You can talk to your mentor from anywhere you want. That means your mentor doesn't have to be in your city or even your country. With location taken out of the picture, you can focus on finding a mentor, based only on your professional needs.
And of course, speaking to mentors remotely can sometimes be a more comfortable, alternative and might be less intimidating.
2. Benefit: More Time-Efficient
Let's face it, jumping on a call for 30 minutes from home is far more time-effective than meeting a mentor for coffee on a working day. Virtual mentoring sessions can happen from anywhere, and so are easier to schedule and eliminate travel time.
3. Benefit: Multiple Mentors
You can even use all that time that you are saving to meet with other mentors. Why? Every mentor has their own area of expertise. Having multiple mentors will help you perform your best in all areas of your life.
4. Benefit: Meetings can be Recorded
A video call can be recorded, so you can re-watch it any time you want. (Note: Always ask for permission to record your meetings). This also means you can focus on the conversation and the ideas without worrying that you've missed taking down an important note or idea.
Question: In-Person vs Virtual
Ok, so those are the benefits... But is it as effective as in-person mentoring? The answer is yes - as long as you plan to make it work. Here are a few tips:
1. Tip: Cameras on
If you have the choice, always go for a video call rather than a phone call and leave your camera on. Mentoring is all about human connection, so being able to see each other is very important. It makes both participants feel more comfortable.
2. Tip: Make sure you have a Good Connection
We're talking about the technical kind! Remember to always check your internet connection before a meeting to make sure you won’t have any issues during the session. If you can, have a backup plan just in case. For example, if the wifi is glitching it’s nice to have the option to use your phone data.
3. Tip: Establish Expectations
A healthy way to start a virtual mentorship program is to establish expectations from the very start. The goals must be clear to all participants, the frequency of the meetings should be set from the beginning and the amount of preparation for each subsequent meeting should be discussed. Mentoring works best when both parties understand and agree on what each of them wants and is able to offer and also agree on how they are going to work together to meet those goals.
4. Tip: Minimize Distractions
Give your undivided attention to virtual mentoring meetings. That means turning off or muting your phone, closing all other programs on your computer, and turning off notifications.
If you follow all these tips, virtual mentoring becomes a flexible and time-efficient way to expand opportunities and knowledge. Whether you're in a virtual mentorship because of the pandemic or because your mentor lives hundreds of miles away from you or just because you decided that the flexibility of virtual meetings fits better into your life; know that it. can be just as powerful as in-person mentorships.
Join Upnotch today and start your new mentorship journey, virtual or not!