Whether you're a pro at mentoring, haven’t mentored in a while, or find yourself on the eve of your first time being a mentor, it’s always good to have a few key steps in mind during the initial meeting with your mentee. Observe the value and limits of the mentorship. In your first meeting, your mentee will be sharing their challenges and goals with you. You’re not expected to solve all of their challenges right away, but being aware and guiding them in the right direction is the ultimate goal so think about which areas you’re able and prepared to offer support in.
Here are a few easy steps to guarantee both mentors and mentees leave their first meeting happy.
Take a moment to introduce yourself and share relevant information and experiences. This will ensure your mentee is aware that you understand what they are looking for from you.
Select priority goals and first steps that you and your mentee have established. Develop a plan and guide them in the right direction. If there’s an issue you cannot help with, point them towards alternative resources, if possible. Remember, it will be up to your mentee to decide how to integrate your guidance in their own way.
Review and confirm that the strategy is acceptable to your mentee and is attainable. Ensure they have their questions and doubts answered. You always have the option of leaving them with a clear task list of homework to solve their challenge. Also, take the time to confirm that the meeting was what they expected. Ask them if they got the answer they were looking for and adjust your next meeting accordingly.
Even though your mentee is seeking your time and knowledge and is responsible for scheduling meetings, don’t hesitate to reach out to them. Especially if you don’t hear from them within the confirmed time frame. Sometimes mentees get nervous and it can be helpful if you are willing to confirm your willingness to help. That ensures that the relationship retains momentum. If you decide to schedule more meetings, review your progress and ask if your mentee wants any clarity or feedback.
Once you’ve completed your initial meeting, consider and acknowledge opportunities for your own enrichment. Mentors often find value in the fresh perspectives of mentees. Feel proud of yourself - you took valuable time to help someone else grow professionally and personally. By doing this you’re joining a long tradition of knowledge sharing that is a critical part of the growth of our society.