Making the Most of Mentor Meetings

March 29, 2017

"The great dividing line between success and failure can be expressed in five words: 'I did not have time'." – Franklin Field

mentor meeting

Book the Time for Your Mentor Meeting Upfront 

How many times have you postponed a meeting, event, or activity because it wasn’t booked into your calendar… and someone else booked over it?

If you’re anything like me, probably a lot. Too many times to count.

Follow up question: how many times was the original thing you meant to do postponed indefinitely?

For me, once again, the answer is “almost every time.”

You already know this - and your mentors and mentees do too – but the most efficient way to ensure that mentors and mentees actually meet is to book the time upfront. Don’t look at it as getting them to commit to something “extra” week after week; this is all about setting a habit. After the third or fourth meeting, their mentor meetings will be ingrained in their schedules, and it will no longer feel like a strange occurrence. 

What does it take to get them to make their mentor meetings a habit? 3 steps:

  1. Identify how often they will meet
  2. Determine where and when they will meet
  3. Put all their meetings on the calendar so that other activities don’t take over that time. 

As we all know, we can pretty much guarantee that if it’s not there, someone else is going to take that space, and your mentors and mentees won’t meet – let alone meet enough times for it to become a habitual thing for them.

Have an Agenda for Your Mentor Meeting

Once it’s in the calendar, the trick is keeping each mentor meeting focused and productive. We’ve all seen the plethora of articles circulating about the inefficiency of meetings in organizations, and the number one solution in each article is to set an agenda.

It’s no different here. Each mentoring meeting should have an agenda, so the time mentors and mentees are spending together is efficient and focused.

These agendas can be very simple as long as mentors and mentees are sticking to the learning plan and goals they set out in their first mentor meeting:

  1. Check in from last meeting, 
  2. Discuss what’s been accomplished
  3. Action steps for going forward. 

Do be sure to encourage mentors and mentees to make the most of the time they meet by knowing ahead of time what they’ll be discussing, and having the necessary documents to support that discussion – as well as any technology prepared for a virtual meeting.

Virtual Mentoring is Still a Mentoring Meeting

We use GoToMeeting, Skype, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, and any number of other video conferencing technologies in the workplace for business meetings – and we still consider them meetings.

Virtual mentoring doesn’t only have to apply to mentors and mentees who are part of a distance mentoring scheme – especially if one or both mentoring partners travel for business often, it can be difficult to schedule face-to-face meetings, and in these cases virtual mentoring can be an excellent way to ensure that regular mentoring meetings occur.

Just remember to stick to preparing an agenda beforehand!

Learn about how mentoring training can assist you with managing your mentoring program - including helping your mentors and mentees make time for mentoring.

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