Once You're Matched With a Mentor, What's Next?

April 01, 2016
As a mentoring program administrator, you have probably already invested a lot of time in matching mentors, now how do you keep the relationship alive, and make sure the mentee receives the learning that they need? We interviewed Stephen Grindrod, Managing Director of Career Services and Judy Corner, Subject Matter Expert in Mentoring to give their viewpoints and insights on the best practices to do that, based on the number of years them working closely with organizations launching their mentoring programs.
Mentor matching Mentor matching
  • Now that a mentee and mentor have been matched, what’s the next step?

    Make sure that mentor and mentee receive the training needed to fulfil their role. This should include information about your mentoring process, role definitions and what they need to do during relationship. The mentee will first need to reach out to their mentor to schedule their first meeting; and when doing so should have an idea on what they want to get out of the relationship. This includes specific learning goals or their next career move.
  • What are some of the roles of both parties in the relationship?

    The mentees role is to drive the relationship while the mentor’s role is to guide the learning. The mentor should be willing and able to support the mentee with their learning needs. The mentor should have all the competences needed to be a mentor.
  • How should the first meeting be structured?

    First off, they need to agree where to meet. During the meeting they should have access to “the mentoring agreement”. This agreement is an informal contract that will create an agenda for the pair to agree on how the relationship is going to move forward. For example, they may discuss the frequency of their meetings, confidentiality parameters, what learning will be achieved, and how long the relationship will be. The first meeting should also include getting to know each other. This is crucial to building trust and rapport.
  • How do you measure the progress of the mentee’s learning?

    We recommend the mentee creating a learning plan that includes defined goals and actions, during each meeting they should discuss the goals and actions and update their progress. The goals should be SMART. (A mnemonic acronym pertaining to personal development planning; stands for Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic and Time-Related.)
  • What are the phases in the relationship?

    • Phase I - Goal Setting The first phase of the mentoring partnership, Goal Setting consists primarily of determining the potential need and/or worth of such a partnership.
    • Phase II – Initiation The second phase, Initiation, begins with a pairing of you with a potential mentee. At this point, the mentee Is the one in need of support and guidance, and you as the mentor, have the potential to supply it.
    • Phase III - Cultivation The third phase of the mentoring partnership is Cultivation. This is a time, in which the partnership builds and grows. It is here that you supply the bulk of the development and the direct instruction.
    • Phases IV and V - Separation and Redefinition Phases four and five consist of Separation and Redefinition, respectively. Separation begins as the mentee gains increased confidence and independence in exercising his/her abilities. As new, unfamiliar situations and problems are encountered, the mentee now seeks first to find a solution independently and then to review and confirm the selected option with you.
  • What if the mentee feels like the relationship is going nowhere?

    There could be many reasons a mentee might not feel completely satisfied with their mentor, and this should be addressed as soon as possible to avoid wasting time. The mentee should look back to the mentoring agreement and try to figure out what it is that just isn’t working out. For instance, it could be the frequency of meetings are not being fulfilled, or perhaps maybe the goals aren't being achieved. Sometimes the personality types may clash or maybe the mentor doesn’t possess the required experience needed to support the mentee in that field. If the issue cannot be resolved between mentor and mentee, the mentee should seek the help of the program administrator to possibly end the relationship and reassign a new mentor.
  • How long should the relationship last?

    We recommend the relationship last as long as it takes the mentor to achieve agreed goals. Maybe the mentee is aiming for a promotion, in which case the relationship might last a little longer. It could be possible the mentee is only looking to learn a specific skill, which wouldn’t take nearly as long. We see relationships from 3 months to 2 years depending on the needs of the mentee.
  • How do you come to an end of the relationship?

    When the mentee feels they have accomplished all of their goals, then they need to discuss with the mentor and come up with a way to transition the relationship. They may still keep in touch; however it could be far less formal. The mentee might end up staying close with the mentor throughout their career or they may move on to a new mentor with new requirements. Overall the mentee should be grateful and thankful for the mentor’s guidance, and let the program administrator know how successful the partnership was through answering surveys or through contacting the admin personally.

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