Once you have found your mentor / mentee, the real work begins! Although the partnership is informal and voluntary, it is important to ensure that it’s SMART:
- Specific – what exactly is it that the partnership is aiming to achieve
- Measurable – how will you know if you’ve achieved success, and what will you do if more work needs to be done?
- Achievable – is it possible to do all the things you’ve said you’re going to do in the time?
- Realistic – are the activities sensible and within the reach of the mentee?
- Timed - put a timescale on activities and agree how long the partnership will last.
By doing this, you are setting out from the start, key objectives, activities, and timeframes to help manage the partnership. The result is therefore far more likely to be successful
Agreeing on timescales and contact
To make sure that the progress of your mentor remains on track, it’s a good idea to put into place regular catch up meetings. This might be something as informal as an email every two weeks, or a face-to-face meeting once a month. The right type of contact will depend on the activity and the amount of support your mentee needs. There might also be times that your mentee needs more contact and support than others, and these can be agreed as the process develops.
You should also be clear on how the mentee should contact you, and how you should contact them. Would you prefer them to email you, call, skype or use other methods? These should be agreed at the start of the process and you should ensure that the method is practical and works for the mentee too. You should also agree on what is an acceptable reason for your mentee to contact you. Some mentors are happy for a mentee to drop them a line at any stage to keep up with progress, others prefer a formal agreement that states how often and when the mentee should get in touch.
Download the following template to help you to draw up your mentoring agreement.