There is a lot of talk at the moment (and for some time to come I am sure) about the dramatic shift to online communicating, connecting and learning. These activities are not new but they are rapidly increasing in importance and presence in our personal and professional lives.
Whether meeting and working together face to face or online, the quality of mentoring to ensure effectiveness of the mentoring experience and outcomes remains the same, i.e.,
- There is a clear purpose for the mentoring support
- The mentor’s high levels of capability and interpersonal skills
- The mentee’s intentions and desire to develop
- The quality of the interactions and connections
As a Mentor:
You still need to fully invest in the relationship with your mentee, help guide them in their quest, be available and willing to suggest actions they can take, strategies to set and achieve their goals, problem solve and make decisions, share your experience and learning, be a role model, be a leader.
As a Mentee:
You still need to actively engage in the mentoring; take responsibility for achieving value-for-time in your meetings through preparation, establishing goals; following through, doing the homework; asking your mentor’s advice or suggestions; be prepared to work through any challenges; develop your self-leadership.
Key tips and templates for your online mentoring to be as successful as face to face meetings:
- Plan each meeting carefully (Developing a Mentoring Plan)
- Structure your meetings to ensure both you and your mentor/mentee achieve value-for-time (Mentoring Meeting Logistics Model)
- Provide reading and other relevant material ahead of time
- Complement each scheduled meeting with follow-up emails, txts, online postings
- Create a list of ‘engagement activities’ to bring a focus to some of your meetings
- Share experience, expertise, learning and resources
- Whether face to face or online, ethics and confidentiality are still central and paramount to successful mentoring (Mentoring Agreement)
The live atmosphere of online mentoring using platforms such as Zoom, Skype, FB Live, Google Hangouts is more relaxing for both mentor and mentee than relying on audio or text-only. It encourages more conversation, better problem-solving and decision-making. It’s much more fun too!
A parting word – don’t stop meeting because of Covid-19. Mentoring is always important.