Snapshot of a Mentoring Meeting

If you are new to mentoring, it can be a bit daunting to know how to get started. How will you use the mentoring meetings so that both of you achieve value-for-time?

And if you are finding that your meetings seem to lack a clear purpose, direction or flow, putting a meeting structure in place can be really helpful.

The following ideas are taken from my mentor scenario and mentee scenario handbooks. There are tips for what to do and talk about in your first meeting, suggested steps for creating a mentoring plan to guide your meetings and a meeting structure that you may find useful to apply.

Tips for your first meeting

  • Establish the parameters or boundaries of the partnership. This may include role definition, need for commitment from both partners, confidentiality
  • Both mentee and mentor clarify their expectations of the purpose and process of the mentoring/mentoring meetings
  • Set agreed ground rules
  • Decide on the structure for the meetings; for example, what to begin with each time you meet, each meeting includes a review of goal achievement by the mentee
  • Mentee identifies their goals for development which the mentoring can support
  • Decide on the meeting processes such as frequency of meetings, venue, length of meeting, who will organise the meetings
  • If desired, sign a mentoring contract which identifies the roles and responsibilities of the mentee and the mentor and establishes an agreed purpose, process and structure for the mentoring partnership

Steps in Developing a Mentoring Plan

  1. Consider the purpose of the mentoring partnership that you are entering into
  2. Think about what you want to achieve through mentoring, whether you are the mentor or the mentee. What will you aim to achieve? What outcomes will indicate you have achieved this?
  3. Begin to plan how the partnership will proceed. What challenges might you expect in the beginning? What strategies will help manage or avoid these challenges?
  4. A good idea is to create a time-line together, in the beginning of the partnership. Within this time-line, list milestones, indicators of progress, actions steps and expected completion dates for achievement of identified goals

Suggested Structure

First 10 minutes: Each partner talks about ‘what’s on top’ for them – what’s front of mind, what has been happening since the last meeting.

Next 40 minutes: Focus the conversation on the purpose of the mentoring support agenda. This might involve reviewing goals and actions taken since the last meeting, discussing a particular topic, exploring an issue, sharing knowledge.

Final 10 minutes: Review how the meeting has worked and decide on any actions each partner intends to take before the next meeting. Set a time and date for the next meeting.