You’ve got expectations for your mentoring. And your mentee also has an understanding of what to get out of being mentored. But do these line up? We provide you with a contract for you and your mentee to complete in your very first session together to help clarify any misconceptions from the start. This contract can also be seen as the ‘Ground Rules’ for your mentoring relationship and will vary from one mentoring match to another.
The following items are some ‘must haves’ when it comes to talking about expectations, but can also be great conversation starters themselves when it comes to those awkward silences in your first session!
Practicalities: When, where and how will you meet? And how often will this be? Are there any times when either mentor or mentee would not like to be contacted? Are you happy to agree to contacting each other in between your agreed mentoring sessions?
LifeXchange wisdom advises to agree to a realistic number of meetings that you can reliably and consistently stick to for the duration of your mentoring relationship. Make sure that your mentee can access the agreed meeting place (whether in person, or virtually), and isn’t just agreeing with you for ‘niceness’ sake! It is personal preference when it comes to contact outside your agreed sessions, but it is vital to state this from the beginning.
Communication: What purpose will this mentoring relationship revolve around? Are there any particular goals to tackle, or is it general support? What can you as the mentor offer when it comes to support for your mentee?
LifeXchange advises that any goals put on the table come from the mentee, and remain the ownership of the mentee. Mentors cannot fix their mentee’s problems, but can just be a trusted voice that can offer guidance, instruction and encouragement as the mentee takes steps towards their vision.
Expectations: What can you as the mentor not offer or do for your mentee? What is your mentee expecting from you?
As above, LifeXchange advises you to openly explain that you cannot fix or solve your mentee’s problems. Another surprisingly vital expectation to clarify from the start is that you cannot give or loan or provide any other financial assistance to your mentee. Lastly, listen to your mentee’s requests from you, so that you can agree to what support you can provide, or correct their expectations should they be expecting something from you that you are not able to do.
Well, this is where mentoring comes into its’ own. We, as mentors, will always be the ones to take the initiative to keep the relationship going. We continue to make contact and arrange future meetings, despite a missed session or two. If a conflict arises, great mentors are the first to reach out and try to understand their mentee’s behavior and communication. For the duration of our commitment, we stick to our mentees, knowing that the more belief we have in their potential, the more they will live up to it.