If you’ve set up a mentoring program, it’s likely that you can tackle the agenda for the first meeting. But what do you do after that? Not a clue? Unless your company has a spectacular partnership with a solution-based group like eMentorConnect®, you may be up the creek without a paddle. And yes, even on this blog, shameless self-promotion has its day in the sun occasionally!
Okay, back to the topic at hand. You’re going to need activities! A mentor and mentee can talk, but you’ll need specific prompts to generate relationship building and knowledge transfer. You can even ask them to, dare I say it, do something creative! Maybe even have fun! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Dr. Linda Phillips-Jones suggests you encourage mentors and mentees to discuss their lives as a whole: “Have them picture a perfect week in their lives: Where do they live? What are they doing? Who’s around them? How’s their fitness/health/appearance? What do they own? What are people saying about them?”
- Look over their resumes. It may have been a while since you’ve even touched yours but colleagues new to the industry often send around resumes that need work for years before they figure out how to improve them.
- Let them sit in on an interview you’re conducting. This experience can be invaluable for someone new to the industry. Introduce the mentee but ask them in advance to keep quiet during the interview.
- Introduce them to people in your network. Go to a work mixer together. Mentees can learn a lot from watching how their mentors interact in social business settings.
- Start your own book club! Mentors and mentees can discuss the book together. If a book seems too time-consuming, choose a movie, podcast, or article to share together!
- An activity list from Kansas State University’s College of Business Administration suggests you help your mentee develop an “elevator pitch.” Let them know what would impress you in a quick conversation from a young colleague.
- Have the mentee show the mentor some professional correspondence. Go over conventional wisdom on dos and don’ts regarding emails.
If the mentor is at a loss for other activities, ask the mentees what they’d like to learn. They may have had a recent moment of uncertainty or confusion about something as simple as the copier or as complex as balancing their family and professional responsibilities. Overall, it’s best not to assume there isn’t any knowledge they couldn’t gain or skill they couldn’t improve on. Think of how long you may have gone making simple mistakes in your career until someone finally pointed it out! Empower your mentors by stressing how much knowledge and experience they have that they may not be considering.