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Mentoring Program Important Tips

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  • Express your capabilities and what you can offer as a mentor early on
  • Specify your goals at the start of the mentorship
  • Be available for your mentee, initiate contact and encourage discussion
  • Initiate contact. Spend minimum 30 minutes a week
  • Communicate honestly with your mentee
  • Think outside the box, connect mentee with others in industry
  • Set aside time to understand your mentee and communicate honestly
  • Help to connect the mentee with peers in the professional community
  • Be patient with mentee’s development and progress


  • Be upfront with your mentor in stating your goals and aspirations
  • Commit time to pursue identified developmental plans or activities
  • Communicate with your mentor and actively steer your partnership
  • Respect your mentor and their time
  • Provide alternate methods of development to your mentor
  • Take time to get to know your mentor aside from mentorship
  • Understand that obstacles may arise and can be overcome

In preparation for your first session, mentees should take some time to consider the following:

  • Think about your own experiences. List and describe the skills you have, and think about these as strengths that can assist your mentee.
  • Who takes the initiative – you or them?
  • Where do you meet – in work or out of work? Do you go to them or do they come to you?
  • Agree on how long the first meeting will be in advance. It is good discipline to show that you are going to time manage the meetings productively from the start.
  • Prepare a list of three or four things to talk about to get the conversation going. Make these fairly neutral in the first instance so that you can break the ice and make the mentee comfortable.
  • Prepare a short introduction about yourself to provide the mentor with some background on your education and/or employment history.
  • Take time to find out about your mentor and prepare some questions to help you get to know his or her perspectives on matters of interest.
  • Talk to other people who have been part of a mentoring program. They can share relevant skills and experiences.
  • Think about your own experiences, list and describe the skills you have, and be prepared to talk about your goals and aspirations.
  • Reflect on what developmental plans you may need in order to reach your goals and aspirations and how mentoring can help.  Be prepared to discuss this with an open mind.
  • Prepare to actively listen more than you talk.
  • It is good practice to discuss and get some broad agreement early on about the basic meeting structures in the future – what you’re going to talk about, what are you going to tackle, and so on. This helps set context and scope.
  • How often should meetings take place?  Where and when are you going to meet?  How long will you meet for?  When will you revise progress?
  • Are your sessions going to be general, free-flowing discussions, or are they going to be more structured?
  • Will sessions be formal or informal?  Do you want to have an agenda?  Should records be kept?
  • Discuss how much initiative the mentee will take, and how much you will want or need the mentor to take going forward.
  • Seek agreement on what each session is going to be about at the outset.
  • Who takes charge, or takes the lead in setting the agenda
  • Should records be kept?
  • Does the mentee prefer the mentor to take a directive style or a low key style?
  • How much responsibility or initiative will the mentee take, and how much will they want or need the mentor to take?

The first time you meet can be a time of nervousness or apprehension for both parties. The best way of dealing with this is good preparation. The first time you meet may set the mood and the ethos for future meetings.

Field of Interest

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