Monday, May 13, 2013

Setting up the mentoring meetings

Sometimes a "how to" helps. After all the discussions around style, preference and comfort levels, eventually you have to book the party room and set the menu.

So assuming you've found a mentor and are now ready to make the most of the precious hours you'll have together, here's a few thoughts around how to organize the time in general.

  • Establish that you drive the agenda. It's your career, your questions and your party :-)
  • Have an open discussion in the first meeting to ask each other: what do you each want to accomplish per session? How often to meet? What contact between meetings?
  • Set time at the beginning of each meeting to establish your goals for the mentoring period
    • Set more time in the first meeting to discuss
    • Set shorter time in subquent meeting to review - what are the milestones each month? how are things progressing?
  • Review your long-term career goals - either that you've drafted them or that you're hoping your mentor will help you figure them out
  • Bring a personal value statement /philosophy on leadership (what topics will you need to explore together to finalize that statement?)
  • Explore two "pins in the map" of where you see yourself in 10 years ... one if you continue on your current path and one if you took a big leap of faith
    • Create an action plan of how you might get to either pin
  • Work together to think about what kinds of introductions you require to fill out your network to support your plans
  • Explore the types of roles and challenges you should consider that will build /strengthen your skills - keeping the focus on what you love to do
If you're particularly worried about how to come across effectively at the very first meeting, there are many sites out there that outline the first meeting well. Here's a few I've used but feel free to find more.

Whether your mentor is experienced or new to mentoring, remember: this is about you. It's a journey you'll go on together. New or experienced, good mentors all will go with your flow so you'll get out what you're willing to put in :-) 

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