This final post on mentoring addresses the specifics that must be thought through before a mentoring relationship is established. These items should be considered regardless of whether you intend to mentor someone or be mentored by someone. They help to frame the relationship in terms of expectations and accountability. When you seek a mentor it would be helpful to think through these items to help define the rules of engagement.
Your prospective mentor may not go to this detail but you should. If you mentor someone, you should come to conclusions on each of the ten issues that follow so that the parameters of a successful encounter are established in advance and in accordance with your preferences.
You can also use the list that follows as talking points in your initial interview with a prospective mentoree or mentor.
Jointly agree on the purpose of the relationship.
(Present the objective(s) for the mentoring relationship. Determine the type of mentor needed. Identify the area(s) that need to be addressed.)
Set the criteria for evaluation.
(What will a successful outcome look like? How will you know the objective(s) have been accomplished? Have the mentoree describe what they hope to accomplish.)
Determine the regularity of interaction.
(Should be a minimum of twice a month. Could be more depending on the needs of the mentoree and the availability of the mentor. Should begin as a 3-month trial.)
Determine accountability parameters.
(Honesty, vulnerability, accountability and whatever else is required by the mentor and agreed upon by the mentoree. What accountability parameters will be applied?)
Set up communication mechanisms.
(Email, phone, face-to-face, Skype, etc. —whichever is the most convenient. At least one face-to-face meeting is required per month in addition to second or additional meetings by phone and/or email.)
Clarify the level of confidentiality.
(What is shared on a personal level must remain confidential unless it is of a legal nature (i.e., abuse of any kind, a crime, etc.)
Set the life cycle of the relationship.
(Three months for a preliminary timeframe at the end of which each of you should evaluate the relationship. If you are in agreement to continue set an end date not to exceed 6 additional months—a total of 9 months).
Evaluate the relationship from time to time.
(Recommend an evaluation every two to three months).
Modify expectations to fit the real-life mentoring situation.
(If an issue or concern arises that needs more focused attention the mentor and mentoree should decide whether the parameters of mentoring need to be changed).
Bring the mentoring relationship to a close.
(Celebrate the completion of the journey. Have the mentoree write about the experience and what was accomplished).
I hope this post and the posts on mentoring have been helpful to you in formulating your plans to be mentored and to mentor others. Mentoring was obviously a subject or great interest to many of you. Remember, those who finish well have had anywhere from 10 to 15 significant mentors in their life (intensive/intentional, occasional, and passive).
To be continued with a new subject area…