The first meeting is crucial as it sets the scene.
Things to cover:
- Set the context of use – who, what, where
- Discuss your hopes and fears – both mentor and mentee
- Decide on how, when and where to communicate
- Discuss availability, frequency, and length of time
- Set your boundaries – both mentor and mentee
- Decide on the process and rules
- Discuss the mentee’s objectives both general, and specific
- Decide how the objectives will be reviewed
The mentoring contract
It is worth setting up a “contract” between the mentor and the mentee. This is individually tailored for the relationship. It doesn’t have to be written down but we recommend that you do as it sets the ground rules.
Elements of a mentoring contract should contain:
- Things the mentor will do – support, advise, meet when agreed, listen, ask hard questions, give feedback
- Things the mentor won’t do – be available 24 hours a day 7 days a week, chase you, answer all your questions, guarantee that you will like the feedback
- Things the mentor can do – offer a range of solutions, provide introductions to subjects and pointers, help you learn, help you identify goals
- Things the mentor can’t do – resolve issues for you, teach you everything, force you to do something, do your learning for you
It is equally important to recognise when a mentoring relationship should end. Ideally this will be once the mentee has achieved their goals as set out in the contract. However, it may also end due to:
- Mentee outgrowing the mentor
- Irreconcilable differences (chemistry)
- Inappropriate behaviour by either party
You may choose to create your own contract, or you can use the UXPA UK Mentoring Contract.