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Mentoring…The first meeting

Two women sitting side by side at a desk in an office.

You’ve volunteered to be part of the 2024 Socitm Mentoring Programme. What next?

Aidan Matthews has put together a few things to think about to get you started

There’s a webinar on Friday 7 June to mark the formal start of this year’s programme. Do join that if you can.

Still on the fence?

Volunteers are being introduced as mentors and mentees, and there’s time for you to take part as well. Read more about this year’s programme and if you’re still a little insure about what’s involved and whether you have time, the webinar next week is perfect for you.

The type of conversations and challenges that you can set each other will be unique to you and your mentor/mentee.

It is a little step into the unknown and it could be tricky at first. But you’ll be fine and we’re here to support you both if/as necessary.

The key issues to consider when meeting with your mentor for the first time:

  1. Preparation
    It’s a good idea for the mentor and mentee to give some thought to the mentoring process prior to the first meeting.
    Think about the time commitment. As a rough guide, the mentoring process usually consists of 2-3 hours effort each month. [See note below.]
    Have an agenda (it doesn’t have to be long) for each meeting. This can be used formally or informally to provide a framework for each session.
  2. Development over time
    It’ll take time for the relationship between mentor and mentee to develop. Ensure enough time is allowed in the initial stages to develop trust while working together. Share each other’s experiences to help build the relationship.
    It is important to understand that the mentor-mentee relationship develops over time, and as the relationship broadens and deepens, discussion topics will also expand.
  3. Ground rules
    It’s useful to establish ground rules for the mentoring process and your relationship. You may wish to draw up a ‘contract’ of agreement for the duration of the mentoring period.
    The type and formality of the ground rules will very much depend on the mentee and mentor relationship. The ground rules should not turn the mentoring process into a bureaucratic one.

A sample checklist for your first meeting

  • Where will you meet and for how long?
  • What do you need to know about each other
    • Social:
      • career history
      • domestic circumstances
      • interests outside work
    • Career ambitions
      • what you enjoy/dislike
      • where you want to be in 5 years
      • greatest achievements/failures
      • how you see success
      • how clear the mentee’s career goals are
    • Development goals
      • what the mentee wants to improve in for the current job
      • where the mentee would most value guidance/advice/a sounding- board
  • What will make this a satisfying/useful relationship for both of us?
  • What expectations do you have of each other (see ground rules)?
  • What are the priorities?
  • How often and where will you meet?
  • Do you want to set an agenda for the next meeting?
  • Are there any issues to work on now?

Note about the time commitment

We’re recommending up to 6 hourly meetings between now and November 2024. Exactly how much time you want to give this programme is of course up to you.

At the end of the programme and year

Please join Alumni Day online on Thursday 28 November.