- What’s required? Effective mentoring requires a commitment of time and skill.
- What You Can Offer. Think about what you have to give in a mentoring relationship.
- Set Expectations. Define expectations and ground rules at the beginning of the mentoring relationship.
- Begin with an introduction. Tell the other person a bit about yourself, both professionally and personally. This helps give the other person some idea of who you are, and it also provides conversation starters.
- Start out right, with goal setting. Take time to listen to each other’s goals for the mentoring relationship. This will allow the scholar to know how you hope to further his/her professional development and career success.
- What Your Scholar Needs. An effective mentor is sensitive to the scholar’s needs.
- Practical Optimism. Project yourself in a positive manner (i.e., as someone interested in supporting your scholar).
- Make Yourself Accessible. If your scholar has made contact, please make every effort to respond within two business days.
- Look ahead at your calendar. Are there any days you know that you’ll be offline or ultra-busy? If so, let the other person know, so they do not expect a timely response.
- What if your scholar is going through a rough time? Be supportive, yet set clear boundaries. As a mentor, you are not expected to be a therapist.
How to Avoid Becoming a Personal Counselor
This one can happen before you even realize it, so discuss some boundaries when you’re setting up the partnership. Effective mentors don’t limit their helping to work-related issues. In fact, the best mentors help mentees with their total life issues and challenges. Yet, they pay attention to “the line.” They resist giving crucial personal advice and counseling especially when the mentee is experiencing big psychological challenges. These can include major marital or family difficulties, drug or alcohol misuse, depression, and other potentially complex and even life-threatening situations.
Preferred response: I’m glad you mentioned ______. I care very much about you and want to support you as you deal with this. As we discussed when we set up our relationship, we may run into something I’m not an expert on. I believe this is one of those situations. How about if we talk with _____ on this and come up with a way you can get the assistance you need?
Taken from the CCC/The Mentoring Group (2002-08)
Please consult Jenny Morris, Community Mentor Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org; 317.955.6185) anytime you believe your scholar is heading into difficult areas. He can direct and connect students to the Learning and Counseling Center where they can receive proper support.