Structure can be valuable, but when you have too much, it can take away from the magic that happens when a mentee is given the space they need to share or ask questions. For this reason, we try to provide just enough structure so you feel comfortable and confident in your role as a mentor or mentee. You can find information about the structure we recommend in our mentor guide and mentee guide
For the first mentoring session, we recommend the using this time to get to know one another, focussing on the areas a mentee is needing support and how a mentor can provide relevant support. From here, we recommend letting the sessions flow and asking questions to pull out the topics that need to be discussed at the time. Feel free to check out our mentor and mentee guidelines for more information.
We recommend a minimum of 4x1 hour meetings throughout the 3 month period, twice in the first month and once each month following. Many of our successful matches have found meeting every fortnight works well in order to continue to hold them accountable and keep up momentum.
Many of our mentors and/or mentees are based overseas, or in varying cities, therefore, we recommend running your mentoring sessions online, using Skype or Zoom. Video calling is encouraged over phone calls as it gives you the opportunity to put a face to a name and read the other person’s body language.
Alternatively, if you are matched with a mentor and/or mentee in the same city as you, you may like to connect in person for a couple of your sessions or find a balance between this and video calling.
We understand what it means to commit to mentorship, to give your time as a mentor and/or show up powerfully as a mentor, and we would like to ensure the women in our community do too. We have therefore highlighted below a few expectations we have of OneUpOneDown mentors and mentees, so both sides can be effective in their roles and get the most out of their mentoring relationship.
1. Communicate with us. If you find your mentor and/or mentee has dropped off, is missing meetings or not quite providing the support you were hoping for, please let us know. We can’t do anything to recify the situation if we are unaware it exists! Alternatively, if you have general questions or would like to know how to better support a mentee, be sure to reach out!
2. Keep up the momentum. It’s easy to kick off a mentoring relationship with a lot of momentum then let it drop over time and become disengaged. We expect both mentors and mentees to do their best to stay engaged, honor their commitment and continually contribute to the relationship. An easy way to do this is to schedule in your next meeting immediately after the previous one. Note: we also understand life happens and you may have to pull out of a mentoring relationship temporarily, this is absolutely fine. Just please let us know!
3. Show up! Mentoring can often be deprioritised when other things pop up or life happens. However, you might be surprised how valuable a mentoring session is, even if you are busy and have other priorities. Please respect the time and commitment that has gone into the relationship and make it a priority during the matching duration.
4. Hold each other accountable. We’ve found that one part of feeling like your mentorship has been successful, is achieving your intended outcomes, set at the start of the 3 month mentoring period. A way to ensure this happens is holding one another accountable by checking in regularly and scheduling in your next session.
5. Take some time to think about how you can get the most out of your sessions. It’s okay not to know exactly what you’d like to achieve with your mentorship, but we encourage you to take some time to consider why it is you are signing up to receive/be a mentor and educate yourself as to how to fully take advantage of the mentoring relationship. You might also like to check out our online resourses to support your learning.
- Expectations from Mentors
Ask lots of questions! We believe the most effective mentors are those who ask lots of questions before providing advice, and this is what we expect our mentors to practise. We understand there is a balance between the two, however believe that it’s important for mentees to come to their own realisations with the support of a mentor rather than simply being told what to do. Equally, we recognise it’s important to give advice where a mentee may not know the answers themselves.
Actively listen. Sometimes we have the urge to jump in and give our opinion or advice before listening to the whole story. We encourage mentors to resist this urge, wait until they’ve heard the full story and ask questions back to guide a mentee to the piece of advice they would like to give. Additionally, you might like to try writing down whatever pops into your head in that moment, then bring it back up once you have heard the full story.
- Expectations from Mentees
Take action. If you and your mentor agree on actionable steps to put what was discussed into action, make sure you take them. This will help you to move towards your goal and enable your mentor to help you as much as they can. If you don’t take action, explain to your mentor why and they might be able to help you work through it. The best way to get value our of a mentor relationship is to take the action talked about so you can gain experience and develop as a result. It will be hard for your mentor to help you if you don’t do this.
Be open-minded! The questions a mentor may ask or advice they may give is not always be what you expect to hear. We encourage you to be open to your mentors perspective, ideas and differing opinions in order to expand your thinking and learn. With that said, you are your own person, so it is up to you as to how much of their advice you take on.