First encounters

Meeting the mentee(s) for the first time is a daunting experience. You don’t know who you will going to meet. However, as it turned with today’s group of mentees, they are all lovely people (and very similar to you and me). Despite this, it is important to consider what makes a first meeting a good meeting (I am convinced you can always improve on that). So… When seeing your mentees over the next few weeks do consider:

Before the meeting:

  • Re-count your own mentoring experiences. What worked well/not so well when you were a mentee? Why? What could you repeat with your mentee(s)? And what do you need to do better?
  • Re-cap what you know about your mentee(s). Who are they?
  • Make sure you know the framework you are supposed to work in. Timings, tasks, rules, procedures, overarching aims…
  • Be positive and open (you don’t know what’s going to come)

During the meeting:

  • Ask questions and listen. How are your mentees feeling? What would they like to do? What’s their aim? What do they want to accomplish over the next few weeks?
  • Explain what you can and cannot do
  • Agree on what you would like to work together (I know, some of the stuff is prescribed by me, your lecturer)
  • Agree on how you would like to work together
  • Insist on confidentiality. For example: Nothing will leave this room unless we both agree otherwise – or the situation makes it necessary that I ask for advice/support (in which case I will inform you in advance)
  • Talk about the possibility that the meetings are not working out as planned. So… Say something like: If these meetings are not producing the results you expected, or if you disagree with my advice, please say so
  • AND… Take time to get to know each other. Tell the mentee also something about yourself
  • And last but not least: Exchange contact details (best your study/work phone or email – and not your private one). You need to be able to communicate with your mentee (and vice versa)

There is much more to say… But these first points should get you going.


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