So you’ve found a mentor. That’s great! Maybe you asked someone directly or maybe you’re part of an official mentorship program and you need a reset. In any case, the Mentor Pack is a great way to (re)establish the way you work together.
Before you jump into all of the juicy questions in this deck, it’s worth starting with some structure. Look for the card called “Beginnings.”
With the “Beginnings” card, you’ll set up goals, envision success for both parties and handle logistics. You’ll pin down communication styles and decide if your mentorship will work best with structure — or not. If you don’t set up parameters in the beginning, your mentorship risks losing its momentum and value. That seems like a wasted opportunity, no?
Here’s an example of what your “Beginnings” discussion might look like:
- What are our goals in this mentorship?
Mentee wants mentorship around a recent promotion to a senior leader role, particularly guidance on reporting to a very busy manager and building relationships with peers. Mentor wants to share experience as a senior leader and potentially use the topics that come up for a future conference talk on leadership. All details will be confidential, though!
- What will success look like for each of us?
If Mentee isn’t anxious about the upcoming week on Sunday evenings, it’s a win! Another win would be feeling like they have at least one solid connection to a peer on the leadership team.
Mentor will feel successful if they believe they’ve been helpful and has collected some notes for future thought leadership opportunities.
- How often will we meet? How long are the meetings? For what duration?
We will meet every other Tuesday at 4pm for 1 hour. We will do this for one quarter (3 months). We’ll meet on Zoom (invite set up by mentee).
- Should we structure what we will talk about each time?
Mentee will bring questions or topics. We’ll pull a “Worth Talking About” card each time, too. Mentee won’t have homework because life is busy!
- How do you like to communicate?
Mentor prefers email (and not texting). Email works for Mentee! Mentee will send notes ahead of time if they have any.
Does this feel clunky? GOOD. That’s the whole point of buying a tool like the Mentor Pack. In our more casual work environments, we may feel uncomfortable with formality and so we avoid speaking directly — which means that our mentorship fails. Expectations are missed, showing up becomes a drag, it gets lopsided and it goes on forever until someone gets “too busy” or needs “to pause for a while” or it never gets started to begin with.
Tell your mentor that this product exists and that you want to try it out for a while. Let the “Beginnings” card serve as the excuse for a grounding conversation. Then, get started.
In short, trust the cards. They’re here to help.
By the way, do you know how many people are still trying to hack through life and work alone? A lot. The mere fact that you’re reading about this new tool and pondering how you might ask for help means that you’re brave.
You’re setting yourself up famously; I know you’ll find your way.