A goal without a plan is just a wish. —Antoine de Saint Exupéry
It's understood that without a plan of action, even the simplest goals cannot be achieved. However, setting goals is the easy part - as a mentor, your job is to help your mentees understand their unique path to success. They’re looking to you, your skills, and your expertise to help them figure out where to start, what steps to take, and which efforts will pay off the most.
If you’re feeling uncertain about creating a plan, don’t be. You’re the right person for the job. You’ve got experience. You’ve been there, and you know how to get from there to where you are now. You know what you’d do differently if you had the chance to go back and do it again. Your experience and lessons learned are the elements you build into your mentoring plan. In this way, mentoring is a bit like parenting: you get the opportunity to guide another person away from the mistakes you made and towards the advantages you never had.
Creating a mentoring plan is a highly individualized process. You’ll have to get to know your mentee so that you can devise a plan that encourages their strengths and challenges their weaknesses. For more formal mentorships, building a strict schedule can be a powerful step in devising a strong path to success.
Your mentee could be any sort of person. They might be very good at meeting deadlines, or they may never have made it to a meeting on time in their lives. Whatever their character, your goal is the same: to help them build integrity, teach them the importance of respecting another’s time, and show them the advantage of being prepared. A sturdy schedule serves as the backbone of an effective mentoring relationship.
Beyond a robust schedule, your mentoring plan should contain a few additional elements:
- A set of stages to encourage progress and carry you and your mentor through the relationship;
- Important details, like where, when, and how often meetings will take place, what topics will be discussed, and which goals will be set;
- Regular evaluations to determine whether or not the mentorship is meeting expectations;
- Regular tasks and exercises designed to build on a mentee’s skill-set, increase their confidence, and challenge them;
- A system of rewards or recognition that highlights each time your mentee has a big win;
- And finally, a clear timeline for completing the mentorship.
As you take on new mentees and get to know their individual differences and preferences, you’ll undoubtedly incorporate new elements into your mentoring plans. The important thing is to create a plan that reinforces the relationship and has the mentee’s goals as its primary cause.
Have you had success with a mentoring plan? What are some of the elements that worked best for you? Contact MentorCloud to share some of your best practices with us, or share your ideas with us on Facebook or Twitter.
If this post resonated with you, check with your organization to see whether you are part of the MentorCloud network. If not, sign up for a demo here! Our vision is to create a mentoring planet in which true equality is achieved and hard work is rewarded, but it's only possible with your participation.