Business Mentoring Matters

Managing Corporate Mentoring Programs: Use Meeting Time Wisely

Posted on Wed, Feb, 17, 2010

February is National Time Management Month. Just as managing time is important in your personal life and day-to-day job activities, the key to a successful mentoring program is timing as well. It's also the number one challenge facing mentoring pairs across all cultures. Use our guidelines below to manage your program. Remember, commitment makes it work.

Managing Meeting Time: Mentors and Mentorees

Determine how often you'll meet, for how long, and where.

How Often & How Long

Face-to-face meetings should last between 60 and 90 minutes, and you should meet weekly (especially when you're first matched) to every other week. If you're a long-term planner, map out a meeting schedule for three to six months. Otherwise, bring your calendars to each meeting and then schedule the next one at the close of your meeting. Mentors should also prepare a brief, but targeted, meeting agenda, which includes topics for discussion. This will help the meeting stay on track.

Where

Meetings should take place OUTSIDE the mentor's and mentee's offices. Meet in a location with minimal traffic and interruptions (that means no cell phones or pagers). However, we do recommend meeting on company premises, such as a conference room. The setting is still "structured" and business-oriented, yet you eliminate other office distractions like e-mail, phone calls, and people dropping by your desk.

If you want to meet outside the company, we recommend breakfast or lunch. Evenings can be a little less professional, and people tend to be tired. And if you're convinced that you "have no time," remember you need to take a lunch break-the mentoring meeting won't add to your "work schedule."

When You Can't Meet Face-to-Face

If you can't meet face-to-face, schedule weekly phone calls for 30 minutes or biweekly calls for 60-90 minutes. Don't let phone calls turn into "mentoring moments" instead of mentoring sessions. Have an agenda that you each receive (and review) by fax or e-mail ahead of time. E-mail is NOT an effective tool for mentoring. Use it to send agendas and confirm appointments-that's it!

To get more great tips on Mentoring Programs, click here.

Tags: Mentors & Mentorees