Starting the Mentoring Relationship

Every mentoring relationship is unique. In fact, there is so much to learn that there are entire books devoted to how to build a mentoring relationship. Below are just a few guidelines on what to do in the beginning stages of your relationship. 

Set Goals with Your Apprentice 

  • Setting goals with your apprentice at the beginning of the relationship is critical because it gives direction to the relationship and informs you in how to help them. Use our Mentoring Agreement as a reference. 
  • If your apprentice doesn’t know their goals, this can be your first mentoring moment. You can ask questions such as “What made you sign up for the mentoring program?” or “What about my profile stood out to you?” or “What are your specific concerns and questions right now?” or simply “How can I help you?” Use our Goal Setting Worksheet, if needed. 
  • Remember, goal setting is a process, so make a point to check in and ask the apprentice if their priorities are changing or evolving. 

Set Expectations with Your Apprentice

  • Discuss when and how often you will meet. Decide how you will meet, whether it will be over the phone, in-person or over Zoom. 
  • If the apprentice is unresponsive at any point in the relationship initiate contact. Some will be overwhelmed by how much they are doing and forget to contact you. 
  • If your apprentice doesn’t respond to you after multiple attempts, please contact the mentoring admin. 

Coordinating Schedules 

  • It may be difficult to find the time to talk or meet with your apprentice, so confirm your next meeting at the end of each conversation. 
  • If you are on opposite coasts or international, take advantage of student late-night routines and schedule a Skype, Zoom, or phone conversation. 
  • Make sure to keep the relationship a priority.