What to Talk About With Your Mentors

This blog was originally written by Kristine Henne and can be found at https://blogs.anl.gov/mentoring/2018/03/08/id-meet-with-my-mentor-but-i-dont-know-what-to-talk-about/

Recently, we discussed the value in asking questions to keep a conversation going. What happens when you don’t know where to start?

One common answer I’ve heard when I ask mentees if they’ve met with their mentors is, “I would, but I don’t know what to talk about.” Well, that surely can make keeping a conversation going quite a challenge.

When pressed… mentees will disclose a variety of topics they’d like to learn about, skills they’d like to develop or areas in which they’d like to improve. You can almost hear the “click” when they realize they can use these as discussion topics with their mentor. Someone just has to ask that question, “What do you want?” That someone can be a mentor, a peer or preferably, oneself.

Some tips that the article suggests are:

  1. Think about where you’d like to go and what can help get you there.
  2. Do a self-check to see what your current comfort level is with each topic.
  3. Write questions to ask your mentor about each topic and script your next meeting.
  4. Bring it all together by planning your mentoring meeting.

For the full article click the link above.

Building a Professional or Personal Mentoring Program for Millennials

Mentoring is an important aspect of entering the workforce as a millennial, although it is often neglected, even by business owners themselves. While many millennials frequently do well without extra assistance, they can do so through extra effort and work on their part. Many from this generation, however, either lack the opportunity or the will to perform better. As a result, they often require an extra push, or mentoring once they’ve graduated from school.

Are millennials really any different than past generations? It’s true to say that some of the behaviours and attributes of millennials can be explained by their age and limited or lack of experience. However, one of the defining characteristics of the millennial generation is their affinity with the digital world, and their expectations about how technology is used in the workplace. Plus, they need a workplace culture that is robust, flexible, innovative, and a management style and approach that is not restrained by “how things used to be done.” Millennials value a work/life balance, they expect regular detailed feedback and encouragement, and need to feel that their work is worthwhile and that their efforts are being recognized.

Implementing mentoring programs after school-life

Although recognized as an important part of certain academic programs and processes, mentoring remains one of the least understood practices in many corporate institutions. If not implemented properly, a mentoring program can become under-utilized, mismanaged, or even turn out to be a costly yet ineffective endeavor for those involved. To have a positive, successful impact in the design, and implementation of mentoring programs within the corporate or private structure, we need to think and maneuver differently when mentoring millennials. There are key considerations that must be kept in mind:

Proper planning

The goal of mentoring is to improve performance in both personal and professional development, and to ensure that protégés are well-prepared for interaction with their social and professional environments. It is important that an organization, including the mentor and protégé understands what they wish to attain through the mentoring programs by ensuring that qualitative and quantitative standards are in place.

Goals and objectives of the mentoring program, and the mentoring relationship must also be specific, well-structured, and facilitated to allow those implementing the program to determine whether the procedures are being followed, and outcomes achieved. This is important if compliance is an issue in a workplace mentorship program.

Building the core group or staff

A mentoring program within a millennial’s personal or professional life will be more effective when a central core of experienced and dedicated people are on hand to design, implement, and assess it. This will help ensure a well-organized program that is easy to monitor and run.

Recruitment of mentors

The type and quality of mentors to be chosen for the program is indicative of its success. Mentors may be selected through volunteer programs, where other employees and even members of public life can sign up for the task. Mentors could also be selected through active recruitment where they are sought out from the community at-large and asked to join.

A set of qualifications may be set in order for mentors to meet quality standards and to help streamline the application process.

Screening for mentors

The next step in creating any mentoring program is to screen the mentors for eligibility. After reviewing the applications, the core group or staff can begin interviewing the mentor applicants to determine their fit for the program. This is especially important when there are certain activities that may require extra tasks for the mentors or the protégés.

Training for mentors

An important part of a mentoring program is mentor training. Just because a person is qualified does not make them a perfect candidate for mentorship. Mentors must be able to understand the goals and objectives of the program, and be informed about any limitations and boundaries. Certain communication skills must also be checked or improved if necessary.

Matching mentors with protégés

As one of the final steps in implementing a program for mentoring, pairing mentors with protégés can be a challenge given that multi-generations are involved. Therefore, it is important that this is considered carefully. While there are no set standards for pairing, most experts suggest it’s best to consider personality and mentoring styles in order to create the perfect match. If a certain match proves to be ineffective, corrections must be implemented immediately.

A mentoring program can be an extremely rewarding experience and a mutually beneficial relationship for both mentor and protégé. The exchange of information can assist not only the protégé, but also the mentor. We are never too old, young or too successful to learn. What are you waiting for?

To Your Success!

Janice Sarich, M.Ed.
President, It Begins With You Inc.
Former MLA Edmonton-Decore & Parliamentary Assistant to Education Minister

 

 

Melissa Scott, MA

 

 

Janice (Mentor) and Melissa (Protégé) participated in the Spring 2018 mentorship program and wrote this blog together for our website.

interVivos Mentorship Feature: Kenneth and Giselle

A successful mentorship depends on several key factors. To help our mentors and protégés get the most out of their mentorship experience, we reached out to a successful mentor/protégé pair for advice. Giselle General is a Volunteer Coordinator with the Edmonton Community Legal Centre with well-defined career goals. And her mentor, Kenneth Cantor, is an accomplished real estate developer and president of Primavera Development Group with projects that include the restoration of Brighton Block on Jasper Ave.

The pair met at interVivos’ Fall 2017 Mentorship Pairing Event and Kenneth chose Giselle as his protégé because “she stood out in the specifics of her goals. She is ambitious, well grounded, bright, open-minded, and organized.” Giselle chose Kenneth as her mentor because she wanted to “understand how our city works from his perspective as someone who has been around for much longer than [she] did, and from the perspective of the development industry.” Giselle explains that if she “were to pursue [her] goal of running for public office, [she] would like to meet people from different areas or industries that [she] currently [is] not able to.”

Giselle was not shy about sharing all that she has gained so far being mentored under Kenneth. “I have already learned so much,” she says, “how to re-structure my resume for different types of applications and acknowledging that not having answers is okay.”

Giselle’s professional growth is matched by Kenneth’s experience. “My own personal growth through mentoring is rewarding and ongoing” he explains, “seeing protégés be successful in their endeavors is rewarding; and seeing their horizons expand, whether successful or not in their endeavors, can be equally rewarding.”

To men who are hesitant about mentoring women because of the current sociopolitical climate, Kenneth has this to say:  “If you’re hesitant, maybe you shouldn’t, but my experience mentoring women is no different than mentoring men.  If the relationship is going to be successful, you have to work on it as equals regardless of gender.” Grateful to have such a successful mentorship experience, Giselle adds, “I think that both parties have so much to learn from mentoring someone from the opposite gender. Interestingly enough, in our case, our ‘differences’ are beyond just gender. We are from different ethnicities, we grew up in different countries, and so much more. If both parties are willing to have thoughtful conversations, and they listen to understand, it will be a very positive experience.”

Giselle and Kenneth are enjoying their interVivos mentorship experience so much that they plan to continue their mentor/protégé relationship past the 6-month end date. For anyone looking for advice from a seasoned pro or to expand their professional network in a meaningful way, the interVivos mentorship program is the answer for you.

Thank you to interVivos intern, Christy Seville, for writing this blog. Christy is currently wrapping up her Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communication Diploma at MacEwan University.

Feminism Makes Organizations Stronger

This year, #girlbossyeg 2018 had more male attendees than any other year before. We reached out to the first male attendee to register, Mike Kluh, for the event to provide some feedback on the event and a male feminist perspective.

Mike had this to say: Read more

What mentorship means to me.

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How will you #PressforProgress in 2018?

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Meet the interVivos Interns

The interVivos board has been working hard with four amazing interns in the past few months. This is your chance to get to know them better! Read more

Meet Your Panelists: Grace Cleveland

Tonight’s the night for #girlbossyeg 2018! We have an incredible group of female leaders from the Edmonton community on our panel this year. Here’s a chance to get to know one of our awesome panelists a little bit better: Grace Cleveland! Read more

Setting an Example for the Next Generation of Trailblazers: Evelina Mannarino’s Vision of Progress

Evelina Mannarino is a real estate developer, mother and author who has spent most of her life studying real estate. She is currently working toward her Bachelor’s degree in the Business of Real Estate while running her own business, Evelina Developments. She dreams of changing Edmonton’s skyline by developing skyscrapers. Read more

International Women’s Day

This blog was written by Stephanie Enders and was originally posted at http://www.startupedmonton.com/blog/2018/3/2/international-womens-day

The City of Edmonton describes International Women’s Day as “a global celebration of the inspirational economic, political, and social achievements of women past, present, and future.” For us, it’s an opportunity to spark conversations around the unique challenges and opportunities that face women in our startup and technology communities. Read more