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Suggested Mentoring Activities

Planning your time together

Consider using the Initial Assessment tool to identify areas that the mentee may need to focus on. Start by understanding the mentee’s priorities.

Knowing the mentee’s professional aspirations and job search gaps will give you both a good sense of what to do next. If the mentee has needs that fall beyond the scope of your mentoring relationship, then contact the mentoring coach for referrals.

Once you have identified the mentee’s needs and together have set the priorities, it is time to develop an action plan. You may follow these four simple steps:
  1. Confirm the purpose of your work together.
  2. Make sure you are clear on your goals for the mentoring relationship. Try to have goals in each of the areas addressed by mentoring: workplace culture, professional information and networking.
  3. Agree on a few milestones.
  4. Start by planning next steps in advance – i.e. what are you going to talk about at your next two or three meetings? At the end of each meeting, reassess your goals and milestones and modify as necessary.
Some mentoring pairs benefit from structure and others are comfortable with a less formal plan. Use the Sample Action Plan Template as a starting point if you both decide that a chart would be helpful to record your thoughts and keep you on track. You can download it and complete it together.

Remember that you do not have to do it all!

Different priorities may require different strategies and approaches. You can do the following:
  1. Work together in your meetings to address the priorities which are highly relevant to the mentee’s goal, for which the mentee has sufficient skills and knowledge to build upon and for which the mentor has the resources to be helpful.
  2. Seek referrals to other programs or services when the mentee’s needs are highly relevant and the mentee is prepared to address them, but the mentor can only provide limited support. Consult the mentoring coach for suggestions. The mentor may also make referrals within his or her networks.
  3. Redirect the mentee to training options for areas where the gaps in skills and knowledge are significant.
  4. Postpone discussing priorities that are not highly relevant to the mentee’s goals

Quick guide to mentoring activities

Previous mentors and mentees have found the following activities most useful. Take a look at this quick guide for ideas. You may also consult a sample agenda.

Together you can
  • share information about your work culture and your current or former workplace. Talk about how work culture varies from one place to another and from one country to another.
  • ensure that cover letters and resumes meet industry standards.
  • role-play both informational interviews and actual job interviews.
  • practise telephone screening interviews by reviewing typical interview questions. Talk about how telephone interviews tend to be structured and how best to prepare for it including how to leave an effective voicemail.
  • discuss “what if” scenarios of challenges people may face in the workplace and develop solutions.
  • find opportunities for job shadowing, volunteering and professional consultancy.   
Mentors can
  • invite mentees to meetings, briefings or training sessions at your workplace to observe how your organization functions and as an opportunity to learn about Canadian workplace culture, if this is appropriate in the mentor’s workplace.
  • invite mentees to industry events or lectures and discuss the topics presented.
  • help mentees build an effective network: introduce them to your industry contacts; invite them to lunch with colleagues; help them to set up informational interviews with your colleagues.
  • review the mentee’s job search activities and set weekly targets.
  • find a way for mentees to showcase their work; for example, invite them to speak at a “lunch and learn” session in your department to share insights about workplace culture and the way in which business operates in other countries.

There are many activities that may contribute to a successful mentoring relationship. It will be up to both of you to determine the best path to follow. To start off, here are a few ways in which the mentor might support the mentee:
  • setting goals
  • developing an action plan
  • problem-solving
  • following through with a plan or commitment
Take the time to identify
  • top priorities
  • whether additional training is required
  • challenges and barriers

Once you have assessed job search areas to focus on, revisit the mentee’s goals
  • Is the goal realistic?
  • Is it achievable in the given time frame?
  • Is it necessary to identify more manageable interim goals instead?
  • Does the mentor have the resources to help address these gaps?