Top tips for online mentoring
Finally, after many months of waiting for Covid travel restrictions to be lifted, our peer e-mentor tutors were able to meet face-to-face in Valencia to share ideas and good practice. It was worth waiting for as they created some new training materials and came up with these top tips:
Establish clear communication: have regular check-ins with your mentee, establish clear expectations and goals, and use a communication platform and resources such as WhatsApp, Facebook or even text that works best for both of you.
Create structure: a structured approach outlined in a written mentoring agreement will help keep the mentoring relationship on track and ensure that both parties get the most out of the experience.
Be flexible: life events such as unexpected illness or personal emergencies can disrupt plans. Be flexible and willing to adjust plans as needed.
Listen actively: good listening skills are important in any mentoring relationship, but they are especially critical in an online setting where non-verbal cues are limited.
Be patient: online mentoring can sometimes be slower or more challenging than in-person mentoring. Be patient and willing to put in the extra effort to build trust and create a strong mentoring relationship.
Use technology to your advantage: there are so many tools available such as you use like screen-sharing, video conferencing, and file-sharing. Post-Covid, many of us are much more confident in using them. But make sure both you and your mentee are fully able to access and use them to enhance the mentoring experience.
Give feedback: providing constructive and specific feedback is a key aspect of any mentoring relationship. Take advantage of the online setting to give written feedback, which can be more thoughtful and concise than verbal feedback.
Foster a supportive environment: encourage open communication, and create a positive, supportive environment that encourages growth and learning.
Using Social Media
Select social media carefully: for example, while fine for many mentoring discussions, WhatsApp may not be the most secure platform for sensitive information and conversations. If you have concerns about confidentiality consider how you and your mentee will manage them.
Be ethical: remember, it’s important to be professional and ethical when using social media for mentoring. Protect your mentee’s privacy, and be respectful and positive in your interactions with them online.
Create a mentorship group: use social media to bring together a group of individuals who are interested in the same topic or field. This can be a great way to mentor multiple people at once and for your mentees to connect with each other and learn from one another.
Celebrate successes: social media is a great place to celebrate your mentee’s successes. You can share their accomplishments and successes with your network, helping to build their confidence and recognise their hard work.
Enjoy and learn from the experience!