Aalto University

Practices for mentoring meetings

The core of the mentoring programme is the one-on-one meetings of the mentoring pair. In order to develop and maintain a trusting relationship, it is recommended that the mentoring pairs meet approximately once a month during the programme.
Cafe at campus

First meeting

  1. Getting to know each other
  2. Discussing the process and setting the objectives
  3. Completing the mentoring agreement (see below)
  4. Booking the next mentoring meetings
  5. Agreeing on the preparations for the next meeting

Be brave and create a mentoring relationship that looks like yourself!

Mentor 2016-2017
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Mentoring agreement

A mentoring agreement builds a good foundation for a successful mentoring relationship. It should be done at the beginning of the programme either orally or in writing. The most important thing is not the form of the mentoring agreement but the clarification of the responsibilities, duties and tasks for both parties in the process. Mentoring agreement is an oral or written document between the mentor and the actor.

It is good to agree on the following matters in the mentoring agreement:

  • Objectives for mentoring

The objectives for the upcoming mentoring season are set together. For some the objectives may already be clear while others may need support in working on them. An open and confidential discussion and utilising the strengths of both parties become key.

  • Topics and themes to be covered; even the ones you don't want to discuss

  • Confidentiality of discussions

  • Frequency of meetings

In order to develop and maintain a trustworthy relationship, it is recommended that the mentoring pairs meet approximately once a month during the programme. It is a good idea to schedule the future meetings at the very beginning since lack of time is the most common stumbling block. You should always stick to the agreed times, because rescheduling the meetings weakens the mutual trust and commitment to the mentoring process.

Below you will find a simple template for a mentoring agreement.

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  • Duration of the meeting

Enough time should be reserved for meetings. One to two hours is often optimal. You will need enough time to delve into the topics in depth. However, if the meetings are too long, concentration may become an issues, especially in remote meetings.

  • Meeting place and arrangements

The meeting environment affects the discussion atmosphere and therefore it should be calm and undisturbed. Informal settings make conversation easier, such as a cafe, restaurant, university or student union premises. Instead of sitting in one place, you can exchange thoughts by going for a walk, exercising or at an exhibition, for example.

It is also good to agree on how to act if the agreed meeting has to be cancelled and how any potential costs are paid (e.g. meeting in a cafe).

  • Preparations for meetings

In each meeting, it is good to agree on the preparations for the next meeting in advance. The actor can also email their mentor in advance with topics and/or direct questions, which the mentor will also familiarise themselves with. For some mentoring pairs, free-form conversations are more suitable. However, it is important for the actor to think about the themes or topics to be discussed in advance, so that the meetings go smoothly.

  • Method of communication between meetings

Topics for meetings

Ideas for discussions topics in the mentoring meetings

Ideas for discussion topics
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Tools for meetings

On the landing page, you will find a collection of tools for preparing for the meetings.

Tools for mentoring

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