Career Design Lab

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, Aalto University Mentoring Programme
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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:

  1. 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.

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

  3. Confidentiality of discussions

  4. 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.

  5. Duration of a meeting

    You should reserve enought time for the meetings. Discussions usually take from one to two hours. Sufficient time enables diving deep into the discussion theme. On the other hand, too long a meeting can distract concentration, especially in online meetings.

  6. Meeting place and arrangements

    Meeting place sets the tune for discussions and it should be calm. You can meet in a cafe, restaurant or on campus - a lowkey environment create relaxed environment for the conversations. Instead of sitting down, you can try exchanges ideas while taking a walk, excersing together or visiting an exhibition. 

    It is also advisable to agree how the costs of the meeting will be paid (for example, if you meet in a cafe).

  7. Preparations for meetings

    We recommend you agree on the preparations for the next meeting each time you meet. The actor can, for example, email the mentor their questions or themes for conversation beforehand, so the mentor will have time to prepare for the meeting. Some pairs may choose to engage in more informal and unstructured conversations. Nevertheless, it is important that the actor reflects on the discussion themes before the meetings, in order for the meetings to run smoothly.

  8. Method and frequency communication between meetings

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

Topics for meetings

Ideas for discussions topics in the mentoring meetings

Ideas for discussion topics
Two students on Aalto University campus
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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

Tips and tools for mentoring
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