1. Be proactive in making it regular. Unlike a mentor who might be based “next door” virtual mentors may seem more remote or invisible. These relationships are just as important and be proactive in making it regular For more than a decade I’ve been working wit organizations to help them formalize their mentoring training and support, and one of the most common issues that gets mentoring derailed is when mentors and their protégés don’t meet regularly enough. This is particularly true in the virtual realm. Make a point to make it regular, and keep to schedule.
2. Employ face-to-face mechanisms – While many of us are becoming more comfortable in building virtual relationships these can be eased in by regular face to face streaming meetings. Whether you choose skype or another technology like zoom, eyeball to eyeball time can be important. Note that anyone can currently set up a free zoom account and host calls for up to 45 minutes. Check them out at http://zoom.us.
3. Create a shared agenda and focus – You may find like many activities in the virtual realm that process plays a key role in success. It may be useful at the end of each meeting to set the focus for the next one, or create the focus by email prior to getting on the line. While I encourage all mentoring partnerships – in person and virtual – to be proactive in co-creating the agenda for your conversations together, it can be particularly important when you mentor virtually.
4. Ask for feedback – regularly! One of the number one sins for virtual communication is not asking for feedback. Silence does not always mean agreement. It can mean a lot of things. Wrapping up each call with -What worked well today? Or What was important for us to discuss? And/or What are your next steps? And/or What changes should we make next time? Can be very powerful questions allowing the conversation to continue to be on track.
Prior to your next virtual conversation, consider how you can incorporate these into your mentoring conversations.
With best wishes,
Potentials Realized | Coaching Team Leaders
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