What is mentoring?
Mentors are advisors, initiators, and sources of knowledge. In this capacity, they discuss the mentees’ goals and the steps needed to achieve them. As initiators, they help the mentee to consider different viewpoints; encourage him or her to explore new goals or opportunities for development; or, identify underused abilities. As sources of knowledge, they provide information about relevant opportunities, training programs, electronic media, conferences, and professional organizations.
What should a mentor include in the profile?
When developing a profile as a mentor, it is important for you to include specific jobs, experiences, and accomplishments. When a mentee is searching for a mentor, those keywords are required identifying a professional who has the knowledge and skills the mentee is seeking.
Why should I be a mentor?
As a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, and as a leader in your own right, we believe it is good to give back to the new professionals starting out in their careers. In most cases, mentors have benefited from the advice, care, and dedication of more experienced professionals in their own careers. Mentoring gives you the chance to grow the leaders and honor the commitment of others in the past.
How do I select mentees?
In most cases, mentees have provided a detailed profile and have something in common with your experience. You should be seeking mentees who you believe you can assist and develop a meaningful relationship.
Remember, this is not one-sided. You should also expect to gain additional understanding about your career and success by helping someone who just starting out. When choosing from those who may contact, look for a protégé that can help expand both of your careers.
If my background is very different from my mentee, will that matter?
Not necessarily, but it should be considered. Most mentor/mentee relationships in the professional world involve understanding and working in the same general field. However, many times a mentor can be someone from a completely different profession – a small business owner mentoring a medical student or a senior accountant mentoring a struggling musician. The most important aspect of the mentor/mentee relationship is whether the mentor can provide advice, knowledge, and empathy that is beneficial to the mentee.
How many mentees should I accept?
This is a decision only you can make, but we do not recommend accepting more than one mentee for at least the first six months. If you are a skilled mentor and have extensive time to give, then certainly you can choose to give more. The mentor/mentee experience is rarely about the amount of time; it more focused on the quality of interaction.
What is the time commitment likely to be?
This is completely up to you, but you need to know this in advance. Usually, it is recommended that you set aside two to four hours a month. If you can only commit a few hours a month, make sure this is clear to start. We know things change but if you commit to a few hours a month, be prepared to stay with that at least through the first four to six months.
How do I respond to mentee requests I do not intend to accept?
As always, the best response is professional and without delay. Be honest and brief. If you are already committed to a mentee, then explain your time commitment. If you do not believe it would be a good match, then share with the contact that someone with different experience may be better. It is most important that you respond quickly and definitively. It is never good to leave the contact without knowing if you have accepted the invitation.
How does a mentee find me?
ODK no longer offers the online matching system. We will aid current ODK members who are seeking mentors by connecting them to seasoned professionals. We will also encourage them to use social media, ODK events such as the National Leadership Conference, and personal contacts to identify someone who might aid them in their career development.
How do I start the conversation with a potential mentee?
The best way to start any conversation is by introducing yourself. Tell your mentee about yourself. Be succinct but provide enough detail so your mentee is learning about you. From that introduction, you can ask the mentor to introduce him/herself. Now you each know a little bit about the other and the more important conversations get built from there.
How long is should I expect the relationship to last?
There is never a specific time frame. The relationship lasts as long as both parties are both giving and receiving something of value. It is best to talk about the expectations of how long you each anticipate the relationship lasting. That way, you each have benchmarks to consider as the relationship develops. Some mentoring relationshisp last lifetimes.