Make sure you get the most from your business mentoring relationship by setting yourself up for success from the very first meeting. We've pulled together our tips on how to prepare well, what to discuss, and how to maintain your momentum. Use this as a guide for making sure your new mentoring relationship delivers great value from your very first meeting.
How to prepare for your first meeting with your mentor
As soon as you have the details of who you’ll be meeting, find a time and place that works for both of you. Consider somewhere neutral such as a café, a meeting space or Zoom so that you can avoid work distractions.
Before you meet, think about what you want from mentoring. Note down your immediate objectives and your longer-term goals for the relationship. Are there any concrete skills you wish to grow during the process? Take time to think about how you'll know if the mentoring is successful.
You may want to find out a bit more about who you'll be meeting as you prepare. Do they have a skill or interest you'd like to know more about? Be ready to articulate your business goals clearly.
What to discuss in your first mentoring meeting
For the first meeting, the most important thing is to relax and build a rapport. Enjoy yourself! It's such a treasure to meet someone who brings goodwill, curiosity and an interest in your thoughts.
At your first meeting, astute questions can help uncover useful insights and lead to powerful conversations. You’ll find it’s an approach that works throughout the mentoring process. Here are a few ideas that may help you get to know each other.
- What's the best piece of advice you've ever received in business?
- What is the hardest thing you’ve faced in business?
- Why do you do what you do – what’s the passion that drives you?
- What do you see as your strengths?
- Who do you admire most in business?
At your first meeting, it’s a good idea to deal with practical logistics, preferences and administration so you can focus on deeper things from then onwards. Here are some basics to sort out.
You’ll want to explain what kinds of communication you can most easily respond to such as email, phone calls, texts or an online platform. What are your shared expectations about checking in between each meeting? It can be helpful for updates to be shared so you don’t need to spend meeting time catching up.
Meeting places and times
Most people meet at least monthly once they settle into their mentoring relationship. Agree where you will meet each time and for how long. Prioritise your mentoring meetings, but every business person can face unexpected and urgent demands.
Your preparation means you’ll be able to easily discuss your objectives for the mentoring relationship. You can then talk about how you’ll both work towards them. Don’t forget that a good mentoring relationship should be rewarding to both people, so that means both people can set some objectives and measures of success.
Afterwards, follow up on your actions
After the first meeting, follow up with a note on your discussions and confirm any actions you agreed on. You can use this as a basis for keeping in touch about progress.
Your first mentoring meeting is an exciting moment! We hear incredible stories about how mentoring impacts people – have a look at our case studies to see some of them. All of these successes started with a first meeting, and we want yours to be just as beneficial. Set yourself up well with proper preparation and a plan for your discussions. Get to know each other, sort out administration, and follow up. And, if you feel that your mentor match isn’t quite the right fit, get in touch with your local Mentor Coordinator. They will do their best to re-match you to a Mentor that better suits your needs. Then, you’ll be all set to get satisfaction and value from mentoring. Enjoy!