A fundamental piece of creating a successful mentoring match is to be clear on what participants can expect from the program, and what they can expect from each other. If you do this as part of the recruitments and orientation process, you will find that it increases the satisfaction of your participants. If you do not clearly articulate your program goals, what you will provide to participants, and what your mentors and mentees are expected to bring to the mentoring relationship, there is room for misunderstanding and dissatisfaction.
This is especially important for the mentoring and mentee roles. Since much of the mentoring relationship occurs between the mentor and mentee without direct oversight, each participant needs to know what is expected of them. Your mentors are going to bring knowledge and life experience to share with their mentees. But they are volunteers who are not career counsellors or therapists. They are also not expected to provide a job at the end of the mentoring relationship. It is important that the mentee understands the mentor is there to help brainstorm, provide an experienced Canadian perspective, and discuss challenges.
If your program works with people who are not employment-ready yet, you can set up mentoring relationships to help with language skills, understanding Canadian culture, or getting international credentials approved or upgraded for Canada. In these cases, a successful mentoring relationship may not end with a new job.
It is also helpful for mentors and mentees to work together in their first meeting to talk about their personal expectations. Mentees may have specific questions or advice they are looking for. Expectation could also include how, when, and how often mentors and mentees prefer to be contacted. Providing a Mentorship Agreement to your participants can focus those first meetings and guide a discussion about expectations. An experienced mentor may not require this form for their meetings but having these resources available can be part of an effective recruitment plan. If a new mentor is feeling unsure about how to approach their meetings, these forms give a clear framework to get the mentoring relationship started.
This concrete information and discussion about what participants can expect from your program and each other sets the foundation for a successful match. While your program's purpose might be about improving newcomers' transition to Canada or helping them get work in their field of expertise, ultimately the success of mentorship lies in that relationship. If the participants feel connected and supported and if mentees feel more confident and empowered, they will feel successful.
We encourage you to use any forms we provide as they are or to customize them for your program needs including adding your logo. If you would like to customize these forms, you can find the full set of editable forms here.