The most important part of your first meeting is to get to know each other and set some expectations and goals for your mentoring relationship. A mentoring relationship requires a foundation of trust, which starts with your first meeting. Depending on the total length of your expected mentoring relationship, plan to spend the first meeting or two just learning more about each other.
It may be a given in your mentorship program that your mentee is new to Canada and wants to use your time together to support the job search. But take some time to learn what their work and transition experience have been like. Find out about what types of work they are looking for and why.
This time can be especially important if you and your mentee are from different cultures or industries. When you develop the ability to understand each other across cultural differences, you will be better prepared to have those deeper conversations later in the mentoring process.
Although we have provided a first meeting agenda, it may take more than one meeting to get to know each other and set goals. This is dependant on your style and the style of your mentee. Be flexible and follow your instincts. You and your mentee can set a pace that is right for you.
Download our sample First Mentorship Meeting Agenda.
Your relationship starts before the first meeting. Some things that you can do before the first meeting include:
You want to give your mentorship meeting a structure to make sure that you give your mentee the support they need. However, especially in the first meeting, take your time doing introductions.
It may feel like you are “wasting” time at this stage, but spending some time getting comfortable with each other in your first meeting or two will allow for more open discussion about challenges and barriers to reaching your mentee’s goals later. While your mentee is generally the focus of your mentoring meetings, being open and sharing about your own career goals and milestones creates a balance and demonstrates openness with your mentee. This time is not wasted, it builds the foundation for a successful mentoring relationship.
While you are doing your introductions:
Working through a Mentorship Agreement and the Mentorship Code of Conduct is a great way to create a foundation for your future meetings. It may feel very formal, but it will encourage good conversation and prevent misunderstandings later. Your program may ask you to sign and return an Agreement or Code of Conduct as part of their process.
Items that you can add to your mentorship agreement include:
Both of you should sign the agreement and have a copy that you bring to each meeting. This will keep the focus of your meetings on your mentee’s goals.
In the first meeting, you do not need to set detailed goals but just ask your mentee what they hope to achieve by the end of the mentorship program, such as finding a job and building a professional network.
In your following meetings, you can build on these goals to make them more specific and develop action plans. Use our sample SMART Goal Setting Worksheet to help you work through goals with your mentee.
Want to Learn More? Read about Setting SMART Goals with your Mentee.
Express appreciation! Thank your mentee for their time and effort. Review what you will be doing to follow up and what you will be discussing at your next meeting.
The rest of your meetings can follow a similar structure. Review your mentee’s goals and progress, discuss challenges, and plan further actions. As you get more comfortable with your role as mentor, planning and running meetings with your mentee will become more natural. Use these samples and worksheets as a starting place and add in your own style and experience.
Before the next meeting:
Download our sample regular Mentorship Meeting Agenda.
Want to Learn More? Read this article to learn how your mentee can prepare for their first meeting. Visit Website