Staying the Course

How do we create an on-line/remote mentoring relationship where people feel connected and trusted in an environment where people no longer feel secure?

The following tips from successful remote relationships may help:

1) Meeting time – successful pairs report 45-minute meetings are about perfect. They say 30-min. is too short and an hour a little longer than needed.
2) Meeting frequency – every 2 to 4 weeks works well. The key is to maintain frequency.
3) Provide agenda topics in advance – even if just a heads-up the day before, makes a difference.
4) Journal – keeping and sharing post meeting notes (with their partner) captures insights from the discussion and supports development progress. These are also used as
a jumping-off point for the next meeting.
5) Resources – Zoom; Go-To-Meeting; FaceTime; Google Hangouts; Slack; and the telephone are all effective.
6) Experiment – Find out what is really working for your partner at present, and what isn’t. Share ideas and use them as a platform for your mentoring experience – both
commits to trying something different.
7) Self-awareness – as the saying goes – “there is nothing like a crisis to define who you are”. While mentorship is a gentle journey of discovery, this COVID-19
experience is far from gentle! It gives rise to discovering how one responds to experiences that are completely out of one’s influence and control. Ask people what
they normally do when they are under stress, then inquire as to how this situation is different: it is a highly worthwhile topic as many people are un-aware and may
now be discovering how they respond – give people time to reflect on this. You may hear things like: “I’m not my usual self”, or “I’m beside myself”, or “I feel I’m
on edge”, or “I find I’m easily distracted…” , or “I’m stressed…”

a) What is “I’m not my usual self” – what are you experiencing?
b) Use scales to help someone describe their experience: on a scale of 1 to 5, what is your definition of 1, and 5; where are you on the scale? What would it take for you to dial back one notch?
c) Use The Mentoring Model: What? So What? Now What? To explore and identify the small steps that one can take to ground their experience and move forward. This
is to build self-awareness, not solve a problem or to give advice.

Link for Mentoring resources, see The Mentoring Model: Module 4:

8) Find out what staff/colleagues are experiencing and how your mentor/mentee is responding:
a. Common concern – feeling less relevant and disconnected
b. Picking-up the emotions of employees – anxiety, frustration for a feeling of lack of control (the toilet paper hoarding is an effort to regain a sense of control)
c. People are experiencing overload – need to keep messages simple

Coming next: Tips for Remote Mentoring – This Thing Called ‘Empathy’
Coming soon: Tips for Remote Mentoring – The Emotions that are hard to deal with: Fear, Anger, Sadness

For more mentoring tips and techniques:

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