Once you and your mentor/mentee have agreed that there is a good match for you to work together, your next step is to make clear agreements about how you will work together so that the experience is worthwhile and enjoyable for you both.
The mentoring agreement is an essential part of the mentoring process. As a mentor or mentee, you need to discuss and make agreements in at least four key areas: confidentiality, goals, accountability and scheduling.
Confidentiality and Boundaries
Confidentiality is key to any mentoring relationship. Both the mentor and mentee need to agree that what they talk about in the mentoring meeting is kept confidential, unless both agree to make it public for whatever reason.
Agree boundaries and confidentiality in:
- Work related areas (performance reviews, feedback, etc) that the mentee is willing to make available to the mentor
- Areas of life outside of work that the mentee is willing to talk about (these should be relevant to the mentoring relationship)
- Areas of work and life that the mentor is willing to include in the mentoring relationship
- Depending on the purpose of the mentoring relationship, you might want to set specific goals that the mentee and mentor want to achieve as outcomes of the mentoring process
- The better the match between the mentor’s knowledge/expertise and the mentees learning goals, the better the mentoring relationship for both
- What areas of performance do the mentor/mentee agree to work on?
- What kind of feedback (observations or suggestions) does the mentee prefer in those areas?
- How can you check that you are both getting your expectations met? (I suggest that you re-visit the mentoring agreement periodically to see how you are doing against your agreements and if anything needs to be added or changed).
Scheduling and Time Commitments
- When, where and for how long will you meet?
- Who will be accountable for setting up the meetings?(It should be the mentee)
- Will your meetings be face-to-face, phone, videoconference, a mixture?
- Who will be accountable for setting an agenda or topics for discussion?(Probably the mentee)
- What are your preferred ways of communicating between meetings (phone, e-mail, via assistant, etc)