Module V: What are the main steps of a mentoring process?

The usual structure of a mentoring process includes the following steps:

  • selection of Mentors and Mentees;
  • training of the Mentors and Mentees;
  • forming pairs or groups by matching the most suitable Mentor with the Mentee(s);
  • the initial mentoring session: starting the mentoring process;
  • further meetings of groups or pairs: task-oriented mentoring sessions;
  • monitoring sessions (can be mid-term and final);
  • the final mentoring session – evaluating results and concluding the relationship.

For e-Mentoring, the structure of the mentoring process remains the same as for face-to-face mentoring, but communication between 3M-Actors is done using online tools – Skype, e-mail and a special e-Learning platform.

For blended mentoring, the structure of the mentoring process is a combination of face-to-face sessions, communication using online tools and regular meetings on the special e-Platform. It is recommended to have three face-to-face sessions during the e-Mentoring process – one at the beginning, one in the middle and one at the end of the process.

The Manager has to be aware that the first three steps as well as the monitoring sessions are his/her responsibility in the mentoring process; however, the Manager can ask the Mentor to support his/her work in these steps.

Below, you will find more information on the further steps in which the Manager and the Mentor has different tasks and responsibilities.

The initial mentoring session: starting the mentoring process

Organising the initial session is one if the main task of the Manager as many important issues have to be stressed here. A well organised initial meeting prepares the floor for the further mentoring process and helps the Manager to monitor the entire process effectively. The Manager participates in the initial meeting and is the main organiser for the first stage of the meeting until all organisational questions are solved. Subsequently the Mentor can start to facilitate the development of the goals and objectives for the mentoring process.

In the initial session the Manger introduces the Mentor to the Mentee(s) and they get acquainted. The main purpose of this meeting is to get to know each other as individuals and to find out if the Mentee(s) and the Mentor are ‘well matched’. In the meeting, the Mentee(s) present his-/herself/themselves to the Mentor, tell about his/her/their background, family, hobbies, values, education, profession, etc. The Mentor listens, asks questions and presents him-/herself. In group mentoring the Mentees learn also about the other members in the group and possibly think of a name for their group.

Also in blended mentoring, the first meeting is recommended to be face-to-face one and can be organised in the Manager’s office, a café, a public park etc.

In order to succeed in mentoring, there must be a clear understanding between the Manager, Mentor and the Mentee(s) of how to establish and build their mentoring relationship. After the introductory phase the Manager, Mentor and his/her Mentee(s) have to develop and agree on the “Contract of blended mentoring on employment related issues”. This tool can be found here. The Manager, Mentor and his/her Mentee(s) should discuss and agree upon various items for the “Contract of blended mentoring on employment related issues” such as:

  • duration of the mentoring process (start/end);
  • the Mentee(s) commitment and responsibility for setting and reaching the targets;
  • the necessity for Mentee(s) and Mentor to be open in discussions;
  • obligation for all participants to keep the confidentiality of discussions even after the mentoring process;
  • emphasizing that the advices given by the Mentor or the other Mentees are only guidelines and the mentees are responsible themselves for their own decisions;
  • the Mentees’ support to each other (group mentoring);
  • etc.

It is very important for the Manager and the Mentor to agree with the Mentee(s) on rules concerning the mentoring relationship, especially the rules of communication in order to help the pair/group to work smoothly together. Therefore, it is recommended that the Manager and Mentor will enforce and facilitate the defining of these rules in a “Code of Ethics” and including it into the “Contract of blended mentoring on employment related issues”. It is suggested that the Manager and the Mentor facilitate the discussion on these issues during the initial mentoring session. For instance, the following key issues can be discussed and included:

  • respect the time of all group members;
  • keep all the information received confidential during and after the mentoring process;
  • respect the opinions of others;
  • think before saying/writing something;
  • be honest;
  • be open;
  • take the responsibility of reaching your goals as a Mentee;
  • attend all regular meetings as established in the mentoring schedule;
  • if a Mentee is not able to attend a regular meeting, he/she will be responsible to inform others (e.g. Manager, Mentor) and to find a solution how to catch up with the mentoring process;
  • if the Mentor is not able to attend a regular meeting, he/she will have  to inform all Mentees in advance, at least two days, to find some other time suitable for the whole team for the next regular meeting.

The Manager initiates the signing of the ““Contract of blended mentoring on employment related issues”” by all 3M-Actors. The Contract can be updated by the Manager within the mentoring process upon all actors’ agreement. The Manager is responsible to upload this tool to the e-Mentoring platform.

During the initial session the Manager also has to ask the Mentee(s) to fill-in the initial monitoring questionnaire (mandatory tool, a template can be found here). This is an important tool for the Manager to organise the monitoring of the mentoring process. The initial questionnaire defines the initial needs of the Mentee(s) and their expectations for the mentoring process. This questionnaire can also contain questions about the Mentees strengths and weaknesses as well as some information a Mentee would like to share with the group. It will be complementary with the final monitoring questionnaire for Mentee(s) (a template can be found here), which helps the Manager to evaluate, how the needs of the Mentee(s) have been fulfilled within the mentoring process. The Manager is responsible for uploading both tools to the e-Mentoring platform after they have been completed by the Mentee(s).

After the contract is concluded and the initial monitoring questionnaire is filled in, the Manager gives over the main responsibility to the Mentor. However, the Manager can support the Mentor in fulfilling his/her first tasks (setting of goals and objectives, agreement on session plan).

During the initial mentoring meeting the Mentees set their goals. First they set their individual goals for the mentoring process and fill them in a special form on the e-Platform or in their folders. The Mentees also formulate the objectives – small steps needed to be done in order to reach the aim. In group mentoring the Mentees additionally set a common goal they all wish to achieve as a group, formulate the objectives and fill the goal in a special form which will be placed on the e-Learning platform or in their folders.

Being a Manager, you facilitate the process of setting goals by taking care that the Mentor is asking conducive questions and that goals are well-formed (positive and precise). A few examples of well-formed goals could be: “I want to get employed by company X by__ (exact date)” or “I’ll have my own consultation business running successfully in the city centre by__ (exact date)”. The Manager also should pay attention to the fact, that the goals have to be completely formulated by the Mentee, not by the Mentor.

In mentoring on employment-related issues, Manager and Mentor can use the developed learning tools - Open Educational Resources (OERs) on employability and entrepreneurship (see Module VII and Module VIII  for more information, or OERs on employability and OERs on entrepreneurship in website The aims and objectives defined in these OERs could be used to facilitate the process of setting the Mentee’s goals. The goals can be connected to six defined themes on employability (if the Mentee seeks employment) and three defined themes on entrepreneurship (if the Mentee aims at establishing his/her own business and/or being self-employed).

The themes on employability , which can be reflected in the Mentee’s goals for mentoring on employment-related issues, are the following:

Thus, in case the Mentee looks for employment within a company, the Mentor can facilitate the process of setting up the goals by providing the choice to develop the Mentee’s goals in accordance with the aims and learning results of the above themes. If the Mentee wishes to start his/her own business, the Mentor can suggest to combine his/her goals with the aims of the following supporting themes on entrepreneurship:

In accordance with the themes described above we suggest the Mentor to facilitate the process of personal goals establishment by using the developed special managing tool for setting the personal goals and objectives of the Mentee(s): “Personal goals and objectives”. This managing tool could be found here. Using this tool a Mentee can choose all the goals and objectives he/she would like to reach and also there is the possibility to add some additional goals and objectives too.

After having set the individual goals, the Mentor should facilitate the common group goals’ setting. It is recommended for the Mentor to pay attention to all the personal goals of the Mentees and to facilitate the discussion within the group. The aim of this discussion is to include as many goals as possible into the list of group goals prepared using the special form “Group goals and objectives” and following the method of filling in the personal goals. However, it is suggested to encourage the group to limit the number of the common goals up to 4-5. It is also important to emphasize the possibility to update the goals and objectives during the mentoring process.

The Mentor will be responsible for uploading the goals set by the Mentees on the e-Mentoring platform.

During the initial meeting Mentor and Mentee(s) also have to agree on the “Session plan for blended Mentoring on employment related issues”. This tool can be found here. The Mentor is responsible for developing and updating this “Session plan”. As a Manager you should support this process if necessary and make sure that the purpose of the meetings is coherent with the group goals and objectives set. Later in the process it is also recommended to describe shortly in this document which OERs have been overviewed during the meeting.Dates of the blended mentoring sessions and titles of each session could be defined in advance for the whole period of mentoring or filled-in after each mentoring session.

If e-Mentoring or blended mentoring is used, the “Contract of blended mentoring on employment related issues” and “Session plan”  are placed in the special e-Platform and are available for all the Mentees during the mentoring process. The Mentor is responsible to update the document “Session plan” and to place it to the e-Mentoring platform after each updating. This document is the main managing tool for communication during the whole mentoring process as it indicates the clear dates of the mentoring sessions (face-to-face and online). It also informs the Mentee about the next steps of the mentoring process.

During every face-to-face meeting of the mentoring pair or group the list of participants should be filled-in and signed by all participants.

Further meetings of groups or pairs: task-oriented mentoring sessions

The Manager does not actively participate in the task-oriented sessions as it is the responsibility of the Mentor. However, the Manager has to be aware about how the task-oriented mentoring process is organised. The Manager has to monitor the process and even could participate in some of the task-oriented session as an observer.

Below you will find the description of the main features of the task-oriented mentoring sessions.

After the initial mentoring session, which is mostly dedicated to organisational issues, mentoring on employment-related issues is started and runs in accordance with the “Session plan for blended Mentoring on employment related issues”  developed and agreed upon.

On the e-Mentoring platform, the communication between the Mentor and the Mentees can be synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous communication is used during the regular meetings of the Mentor and the Mentee(s) agreed upon in advance. During such meetings, the common chat is used for the communication between the Mentor and the Mentee(s). Between the regular meetings, the Mentee(s) and the Mentor can use the tools of asynchronous communication – forums, e-mail etc.

The task-oriented mentoring sessions have to be tied with the goals defined by the Mentee(s) and have to be oriented for the achievement of these goals. To facilitate the mentoring process on employment-related issues, the Mentor can suggest that the Mentee(s) use Open Educational Resources (OERs) on employability and entrepreneurship for self-learning and improve their skills in accordance with their set goals. The Mentor can suggest to complete the exercises provided in the OERs as homework. You can find more on the OERs in Modules VII and VIII. Then in the regular e-Mentoring sessions, the results of the exercises can be analysed and discussions on topics related to these exercises can be facilitated by the Mentor.

The group or individual meetings should be organised according to the agenda suggested by the Mentor:

  1. How is everyone? / How are you?
  2. Current issues
  3. Addressing the target
  4. Agreeing upon the topic (the point of view) for the next meeting
  5. Homework for the Mentee(s) for the next meeting (it can be based on the above OERs/exercises for self-learning)

In each mentoring group/individual meeting, each particular session should be filled-in in the “Diary for blended Mentoring on employment related issues”. The mentoring diary should be filled in according to the meeting agenda and placed on the e-Platform or the Mentees’ folders according to the form of the mentoring selected. In group mentoring at the beginning of each meeting, the group decides who will fill in the diary and how. The suggested method for filling in the diary is that one of the Mentee fills in the diary by rotation. In individual mentoring, the Mentee always fills in the diary by him/herself. At the end of each meeting, the Mentor writes some comments at the end of the diary. Mentor is responsible for uploading the updated version of diary to e-Mentoring platform. The diary also can be used by the Manager for monitoring.

The mid-term monitoring session – important control point of mentoring process

It is strongly recommended that, in the middle of the mentoring process, the Manager of the mentoring process arranges a face-to-face monitoring session attended by the Mentor, the Mentee(-s) and the Manager. This will strengthen teamwork and the participants will have a possibility to evaluate the mentoring process. The following agenda is suggested:

  • How do the goals of the Mentees have developed?
    The Mentees can e.g. think about a scale from 4 to 10 and define where they were at the beginning of the mentoring process and where they are now.
  • Each Mentee defines the next steps in order to achieve his/her goal.
  • The Mentor and the Mentee(s) clarify their mentoring session topics for the rest of the mentoring (if necessary).
  • Comments from the Mentees, the Mentor and the Manager (in that order):
    Is there anything to improve for the rest of the project?

There is a suggested plan for the mid-term monitoring of mentoring process. This tool is a part of the monitoring process and can be used by the Manager. The document provides some questions on how to monitor the progress of blended mentoring. It can be found here.

The Manager is the chairperson of the mid-term meeting and he/she will keep the minutes which will be filed on the e-Mentoring platform or in another place agreed upon. A monitoring questionnaire for the mid-term interview with Mentor and Mentee(s) can be found here.

The final mentoring session – concluding the relationship

When the mentoring process comes to an end, the Manager should organise the final meeting/discussion of the Mentors and the Mentee(s). During the final meeting, the Mentor should in cooperation with the Mentee(s) evaluate their achievements during the whole mentoring process, to analyse whether the Mentees have reached their goals and how their lives have changed for better. Each group or individual should prepare the conclusions of the mentoring process and should evaluate such points as:

  • individual starting point when the mentoring began,
  • quality of cooperation in order to achieve the goals,
  • which subjects they succeeded in,
  • benefits and impact from the process,
  • problems during mentoring process,
  • suggestions for improvements of the process,
  • individual development during the mentoring process,
  • next steps for the Mentee.

It is recommended that during the final meeting a set of questions are discussed. They can be found in the tool “Monitoring questions for the final discussion on Mentoring process”. This tool is part of the final monitoring session and can be found here. It helps the Manager to formulate possible questions which could be discussed in addition to the final monitoring questionnaires for Mentee(s) and Mentor.

These two questionnaires are important tools for the Manager to organise the monitoring of the mentoring process. The Final monitoring questionnaire for Mentee(s) helps to evaluate how the needs of Mentee(s) were fulfilled within the mentoring process. It is complementary with the Initial questionnaire for Mentee(s) and can be found here. The Manager is responsible for uploading the tool to the e-Mentoring platform after being completed by the Mentee(s).

The Final monitoring questionnaire for the Mentor can be used to realise, how the Mentor was satisfied by the mentoring process and what could be improved for future mentoring. It can be found here.