- The PMI-OC Mentoring Program is a six-month program. The formal length of the Mentor/Mentee relationship formally lasts six months. It is an understanding by both parties that the Mentor and Mentee will commit to the six-month mentoring relationship. Once the six months are fulfilled, discussion of continuing the mentoring relationship should take place between the Mentor and Mentee.
- As a member of the PMI-OC Mentoring Program, you have committed to meet with your Mentor/Mentee at least once per month. You and your partner decide where and when to meet.
- Discuss whether or not you want to increase the number of mentoring meetings and work towards a mutual understanding that satisfies both of your needs.
- Specify the length of each meeting prior to meeting and commit to it.
- Meetings can be in person or virtual or over the phone.
- Be prepared when you meet. Have all necessary items with you, such as a notebook, pen, articles, and agenda items you want to discuss with your Mentor or Mentee.
- Decide when, how, and the frequency each of you can be reached. Do not assume that the other party can be reached at all times.
- Be open and transparent when communicating.
- If a conflict occurs, then try to solve it immediately.
- Practice active listening.
- Ask thoughtful, thought-provoking questions.
- Provide objective feedback and guidance.
- Explore the roles you each envision to have. Should the Mentor act as a coach, sounding board, or more of a teacher? Many mentors help mentees find information or guide them to find other help they may need.
- Take time to identify goals, what each of you want to gain from the experience.
- As a Mentor, do not assume that all advice will be followed. Some of it may be incorrect or not an area of interest for the Mentee, and that’s okay. As a Mentor, try to understand how the Mentee wants you to help, and work towards getting there.
- Each party takes the lead. Do not assume the Mentor or the Mentee will suggest all activities and do all the leading.
- Talk about confidentiality, including what is and what is not acceptable to share with others. The best mentoring relationships maintain confidentiality between the Mentor and Mentee. Ideas, feelings, and plans stay between the two of you.
- Make sure that each of you does not reveal or discuss company proprietary or confidential information without approval from the owning organization.
- Come to an agreement on how you would like to give and receive positive and corrective feedback from each other. Always ask if you can make a suggestion or offer constructive criticism. Do not automatically give advice or criticism.
- In a good Mentor/Mentee relationship, both parties give and receive reinforcement.
As a Mentee, make it easy for your Mentor to give you corrective feedback. Ask for it early in the relationship. Show evidence that you are utilizing the help within your life. Do not forget to share the outcome of the help your mentor gave.
- Do not force your solutions or advice or make the other have to guess or learn by trial and error.
Limits or Preferences
- Discuss your learning and communication styles so that you can work well together and minimize misunderstandings and miscommunications. You will each benefit at a higher level when you are on the same page.
- As a Mentee, verbalize your learning style and what types of things are helpful for you.
- As a Mentor, verbalize your teaching/coaching style and what has worked well in the past.
- Be open to combining each other’s styles and processes.
- Keep the mentoring relationship on a professional level. It can be easy as the relationship grows to cross the line into personal matters. Commit to the goals you decided together.
- Listen to what each other has to say. Be open to each other’s ideas, discussion topics, opinions, etc.
- As a Mentor, help the Mentee take initiative in the relationship.
- As a Mentee, consider all advice given. Store what might seem as irrelevant for some future use (or not).
- Make only positive, constructive, or neutral comments about each other.
- If you disagree with each other’s behaviors or values, then share your perceptions with each other.
- Do not end the relationship on bad terms. Seek assistance before it gets to that point. Contact the PMI-OC Mentoring Program Team if you feel the relationship needs external help. The PMI-OC Mentoring Program Team may decide to reassign Mentor/Mentee teams if agreement cannot be reached between the two parties.
- Do not flake on mentoring meetings or events. This is an important step in your professional career and an area of growth so take advantage of it.
Scope of Knowledge
- As a Mentor, provide advice and guidance only within your area of expertise. Refer your Mentee to someone else when asked about information beyond your knowledge.
- As a Mentee, keep in mind your Mentor’s scope of expertise and stick to questions and discussion within that area. If you want information that is beyond the scope of your Mentor’s expertise, then ask for a referral or seek information on your own from another source.
Conflict of Interest
- Declare any conflict of interest before it becomes an issue.
- There are instances when the Mentor/Mentee match is not ideal, and the relationship is not working for various reasons. This is of no fault to either party. If you feel that the relationship is doomed to failure, contact the PMI-OC Mentoring Program Team to be matched with another Mentor or Mentee. Examples of this could be:
- Expectations or personalities do not align and there appears to be no resolution.
- Disagreement with behavior or values that cannot be resolved.
- Conflict of interest that cannot be resolved.