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A well-implemented organizational mentorship program is a fantastic company-culture investment. Mentors bring their experience, emotional support and ­advanced skills to the relationship, while a mentee is committed, engaged, and willing to learn and develop. Formal mentorship programs allow organizations to make the most of their current high-potential employees in order to develop future talent. 

One of the key benefits of establishing an in-house mentorship program is that mentors can offer specific advice and help mentees address organization-specific challenges as they develop their careers, fostering internal talent mobility 

It's important to cultivate the right environment that encourages a natural relationship to form, so that both mentor and mentee can concentrate on development during their meetings.

Without a robust development environment in place, it's easy to fall back into a default culture of "busy-ness." And, thanks to competing priorities, it can become a challenge for your mentors to make time for their proteges.

Now, whether your organization has been thinking about implementing a mentorship program or your existing program needs a bit of a polish, remember that the beginning of any mentor-mentee relationship is the most important part of the work.

So, to get your people off to a strong start, we've put together a handy infographic that outlines 20 great ideas for work mentoring and coaching.

20 Great Ideas for Mentoring Activities

  1. Identify Goals
    Identify your professional mentoring goals for their relationship. What will be the outcome?

  2. Create a Mentoring Action Plan
    review possible career mentoring activities with your mentee and choose a few of them to do. Then create a mentoring action plan to capture your selections.

  3. Address Mentee Challenges
    Spend time discussing how your mentee dealt with a challenging situation. What was the outcome? If needed, brainstorm alternate ways to overcome that challenge.

  4. Role Play
    Role play how to address a challenging situation to practice skills. For example, an upcoming interaction that the mentee is unsure about or would like guidance for.

  5. Job Shadow
    Invite your mentee to sit it on a meeting of yours that will give them an opportunity to learn or network. Debrief afterwards.

  6. Provide Networking Opportunities
    Introduce your mentee to one of your contacts who could prove to be a valuable professional network contact for them.

  7. Provide Oral Feedback
    Observe your mentee in a meeting or presentation and give her feedback on her performance.

  8. Provide Written Feedback
    Review and provide feedback on a presentation, report or document your mentee has prepared.

  9. Read Up
    Read a new business/professional book or article and discuss your thoughts about it (if reading a book, you might want to read and discuss one chapter at a time).

  10. Share Career History
    Invite your mentee to share the “story of his career” explaining how he got to where he is today. Share yours.

  11. Review Your CVs
    Exchange, review and discuss each other’s resumes. How are key achievements represented? Are there differences in how you each “sell yourself”?

  12. Suggest Other Reading
    Suggest books, articles and blogs or other resources for your mentee to read.

  13. Team Up and Network Together
    Attend a local industry of professional networking or educational event together. Debrief afterwards. 

  14. Create a Vision Statement
    Ask your mentee to create a vision statement that captures where he wants to be in five years and what he wants to be known for, then review and discuss together. ‘

  15. Be a Coach: Focus on Strengths
    Discuss your mentee’s strengths, ways he can further develop these skills, and potential problems that can result from over-reliance on them. 

  16. Review Goals Regularly
    Regularly review and discuss progress on your mentee’s career development goals.

  17. Discuss Interpersonal Skills
    Talk about the types of people your mentee finds most difficult to work with, and strategies for more effective interactions with them. Talk about the types of people your mentee most enjoys working with and review why.

  18. Be a Coach: Target Weaknesses
    Discuss your mentee’s weaknesses, ways she can strengthen her skills in these areas, and the potential advantages they can offer. 

  19. Consider Volunteer Work
    Identify a volunteer or community-based group activity where your mentee can practice desired skills, then debrief on the experience. 

  20. Close the Loop

Prepare for the end of your formal mentoring relationship. Take stock of lessons learned, directions taken, and what still needs to be accomplished.