Getting the best from your speed mentoring meetings

I had the privilege of being part of the TARA speed mentoring session on the 10th December and work with some awesome new talent. The purpose of the post is to share part of the session  “getting the best from your speed mentoring meeting”.

If you are a female in university, how often do you get an opportunity to build a relationship with a mentor, in an environment which is safe from judgment and where the mentor is committed to your  success?  I believe TARA speed mentoring is the answer; If you are in and or seeking a career in the fast changing world of financial services then you should visit the TARA website.

With all the mentors of TARA being committed to building diversity, inclusion and equality and create positive change in corporate culture; I believe this is a perfect platform for developing the future female leaders.

If you are a mentor or mentee wanting to see meaningful change or are a future leader of change then join the TARA e-tribe as a mentor or mentee.

A useful and practical framework for mentees for getting the best out of your speed mentoring session. 

7 Things to consider for your twenty minute window.

1 Structure 

Think about your structure as you only have 20 minutes, it is important that the mentee controls the meeting. Especially if the mentor is external to your organisation and is unlikely to have any contextual understanding of your points of interest. Also building common ground is more important in this small window of time, rather than breaking the ice in an attempt to build rapport.

A suggested simple structure to start the meeting (Me, Topic, Us) 

Me:  The Mentee should be creating the context or framing the meeting, the person controlling the frame, control the meeting and the experience. The content of this frame should be your goals, aspirations and achievements to date and perhaps your intrinsic motivation for wanting a mentor. ( One could argue its a context for your elevator sales pitch) 

Topic: This is simply the specific decisions, inputs, outcomes that you want to discuss now and specifically want the mentors perspective on in the 20 minutes 

Us: Is positioning, it is for you to obtain the mentors commitment to an ongoing supportive relationship with the yourself, as this should not be a one-off event. It is important that you build and deepen your experience and knowledge using the mentor, as well as, developing your professional network. Finally, mentors do require pay-back, this is normally in the form of updates; Mentor and mentees relationships create a level of responsibility and should be taken seriously, volunteering is never free, its adding real value in a different form. 

The Framework for getting the best from the meeting 

  1. Turn up on time, be prepared.
  2. Have a defined outcome for the meeting
  3. Remember your language is the key to structure, use it well.
  4. Questioning to understand; The questions should be used specifically liked to building perspective on your outcome.  
  5. All feedback is a gift, It is totally ok to disagree with respect. The mentors intention is to build your perspective and never a judgement.
  6. Agree next steps, even if this is only to set up another call.
  7. Take Action-Mentors are generally volunteering their time to your success this means the momentum should come from you and not the mentor; Remember, underlying the actual meeting is that the mentor is your unpaid ambassador your champion, often giving you access to his or her network, therefore, your actions have consequences; Trust is often lost quicker than you can build it, my suggestion here is lead don’t follow.

I wish you every success with your speed mentoring meetings and look forward to watching you lead the way.

Nick Savastano TARA Adviser and Mentor and CEO of Beyond Thinking