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Importance of Face to Face mentoring

May 11, 2020

Mentorships are often successful due to the connection the mentor and mentee develop over time. However, with advancing technologies, virtual mentoring offers individuals an opportunity to connect with others outside of their geographic space. But, just how does virtual mentoring compare to e-mentoring and can it take the place of face-to-face mentoring?

As organizations move towards more remote workplaces, many do not want to lose the benefits that come with workplace mentoring programs. These benefits include

  • Skill development
  • Improve employee engagement
  • Reduce turnover
  • Talent recruitment
  • Reputation building

The good news is that technology can help bridge the gap for mentors who are not able to meet face-to-face on a regular basis. This means that organizations can continue to build a robust mentoring program with a remote workforce. Some of the ways mentors and mentees can stay connected include emails, video conferencing and voice calls. 

Video conferencing vs voice calls

Communicating with your mentor or mentee is one of the most important ways that you can stay connected, build trust and cultivate the relationship. Checking in regularly helps the mentee to work towards their goals. It also provides the mentor with an opportunity to offer advice, encouragement and support. When you are involved in a remote or long-distance mentorship, you can continue to stay connected with video and voice calls.  There are pros and cons to each method. 

Voice calls

One of the ways that mentors and mentees can stay in touch over a long distance is through phone calls. Rather than communicating through emails or text messages, hearing the other person’s voice can provide a lot more context to the relationship.  Essentially, throughout the mentorship, both the mentor and mentee should be able to get to know each other better. Having a regular time to talk can be key to building that trust that is central to the mentoring connection.  However, relying on voice calls alone can present a difficulty as most people rely on non-verbal cues of communication more than verbal cues. That means actions can speak louder than words. 

Video calls

Video conferencing is a great way to continue meeting face-to-face with your mentor or mentee. Being able to see each other while you talk allows the other person to pick up on the non-verbal cues that get missed during voice-only calls. This can further strengthen the understanding and connection between a mentor and mentee. The drawback to video calls is that as social creatures, we can miss the opportunity to communicate physically such as through a pat on the back. 

Remote mentoring tips

Mentoring from a distance can be a challenge but by equipping yourself to deal with the hurdles and working on staying connected, you can cultivate a successful mentorship. Some things to keep in mind with mentoring include:

  1. Connection. It is important to stay connected regardless of the method you use. Whether you are able to organize a regular video call or need to rely on voice calls, develop a reliable schedule that allows you and your mentor/mentee to connect every week or every couple of weeks. This time can be used to track the mentee’s progress, discuss challenges they are facing or help them problem-solve. 
  2. Stay focused during meetings. Whether it is a video call, phone call or email, whenever you communicate with your mentor/mentee try to stay focused on the conversation. Reduce distractions and interruptions during the call. This can help you build trust and connection with one another. 
  3. Make a plan. Prior to your video or voice call, create a plan about what you and your mentor/mentee want to discuss. Consider it an agenda for the call. However, you should still stay flexible and be willing to talk about issues that were not on the agenda. 
  4. Be prepared. Whether you are a mentor or mentee, it helps to come to a meeting prepared. Write down some questions you want to ask your mentor. As a mentor, you may want to do some research so you can suggest ways that your mentee can reach their goals. For example, perhaps there was an online course that you heard about that will help your mentee further develop one of their skills or talents. Be sure to mention it and even get the course details for them. 

Mentoring in a modern way

Workplace mentoring programs contain benefits for the mentor, mentee and even the organization. Yet, some companies have been moving towards a remote workforce for a number of reasons, which puts traditional face-to-face mentoring opportunities at risk. Thanks to technology, there are several different ways that we can connect and build on a mentorship. However, it is important to keep in mind that face-to-face meetings are an important component in a successful mentoring program. Even if you are not able to meet in person regularly, occasional face-to-face interactions are important to the mentoring process. 

Find out how your organization can benefit from workplace mentoring programs by contacting Together today

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