Mentoring program

How to create a mentoring agreement

A mentoring agreement is more than a simple formality. It's a great opportunity to align on expectations and start off on the right foot. This article is your guide to crafting a mentoring agreement for your program.

Noah Edis

October 11, 2022

Are you planning to start a mentoring program in your organization?

According to a five-year study on 1,000 employees, mentors and mentees who participated in a mentoring program were promoted five to six times more often than those who did not.

For many organizations, mentoring programs are now seen as an essential part of employee development. But before you can start matching mentors with mentees, you need to create a mentoring agreement.

A mentoring agreement is a document outlining the expectations and responsibilities of both mentor and mentee in a mentoring relationship. While it may seem like an unnecessary formality, it can help set clear boundaries and prevent misunderstandings.

Ready to launch a mentoring program in your organization? Let’s discuss everything you need to know to create a well-drafted mentoring agreement.

What is a mentoring agreement?

A mentoring agreement is a contract between a mentor and a mentee that establishes the parameters of their relationship. It outlines the expectations and responsibilities of both parties, as well as the duration of the mentorship.

Once you have a mentoring plan template, it's time to develop a mentoring agreement that should be completed and signed by both the mentor and the mentee.

A well-drafted mentoring agreement is clear and concise to ensure that both parties understand their roles and responsibilities, as well as the expectations of the mentorship. It can also help prevent misunderstandings or disagreements that may arise during the course of the mentorship.

Why is it important to have a mentoring agreement?

Creating a mentoring agreement is a critical step in planning a mentoring program. It creates the foundation for a productive and successful mentoring relationship by outlining the expectations, roles, and responsibilities of both parties.

When you enter into a mentoring agreement, you are making a commitment to invest time and energy into the development of another person. In return, your mentee commits to following your lead, meeting regularly, and adhering to the terms of the agreement.

A mentoring agreement can help to:

  • Set clear boundaries for the relationship
  • Define the roles and responsibilities of each party
  • Establish communication and confidentiality protocols
  • Determine the format, structure, and frequency of meetings
  • Outline the goals of the mentorship
  • Address any potential conflicts of interest

Moreover, a mentoring agreement allows the mentor and the mentee to frame the mentorship relationship on their own terms. This can help prevent misunderstandings and ensure that both parties are comfortable with the arrangement.

What’s included in a mentoring agreement?

Most businesses choose to use a mentor-mentee agreement template when creating one for their organization to ensure that all the key elements are included.

A good mentoring agreement lays out the desired outcomes, sets clear expectations for both parties, defines the meeting schedules, establishes communication channels, and outlines confidentiality protocols.

Overall, it can reduce ambiguity and increase accountability, making it easier for the mentor and mentee to establish a successful mentoring relationship.

So, what are the key elements a mentoring agreement should cover?

Goals

Whether the goal of your workplace mentoring program is to help employees develop specific skills or simply provide career guidance, the agreement should outline the goals of the mentorship.

What does each party hope to achieve through mentorship? Answering this can help ensure that both parties work towards the same goals.

For example, if the mentee is looking to develop their leadership skills, the mentor can provide guidance and advice on how to assume a leadership role within the organization.

Not sure of what goals to include in the agreement? Check out this detailed list of examples of mentoring program goals.

Expectations

In any mentoring relationship, it's essential to set clear expectations for both parties.

What does the mentor expect from the mentee and vice versa? Are there specific topics that the mentee would like to discuss? Does the mentor have any expertise in a particular area they can share with the mentee?

Answering these questions can help set realistic expectations for both parties and ensure everyone’s on the same page.

To take things a step further, you can also include an action plan where you will outline the things you need to accomplish to reach your goals and expectations, making the mentoring relationship even more efficient and effective.

Schedule agreements

With the mentor's and mentee's schedules in mind, the agreement should establish when, how long, and how often the two parties will meet.

It's essential to be realistic about the time commitment required from both parties. Consider using a scheduling tool like Google Calendar, Calendly, or Doodle to help find a time that works for both.

For example, if the mentee is based in a different time zone, you may need to be flexible with meeting times, or you may need to set a regular schedule for your sessions.

Ways to communicate 

How will the mentor and mentee communicate outside of scheduled meetings? What is the preferred method of communication? Will they use email, Slack, chat over IM, or phone call? How quickly should each party respond to messages?

Establishing communication protocols early on is crucial to ensure that both parties can stay in touch and continue working towards the mentorship goals.

For example, the mentee may want to send the mentor a weekly update to inform them of their progress. They can decide how they prefer the update to be presented, whether face-to-face, via a video call, or just a simple email.

Confidentiality

A mentoring agreement should also establish confidentiality protocols to protect sensitive information shared between the mentor and mentee.

What is considered confidential? What information can and cannot be shared outside of the mentorship? Are there any topics that are off-limits for discussion?

Answering these questions can help ensure both parties feel comfortable exchanging sensitive information. For example, the mentee may not be comfortable discussing their performance with their manager.

The mentoring confidentiality agreement should also outline what happens if either party breaches the contract. It can either be a formal agreement with legal consequences or a simple understanding between the two parties.

Who leads the mentoring relationship after the agreement is signed?

Ideally, mentees should take the lead in driving the mentoring relationship forward. They should come prepared to each meeting with questions or topics they would like to discuss.

The mentor's role is to provide guidance, advice, and support when needed. But ultimately, it is up to the mentee to take action on the advice and guidance the mentor gives.

However, there may be times when the mentor needs to take a more active role in leading the relationship. For example, if the mentee struggles to meet their goals, the mentor can introduce several mentoring program ideas to help them get back on track.

In any case, the mentor should clearly understand what the mentee wants to achieve from the relationship so they can tailor their advice and support accordingly.

Check out this mentoring checklist designed to help mentors monitor activities, tasks, and goals to make the most out of each mentoring session.

Planning a mentorship program? We can help

In every mentoring relationship, it's essential to have a clear understanding of both parties expectations, roles, and responsibilities.

With this, a mentoring agreement is a great way to establish these parameters, set clear boundaries, and avoid misunderstandings down the road. A well-drafted agreement can help to create a productive and meaningful mentoring relationship that leads to tangible results.

If you're looking for more tips on launching a successful mentoring program, check out our guides on best practices, mentoring activities to try, and discussion agendas.

Our team of experienced professionals at Together has years of experience in designing and implementing mentoring programs to help your organization create one suited to your needs and goals.

Start creating a successful mentoring program with Together’s mentorship software. Request a demo today!

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Want incredible results from your mentorship program? Then download our comprehensive list of best practices.

We draw these best practices from the first-hand experience of program managers like you and our own expertise. This white paper is a comprehensive guide that will be your roadmap to building a world-class mentoring program.