Mentorship tips

Mentoring topics: Agendas that encourage meaningful discussion

We've compiled a list of several discussion topics for mentors and mentees. No matter what kind of mentoring relationship you have these discussion topics will open up learning opportunities and meaningful connectin.

Ryan Carruthers

March 16, 2022

Are you planning your next mentorship meeting? Or maybe you’re planning out sessions for your mentorship program. 

Regardless, a great mentoring session starts with a clear agenda. Agendas include discussion topics and important questions that both mentors and mentees can ask.

At Together, we’ve built a mentoring platform that makes it easy for companies to launch internal mentorship programs. We’ve learned that session agendas are a great launching point for newly matched mentors and mentees. 

Below, you can download the agendas as templates.

5 Mentoring session agenda templates

Ready to plan your next mentoring session? Let’s dive in!

Why do mentors and mentees need discussion agendas?

When starting a mentorship, both the mentee and the mentor must have a clear understanding of what both will be getting out of the experience. Throughout the mentorship, it is also important that both can check in with each other to see if their expectations are being met.

Additionally, establishing a session to discuss the mentorship’s agenda allows the mentee to plan better for what they will learn from the mentor. Not to mention that it also helps the mentor better plan the mentoring process.

Session agendas give both parties a guide that can be changed as they continue the mentorship and keep the conversations focused on the learning process.

Mentoring topics for different types of mentoring relationships

There is a variety of topics that you can discuss depending on how the mentorship is structured. It is important to remember that certain topics are best for specific types of mentorships. 

For instance, leadership mentoring topics focus more on leadership topics and how to be a good leader.

Leadership mentoring topics

Leadership mentorships allow employees in leadership positions to show younger employees what it is like to be a leader in the company. 

This type of mentorship is great to give employees an idea of what it is like to be in a higher position in the company and learn the skills needed to grow within the company. 

If your company has new manager development programs or executive development programs, it will greatly benefit from leadership mentoring discussion topics.

Discussion topics for future leaders

Below is a list of topics that can be used to discuss to plan a leadership mentoring program.

  1. Transitioning from employee to manager
  2. Who you should know as a new manager
  3. How to communicate effectively with your team
  4. The difference between managing and leading
  5. How to deliver feedback
  6. How to handle conflict with team members

Questions for new managers

While the mentor needs to prepare themselves with the discussion topics, the mentee should also have a couple of key questions to ask the mentor. Below are some helpful questions the mentee can ask about the leadership experience.

  1. What was it like becoming a manager for you?
  2. What did it reveal about your strengths and weaknesses?
  3. Was there anything unexpected that came from becoming a manager?
  4. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first became a manager?
  5. Does the way you interact with your coworkers change as you move up? How do you manage this?
  6. What key mindsets do I need to have as a manager?

Discussion topics for reverse mentoring relationships

Reverse mentoring involves junior employees acting as mentors to senior leaders or executives. 

This type of mentorship allows leaders to get a new perspective on rising trends in areas of technology or the future of work. Additionally, this type of mentorship helps create more understanding among employees from diverse backgrounds.

Discussion topics for reverse mentoring

Below is a list of discussion topics for reverse mentorships.

  1. The differences in viewpoints different generations have on the workplace
  2. Conflicts that can arise between different generations working together in the modern workplace
  3. Potential biases in the workplace
  4. How to include more perspective in decision-making processes in your organization
  5. Share your unique perspective on work
  6. How to deal with change
  7. Learning new skills as you grow in your career

Questions to ask in a reverse mentoring relationship

While discussion topics are helpful to create an agenda for the reverse mentorship, there are a few questions that can help further understand what both parties want out of the mentorship. The mentee can ask the following questions to the mentor:

  1. What big changes have you experienced during your career?
  2. How did you deal with massive changes that were disruptive to the way you work?
  3. Where did the change come from?
  4. How do you feel about changes going on in our industry or business?
  5. How do you see your generation as different from others?

Additionally, the mentor can ask the following questions to the mentee:

  1. What conflicts have you experienced while working with people older or younger than you?
  2. How do you feel about change? Does it excite or scare you?
  3. Do you think you’ll need to learn new skills in the next two to five years? If so, what will they be?
  4. How do you approach learning in the workplace? Is it a luxury or a priority?
  5. Do you have a plan or goals for your career? Do think they will change?

Topics for peer mentoring and coaching

Peer mentoring consists of colleagues working together and coaching each other to learn new skills and understand each other’s perspectives. 

This type of mentorship program is great to share knowledge, encourages community, especially in remote work, and allows for smooth onboarding with buddy programs.

Topics to discuss in a peer-to-peer relationship

Below are a few topics of discussion that would be helpful to establish an agenda in a peer-to-peer relationship.

  1. Similarities and differences between your roles
  2. Your strengths and weaknesses
  3. Challenges that you face in your day-to-day
  4. Goals you have for your career
  5. Skills you want to develop and what’s holding you back from them

Questions to ask one another

The peer mentorship would also benefit from the following questions, so both parties can better understand where they come from.

  1. What is one thing you’ve noticed me doing well?
  2. How can I challenge myself to develop that skill further?
  3. What is one thing you think I can improve on?

Mentoring circle discussion topics

Mentoring circles are similar to group mentoring, and they involved employees of all levels within the company. 

In this type of program, there are multiple mentees and mentors, as well as facilitators. The mentees must have something in common, whether they are new hires, or have the potential to become leaders. 

The facilitator oversees the group and will schedule sessions, answer questions, and make sure mentors are prepared. Overall, the facilitator takes some of the pressure from the mentor with the administrative aspects of mentorships.

What to talk about as a mentoring circle

Below are a few discussion topics that can be used for mentoring circles:

  1. Collaboration while working from home
  2. Maintaining a work-life balance as an organization
  3. Giving constructive feedback

Circle discussion questions

It is also helpful to have questions that the group can talk about during sessions to better understand each other, here are a few examples:

  1. How is Covid affecting your part of the business?
  2. How is work-from-home, remote work, or a return-to-work affecting your day-to-day?
  3. How are you building resilience – as an individual and an organization?
  4. Are you finding time to focus on your growth and learning despite the disruptive changes over the past two years?
  5. When you’ve received critical feedback what did the person say that helped you respond positively and not get defensive?
  6. How do you manage feelings of defensiveness while getting feedback?
  7. What do you find works well when giving feedback to others?
  8. How do you think about work-life balance?
  9. Do you have practical tips for how to decompress or rest and recharge when not at work?
  10. How do you recognize that you’re starting to fall out of balance and experience burnout?

Discussion topics for women and non-binary employees

It is very important to have mentorships for diverse employees. This will allow them to feel like they have a voice within the company and that the company wants to help them grow as professionals. 

Any of the other mentorship types can be used for diverse employees. Additionally, mentorships for women in the workplace lead to better retention rates, since they feel like they can continue to grow within the company and won’t stall because of their gender.

Discussion topics

Below are some helpful discussion topics when conducting a mentorship for diverse employees:

  1. The unique challenges of minority employees in the workplace
  2. How to overcome setbacks in your career
  3. Employee resource groups and their benefits and drawbacks
  4. Unconscious bias in the workplace
  5. Building more equitable workplaces

Questions to ask

There are also a few questions that can help run the mentorship more smoothly.

  1. What setbacks have you faced in your career?
  2. How did you work through the setbacks you faced?
  3. How do employee resources groups help build communities in our workplaces?
  4. What challenges do they help overcome?
  5. What do our leaders need to do to reinforce a more inclusive and equitable workforce?
  6. What role do we play in building better organizations?

Together: a tool that makes running a mentoring program easy

With Together, you can run all of your company’s mentorship programs at the tip of your finger. 

The platform pairs younger team members with seasoned employees and creates meaningful connections among employees remotely. Together will first have members register for mentorships they are interested in. 

If suitable, the platform will pair mentors and mentees together. Then, the platform will help you schedule sessions with calendar integrations. As the mentorships continue, you can see different scores of mentees and mentors that are participating in programs. 

Lastly, when mentorship is over, you get a final report on how much everyone has grown as mentorships end and start.

Starting a world-class mentoring program is easy if you have the right platform, specifically, Together’s mentorship software.

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