According to the 2022 State of Coaching and Mentorship Report, a majority of HR professionals consider mentoring a key enabler of performance, with about 72% agreeing that mentoring can lead to improved organizational performance.
But how do you get employees and participants to invest in your mentorship program? You provide engaging and insightful mentoring activities.
Mentorship training activities give your mentors and mentee different opportunities to learn from each other, set goals, share industry knowledge, and more.
Let’s look at some valuable and engaging mentoring training activities to promote amazing mentor-mentee relationships.
What are mentorship training activities?
Mentorship training activities are engagement strategies that program administrators can teach mentors so that they can build great mentor-mentee relationships. These training activities can also get mentors started in the process of mentoring if it’s their first time.
The great thing about mentorship training activities? You can use them in any type of mentoring arrangement, whether it's virtual or in-person, individual or group mentoring, etc.
With the right training and learning activities, you create a space for mentors and mentees to communicate, brainstorm, solve problems, and learn together. These activities can keep program participants engaged, build a mentoring culture, and help attract new mentoring participants.
Dr. Wendy Axelrod, author of 10 Steps to Successful Mentoring, emphasizes the importance of training mentors in a clip from our interview on 'What Separates Successful Mentoring Programs From Those That Flop?'
What are the benefits of mentorship training activities?
Why should your organization provide its mentors and mentees with mentorship training activities? About 70% of Fortune 500 companies have some kind of mentoring program that boosts performance, engagement, and retention. These activities are designed to help your mentoring relationships have the same effect. You can have these mentoring activities as part of your program’s onboarding process or as a guide to navigating the mentorship process.
This means you can use them to improve different stages of mentorship, such as getting participants excited in the beginning or keeping them engaged after a year of mentorship.
These mentoring training activities, therefore, work as check-ins to keep participants on the path, further the mentor-mentee relationship, and more. Here’s how:
- Break the ice – You can use mentorship activities to ease mentors and mentees into connecting and communicating at the start of their mentoring relationship.
- Get to know each other – These activities can also be targeted to help employees learn more about the person they’re matched with such as their career paths, biggest achievements, and so on.
- Achieve and celebrate more milestones – As part of goal-setting, your mentees can complete activities and tasks that help them achieve milestones and see their progress.
- Encourage personal and career development – Activities focused on different aspects of their jobs can help mentees identify their weaknesses, overcome obstacles, and grow in their knowledge.
- Network with similar-minded professionals – By attending events, conferences, and seminars, both mentors and mentees can expand their professional network.
- Increase engagement – Mentorship activities help people work better by keeping them interested and invested.
Now that we know the benefits of offering mentor training activities, let’s look at concrete examples you can leverage in your own mentoring program.
Mentorship training activities: 10 Activities to boost engagement
While there are many training activities and ice-breakers, you want to pick ones that are close to your organization’s values and relevant to your industry and participants.
For them to be invested, they have to be able to gain something out of these sessions. That way, instead of viewing them as tedious, they will look forward to each activity.
Here’s a list of mentorship training activities to get you started:
1. Mentoring training sessions
Mentoring activities work as a gateway to becoming comfortable with the mentorship process. So, mentorship training prepares your participants (mentors and mentees) and sets mentorship expectations.
The idea is to help them understand how and why mentorship can benefit them and what is the overall purpose. This can help them invest in your program and keep them engaged. You can run them through key goals, KPIs, technology used, mentoring strategies they may consider, and share resources.
2. Have a goal-planning session
As new mentors and mentees connect, one of the first things they will do is set goals. A goal-planning session ensures they don’t skip this process. In this mentoring activity, participants can set short-term and long-term goals. They can also chart milestones they would like to accomplish within a flexible time frame.
Additionally, you can have repeat goal-setting sessions every 6 months where they re-evaluate past goals and add new ones.
3. Reverse mentoring sessions
Reverse mentoring is where a senior, established employee is paired with a less experienced employee or new hire. Here, the senior employee does not so much as receive mentorship from the other employee, but instead benefits from having access to a different perspective they usually don’t. This might enlighten them about new issues popping up, initiatives they are inspiring, and so on.
In some cases, senior employees could benefit from certain talents and skills that new hires bring such as knowledge of new technology and trends. Meanwhile, the less experienced employee gets a chance to have their voice and ideas heard by someone who may have more agency to enact them. This way, reverse mentoring training keeps new and senior employees interested.
Volunteering can be another way your mentors and mentees connect. Your organization can run a volunteer program or partner with existing ones relevant to your industry. Alternatively, you can let your participants choose an activity that they both feel strongly about and together they can support their cause. This not only benefits the community but also provides mentors and mentees a new way to engage with each other and gain non-industry-specific perspective.
5. Networking events for participants
Another popular mentorship activity is attending networking events and conferences. This is a good out-of-office activity that brings mentors and mentees into the conversation about what’s going on in their industry and field.
They can attend seminars, workshops, and debates together and then debrief and discuss what they learned. This is a good way for participants to learn and grow together.
7. Discuss goal-related news or events
As part of knowledge and skill sharing, mentors and mentees can also share industry news, research, case studies, trends, and more. They can set aside time during the work week to browse industry magazines and websites, subscribe to relevant newsletters, follow thought leadership, and so on.
This way, they can excite and engage each other with new happenings and knowledge that will further feed their mentoring relationship.
8. Explore company training and resources
Similar to networking events and knowledge sharing, one mentoring training activity can be taking time to go over your organization’s training and available resources and benefits. This activity is especially helpful to new hires participating in your mentorship program. They can better understand what your company offers its customers and its employees, learn about the company mission, ask questions, and so on.
9. Discuss mentoring books, articles, podcasts, or webinars as a group
Mentorship program admins can also provide a list of mentorship-related content such as books, podcasts, guides, etc. Mentors and mentees can add to these lists and discuss what they find and learn.
Such a resource doesn’t need to be mentorship-specific. This list can also be career path-focused or industry-specific. This way, participants have much to discuss about what’s going on in their field and industry.
10. Plan “Ask me anything” sessions
“Ask me anything” sessions (or AMAs) are becoming more and more common in communities and networking events. These sessions give mentees an opportunity to ask mentors questions related to their career growth, skills, company, etc.
Mentors may naturally have a Q&A session after their mentorship meeting but by holding a separate AMA, you set aside more time and mentees can come with more intentional questions. This informal Q&A will help further strengthen the mentor-mentee relationship.
Check out our guide for more mentoring activities.
Mentorship is an ongoing process, and to keep your participants engaged and learning, you need to provide them with the right opportunities.
You can choose and add mentorship activities within their mentoring agendas. This way, as they hit certain milestones, they can unlock new activities to level up their development. Or, they can use these mentorship training activities to reach new milestones. Either way, they are geared to encourage and support growth and development.
And having a mentoring platform like Together makes it easy to set up and share these activities and agendas with all your mentoring groups. Want to see this in action? Book a demo today!