Speed mentoring can be a fun way to introduce mentoring to your organization. It can also help build employees’ skills, knowledge, and collaborative skills. While it is not meant to replace other mentoring opportunities, it can be an ideal way to find out whether your employees are craving connection and learning opportunities.
What is speed mentoring?
With speed mentoring, a mentee is assigned to a mentor and then given an allotted time to ask questions and seek information from the mentor. It is similar to flash mentoring, like a cross between mentoring and musical chairs. There are various formats that speed mentoring can take, including one-on-one or group mentoring.
Related: What to know the most popular workplace mentoring models? Download our cheat sheet to find creative ways to pair employees.
What are the benefits of speed mentoring?
Speed mentoring holds many of the same benefits as flash mentoring, traditional, or longer-paced mentoring sessions. It also has a few unique advantages, such as how quickly knowledge is shared. Here are the main benefits of speed mentoring.
Most people will have more than one mentoring throughout their working lives. These people all have something to offer and provide valuable experiences. Speed mentoring holds the same benefit. It can connect a mentee with many different mentors, all of who provide a different perspective.
Speed mentoring sessions allow mentees to get to know many different leaders and start building a relationship with them. This enables a mentee - and a mentor - to create their list of contacts. In short, speed mentoring is a fast way to network.
In a speed mentor setting, mentees need to be very direct with their questions if they are to get the information they seek. This can be an excellent knowledge-sharing experience without the time commitment of formal mentorship. One of the pluses of knowledge sharing in this way is that the focus of the interaction is on sharing information, not so much on building a relationship.
How to start a speed mentoring event
Organizing a speed mentoring event can be a fun and engaging way to help your employees connect. Here are some tips to help you develop a successful speed mentoring activity.
Get them to register ahead of time
To launch a successful speed mentoring event you need to know who’s coming. Likewise, you also want to know about them: their tenure, skills, unique experiences, and preferences. You can manage the registration process in two ways:
- With an automated registration process using Together’s mentorship platform,
- Or download this template for registration questions.
Whichever method you choose, you’ll want to collect key information on mentors and mentees. It will be helpful as you plan the rest of your event.
Provide participants with discussion topics
It can sometimes be tricky to get conversations started, and because time is limited with speed mentoring, providing your participants with discussion topics can help them get the most from the experience.
- Here’s a list of questions mentees should ask.
- Here’s another list of questions mentors should ask.
Share a list of mentors with mentees
Allowing mentees to know who they will be meeting with and dialoguing with can help them hone their questions. They will be able to think about what they really want to know or questions they really have for that specific person based on their background and experience. It is another way to ensure the conversation is beneficial during the session.
Finalize logistics of event
There are many different formats you can choose when hosting a speed mentoring event. Be sure to give some thought to what the participants would find most enjoyable. Here are some things you can consider as you organize your event.
- Will the speed mentoring event be virtual or in-person? Speed mentoring can be done either in-person where mentors are sat down at a table, and the mentees move about the room, or it can be done virtually using breakout rooms on Zoom’s video conferencing platform.
- How long will each mentee have with a mentor? The key to successful speed mentoring sessions is to give participants enough time to engage in meaningful knowledge-sharing, but not too long where the conversation becomes awkward. Usually, sessions are given 3-15 minutes.
- Will it be general or have a specific theme? Are you going to allow mentees to decide what questions to ask and what topics to discuss or will the speed mentoring event have a specific focus, such as career planning or skill development?
Encourage mentees to follow up
Speed mentoring can be a fun event and mentees can get many of their questions answered, but it is not meant to replace other forms of mentorships. Encourage mentees to follow up with mentors they want to connect more deeply with or those they have more questions for. You may even find that speed mentoring events are a good way to kick off or introduce a more formal workplace mentoring program.
Tips for mentees
Speed mentoring may feel a little intimidating for mentees, but it doesn’t have to be. With some preparation, you can have a meaningful interaction with mentors. Here are some ways that you can get the most out of each speed mentoring session. All great mentees follow these guidelines with their mentors.
- Have a goal - consider what you want to learn from each mentor and create a goal for your sessions.
- Be open-minded - approach the speed mentoring event with the mindset of learning everything you can from the mentors.
- Prepare a 30 second “this is who I am” introduction - a brief introduction can help a mentor understand what you want to learn and where you want to go with your career.
- Ask specific questions - prepare questions ahead of time and be direct. You don’t have a lot of time with each mentor so only ask about what you really want to know.
- Take brief notes - you won’t be able to remember everything afterward and it can be useful to have some notes to review from your sessions.
- Be appreciative of their time - be respectful and polite, thanking each mentor for their time.
- Connect with other mentees - don’t miss out on the opportunity to connect with peers as well as mentors.
Introduce mentoring into your organization
Speed mentoring events are an excellent way to gauge the interest in a more formal mentoring program at your workplace. It can also be a fun way for your employees to get to know one another and build their networks as well as their skills. However, speed mentoring sessions are not meant to replace traditional mentoring, which can bring a deeper experience to an employee’s career.
Starting a mentoring program in your organization isn’t difficult. Together’s mentoring software can guide you through the process from planning, pairing to reporting. If you’re looking to develop a world-class mentoring program for your employees (check out these examples), you need mentoring software. Find out how Together can streamline a successful mentoring program in your workplace.