It's no secret that virtual mentoring can be a challenge. With the click of a button, we are now able to mentor from anywhere in the world. It can be frustrating, however, to pick up on the non-verbal communication cues that are crucial for establishing trust and creating meaningful connections.
That being said, research suggests virtual mentoring is just as effective (if not more) than face-to-face mentoring when it comes to developing leadership skills. That’s because it’s more remote mentoring sessions are more convenient which increases mentoring and learning opportunities.
It is understandable that Zoom fatigue is real, so keeping everyone engaged during long video calls can be tricky. By choosing the right activities, remote meetings can be maximized, and you can enhance the productivity and motivation of your mentees.
In this guide, we will explore some effective virtual mentoring activities to make video calls fun and beneficial for your mentees while avoiding boredom and burnout. Let's get started.
15 virtual mentoring activities that make every meeting impactful
Mentoring is an invaluable activity for promoting personal growth and development. Be it individual or group mentoring, mentorships facilitate learning, growth, and success by providing guidance, support, and advice to their mentees. This leads to a mutually beneficial relationship that can facilitate meaningful connections among individuals.
There are many ways to conduct mentoring activities, such as fun icebreakers, engaging discussions, or simply building trust, facing fears, and making everyone feel comfortable. It is through these activities that the remote mentorship program stays on track while keeping everyone motivated.
As a result, the organization promotes a work culture that emphasizes fairness for all employees, regardless of their gender, age, or background.
Video conferencing doesn't have to be mundane. You can use a VOIP platform to perform a lot of engaging activities with your team
Through these activities, mentors can share their knowledge and experiences with their mentees, as well as gain valuable insight into their perspectives, even in a virtual environment.
Fun virtual activities to break the ice
Icebreakers allow colleagues to get to know each other better, build trust, and learn about each other's interests outside of work. You can also use these activities for your upcoming virtual team building event. Keeping employees engaged improves workplace culture and promotes mental health.
Whether you’re looking to break the ice or just have some fun, these virtual icebreakers are sure to get remote teams talking.
- Personality tests - From the famous Myers-Briggs test to silly Buzzfeed quizzes, personality tests are a fun way of discovering more about yourself and your team. Ideally suited for orienting new mentees, especially remote workers, they can also provide a comfortable and safe setting for everyone to become acquainted.
- Virtual field trips - Why not take the team on an exciting (virtual) ride? Instead of just sitting around chatting, a virtual field trip allows everyone to explore something new together from the comfort of their own home. A virtual field trip allows you to visit famous landmarks, explore a new city in one of your favorite countries, or you could visit an art museum or a zoo. The possibilities for learning together are endless.
- Would you rather - This is a great virtual game to break the ice, as it encourages conversation and humorous responses while allowing everyone to participate. The best part is that it works well for large groups or small ones. People can play in teams or as individuals, and the game can be adapted to various ages and interests.
Not only will these fun virtual activities provide a chance for your team members to socialize in a relaxed atmosphere, but they also have the potential to develop better communication and problem-solving skills for effective collaboration.
Thoughtful discussion topics for remote team members
As a mentor, it is your responsibility to create conversations that are both interesting and thought-provoking in order to encourage learning and growth. You could also use this time as an opportunity for members of your team to share their experiences and expertise with one another.
Make sure that each member has an equal opportunity to participate in conversations by asking questions throughout the session and providing them with space to explain their ideas in depth.
To stimulate thoughtful discussions among remote team members, here are some virtual mentoring activities to consider.
- Out-of-the-box thinking questions - These types of questions are designed to encourage critical thinking, consider alternative perspectives, and come up with innovative solutions. For example, a mentor could ask a group of mentees, "What would you do if money weren't an issue?" The responses may vary greatly, depending on the mentees' experiences, but that's what makes it such a valuable exercise.
- Bucket list brainstorming - This encourages mentors and mentees to reflect on their accomplishments and set achievable goals. This could include anything from having a virtual coffee session to exploring different cultures through documentaries, trying out new hobbies, and listing new work milestones.
- Reading discussions - From book club sessions to study reports and industry materials, discussing resources is a quick way to learn new concepts and apply them while working on different projects. Discussions during the learning stage are crucial to developing a professional mindset.
By fostering an environment where every team member is respected and encouraged to contribute, you will create a more collaborative and enjoyable experience for all.
Activities that get you out of your comfort zone
Virtual mentoring activities can also help you push yourself out of your comfort zone to reach the “growth zone” to challenge yourself, take risks, and learn new ideas. These activities can help to build confidence and resilience in individuals who are looking for guidance from a mentor.
By engaging in these types of activities, a mentee will be able to gain the tools necessary to become successful professionals in their chosen field. In addition to building confidence and resilience, activities that promote growth can also be beneficial for networking with potential employers and colleagues.
You can be sure that your team will be in the growth zone after participating in these activities.
- Practice a presentation - This activity allows participants to practice their public speaking skills and enhance their overall presentation abilities. It gives them the opportunity to present in front of an audience, which can be intimidating for many people. The goal is to make sure the presenter is comfortable presenting their material and conveying the message they want to communicate effectively.
- Reverse mentoring activity - The goal is for both parties to benefit from the exchange of ideas and insights. During a reverse mentoring session, they focus on what the mentee can share with the mentor. This could include knowledge of current technology trends, recent training courses taken, or an understanding of how a younger professional or someone from a certain group might perceive certain issues.
- Roleplaying activity - Roleplaying allows employees to gain insight into each other's strengths, weaknesses, communication methods, approaches to conflict resolution, as well as their work habits. This type of activity gives you the opportunity to practice behaviors and various work techniques while also allowing you to gain new perspectives on different situations.
By engaging in activities that get them out of their comfort zone and challenge them, mentees will also gain an understanding of how diverse workforces are beneficial to companies and organizations.
Casual activities that promote a relaxed atmosphere
When you are just getting started, it can be difficult to break down the barriers of potentially intense mentoring sessions. Casual activities can help foster comfortable interactions during virtual mentoring sessions.
You can offer the team a chance to feel at ease from the get-go with these casual virtual mentoring activities.
- Virtual coffee - Everyone is happier when they start their day with a cup of joe. This casual virtual mentoring activity can help build relationships between coworkers and create an open, supportive culture within the workplace. It's also incredibly simple and flexible - there's no agenda or structure to follow.
- Check-ins - The idea behind check-ins is that they should be informal conversations where the team can talk about what’s happening in their lives, share ideas, ask questions, or just catch up with each other. This allows people to connect on a more personal level which helps create an environment of trust and camaraderie among the group.
- Discuss favorite books and podcasts - The mentor or mentee can choose to discuss any book or podcast they find interesting, regardless of whether it relates directly to the profession at hand. It allows everyone to share personal experiences and encourages more casual conversation about topics not necessarily related to work but that may still be beneficial to both parties.
By providing an informal, low-pressure environment, mentors and mentees can get to know each other better and build trust in the mentoring relationship.
Activities that promote career development
Virtual mentoring activities can also serve to promote career development. They allow individuals to connect with experienced professionals, gain valuable insights and advice, and build constructive relationships that can help them advance their careers.
It should be noted that the relationship between mentor and mentee is mutual: both parties benefit from the exchange of ideas, resources, and support.
Consider these career-promoting activities for your team.
- Setting SMART goals - SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. The goal of this activity is for mentors to guide mentees in setting realistic objectives that will benefit their professional growth. This can be done by having the mentee identify their overall goal and break it down into smaller achievable steps or tasks.
- Elevator pitches - Mentees construct elevator pitches for their ideas by means of brainstorming, feedback, and revisions. This activity helps participants prepare for interviews, networking events, or other professional presentations. It also provides an opportunity to gain insight into various industries and job roles as mentors give honest advice about the realities of working in certain positions or fields.
- Project-Based Learning (PBL) - By working on projects together with mentors or peers who have expertise in the field they are studying, participants gain practical experience in collaborating in a professional environment. This allows everyone to gain new skills, knowledge, and insights while working together with others in the field.
By exploring different options and engaging in activities that promote career growth, people can gain invaluable knowledge and experiences that will help them excel professionally.
Take your mentoring relationship to the next level
From creating collaborative workspaces to setting up fun icebreakers to ensuring effective communication between members, virtual mentoring activities can provide the most conducive atmosphere for a successful meeting. With these tools in hand, you will be well on your way to hosting a successful meeting.
Though the traditional image of senior-junior mentorship is often what comes to mind when we hear the word mentorship, this isn't always the case. It's equally essential to know how to create a successful mentor relationship in today's world.
If you are setting up a mentoring program, be sure to make use of Together. Using our platform simplifies the mentoring setup and removes the hassle of installing multiple programs.