The mentoring process usually consists of the following phases:
1. Building a rapport
Building a rapport: It is obvious that if the mentor and the mentee have a poorly built rapport, not much can be achieved. On the other hand, if they have mutual trust, respect and true interest in each others’ lives, the outcomes of the mentoring relationship will be very positive.
2. Formulating goals
Formulating the goals: At the beginning of the process, both sides will probably have only a vague sense of the goals to be achieved. Establishing precise goals can only become possible when both sides have a clear picture of the starting place. In this phase, both sides should agree on the structure of the mentoring meetings. The structure can follow the steps presented above, or every pair can create a special structure for themselves.
- Agreeing about the process, methods and goals of mentoring
3. Evaluating the 'here and now'
Evaluating the “here and now“: The level of the accomplishment of the mentee – the starting point – should be objectively evaluated and the realistic parameters of that role/position should be agreed upon.
4. Deciding about the 'there and then'
Deciding on the “there and then”: It is necessary that both sides openly discuss and agree on what they want to accomplish, in terms of results as well as the time-frame within which these results can be realized. The term ‘discuss’ implies here that the mentor will help the mentee to decide what he/she wants.
- Goal setting
- Agreeing on the mission
5. Selecting a bridge between “here and now” and “there and then”
Selecting a bridge between the “here and now” and “there and then”: The mentee has to consider the gap between the current and the desired situation and to judge for him/herself which options are possible in order to reach the desired state. The most feasible options will be taken into consideration and through a combination of these solutions an optimal activity plan can be devised.
- Situation analysis
- Obstacle analysis
- Learning styles analysis
- Selecting among different bridge options
- Outlining the realization plan
6. Bridge building
Bridge building: The mentee takes care of the activity plan implementation. The mentor’s input in this phase should be minimal. If the mentee gets discouraged in this phase, the mentor can assist most effectively by asking questions that encourage an overall reflection on the relevant factors, while at the same time keeping the mentee’s focus on the end goal.
7. Crossing the bridge - progress evaluation
Crossing the bridge – progress evaluation: The mentor’s role in this phase is to a) help the mentee face and overcome unavoidable obstacles to success, b) help the mentee decide whether the goals should be fine-tuned or if the method for their realization should be improved or changed, c) help strengthen the sense of goal ownership, d) encourage perseverance and strengthen the mentee’s ability to respond to challenges.
- Monitoring and performance evaluation
- Feedback system