Successful Mentor Relationships

I. STARTING OUT

First:

  • Initiate contact within three business days of receiving Mentee contact information. Introduce yourself, share info, encourage questions or discuss concerns.
  • Determine together the method of communication that works best for you and your Mentee(s). (Email, texting, chat, Facebook, in-person, etc.).
  • Find out what the Mentee has done so far (registration, orientation, when will the Mentee arrive on campus) and how things are going.
  • Inquire as to why the Mentee chose their particular program of study, and share what program of study you chose, and why.
  • Inform Mentee(s) of upcoming events that are important to new and first-year students; specifically, this would include the importance of attending our orientation and welcome (O-DAYS!) and Campus Life CONNECT U.
  • Communicate as often as you like from month to month, but adhere to the established Communication Schedule for the Official Program Communication: within the first three days of each month.
  • Ask Mentee(s) about their goals and determine your role: social connection? Advice on how to study? Referrals to resources? Procedures? It’s okay if you don’t have answers to every question—make appropriate referrals.
  • Mentee contact information should be kept private. Only assigned Peer Mentors and Campus Life staff should have access to the names and email addresses of assigned Mentees.

Keep in Mind:

  • This “getting to know you stage” may take some time, so be patient.
  • Avoid assumptions.
  • Take initiative with communication and schedule it.
  • Mentee(s) may be shy.
  • If Mentee(s) do not respond, DO NOT take it personally. DO inform Campus Life Coordinator while maintaining ongoing communication.
  • Be sensitive to cross-cultural similarities and differences and how they influence interaction.
  • A mentoring relationship takes time and commitment to develop.
  • Take it easy! Take time to know each other’s personalities, interests and needs. Taking things slowly will be helpful in increasing the comfort level.
  • Know that some Student Mentees may treat you as a trusted confidant and disclose personal information during conversations. This information should be treated with the utmost respect and confidentiality.
  • Take note any questions you may have for discussion with peers or OCAD U staff.

I. FOLLOW UP:

Next:

  • Continue to communicate with your Mentee(s), checking in as much as you do like; adhere to the monthly communication schedule.
  • Help your Mentee(s) by providing encouragement, support and guidance; refer them to appropriate resources.
  • Support and reassure your Mentee(s) during difficulties.
  • Ask about class work and share personal experiences on how to deal with schoolwork demands, stress, and extracurricular activities.
  • Listen to your Mentee(s); point out strengths, building their confidence towards making independent decisions.

Keep in Mind:

  • It takes time, commitment, and sensitivity to develop a connection.
  • As your Mentee(s) get to know you better, they will feel more comfortable and less intimidated.
  • Mentee(s) have the option of opting out of the program at any time. Do not take it personally if this happens. Let us know if this happens.
  • Remember… when you do not know the answer, say so. Find out who does know and make appropriate referrals. Keep notes.

Tips for Communication:

  • Adjust your communication style as necessary to accommodate that of your Mentee(s) (directness/indirectness; outspoken manner vs. reserved; outgoing vs. shyness).
  • Be sensitive to the Mentee(s) verbal and non-verbal clues.

Exploration:

  • Further explore goals and expectations, and the areas the Student Mentees may need additional support. Make appropriate referrals.
  • Informally clarify your common interests, values and objectives.
  • Check the OCAD U Events Calendar regularly and encourage participation in events, sometimes as a group with other Mentees.
  • Plan a monthly group activity.

Challenges:

  • Face-to-face contact and building trust and mutual respect.
  • When you try to suggest alternatives, which are not accepted.
  • Rejection: you offer un-needed help or the Mentee is not ready.
  • Working with a Mentee for many months but they drop out.
  • Deciding on activities to do together.

III. STABILIZATION

Next:

  • Follow up on class work inquiries.
  • Make sure the Mentee is getting the answers or info needed.
  • Recommend activities, volunteer program or student-run groups.

Continuation:

  • Through continued communication, the needs, values and beliefs of Mentees will be clarified and will become more apparent.
  • The Mentee is becoming more familiar, involved in social life, and better understands how to deal with OCAD University life.

Tips for Communication:

  • Do not expect that your Mentee(s) will do everything you advise.
  • Put yourself in the Mentee’s situation; see it from their point of view rather than your own.
  • Verify Mentee’s feelings and concerns.
  • Respond to the Mentee’s need properly (need for nurturance vs. need for autonomy).

IV. CONCLUSION

Wrapping-up:

  • Mentee(s) have acquired a familiarity with OCAD U and its procedures: confidence, knowledge, and a stable social network.
  • Mentee(s) will become less dependent.
  • Increased self-sufficiency results in less frequent contact.
  • Peer Mentor duties have been fulfilled upon the conclusion of the program at the end of November.
  • Remember to communicate with Student Mentees and thank them for their involvement.
  • Extend an offer of continued support (though informal) for the following winter term.
  • Relationship can often continue as friends.

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