Mentoring programs, like all programs, come with their fair share of challenges. One of the biggest, though, is the long-term follow-through required of both parties (the mentor and the mentee).
And that’s when micro-mentoring comes into play…
What is micro-mentoring?
Micro-mentoring is just what it sounds like: It’s a short-term mentoring relationship. Micro-mentoring opportunities can last a few hours, a few days, or even a few weeks.
But the point is, they’re void of that long-term commitment commonly associated with traditional mentoring.
What do micro-mentoring opportunities look like?
Micro-mentoring opportunities can take a number of forms. Below are two of the most common (and two of the easiest to execute):
If your organization hosts an annual conference, consider pairing interested parties for the span of that event only. On the event registration form, have your members check whether they’d be interested in serving as a mentor or being paired with a mentor. (But make it clear they’re not required to check either.) Based on the responses you get, your organization could then pair attendees accordingly.
But note: There’s always a chance that you might have more members interested in being a mentee than you have interested in serving as a mentor. To manage expectations, consider adding a brief note explaining that the execution of this program will all depend on the interest level. That way, you’re not left scrambling trying to figure a mentor/mentee shortage out on top of trying to plan the actual conference!
Standalone mentoring events
You’ve heard of speed networking and brain dates, right? Well, standalone mentoring events kind of fall in that same wheelhouse. Again, you could ask your members to express interest either serving as a mentor or being paired with a mentor. But then from there, you could either pair members one-on-one or even several-on-one via roundtables. (Think a roundtable of five featuring one senior-level professional and four young professionals. Nothing wrong with that!)
But the point is, for that one hour (or whatever the time span may be), the mentees could pick the mentors’ brains a little. They could ask for advice and a little professional guidance.
Once the event is over, that’s it. The attendees could exchange business cards and stay in touch (as they could at any other networking event), but they’re not required to.
It’s the value of a mentoring program without the issues that tend to come from managing a mentoring program.
Whether you’re hosting a standalone micro-mentoring event or including it as an add-on to one of your existing events (your annual conference, for example), the key to success is getting the word out there. For a few event promotion tips, check out our free guide below!