The mentor-mentee relationship is crucial to the effectiveness of the mentoring program. In order for the mentoring program to be successful, both mentor and mentee must be comfortable communicating, interacting and learning from one another.
Matching mentors and mentees is one of the first steps in supporting the development of strong mentoring relationships. The specifics of the matching process will be dependent upon the purpose and structure of the mentoring program.
- Formal mentoring programs will have a more detailed matching process and will require that mentors and mentees provide information about themselves and their motivations for participating.
- Informal programs may not require a formal matching process and instead may require that the mentee initiates the mentoring relationship by self-selecting a mentor or choosing from a list of existing mentors pre-selected by the mentoring committee.
Regardless of the matching process selected, it is important to track program participation. A mentoring profile is helpful in collecting participant information, tracking interest and collecting pertinent information needed to initiate the mentoring relationship. A mentoring profile could include:
- Personal contact information
- Credential and educational background
- Place of employment
- Nursing specialty
- Motivations for participating in the mentoring program
- Expected outcomes of participating in the mentoring program
- Copy of current CV or resume
Additional information may need to be considered for formal programs or if the program requires a specific time commitment, skill set, experience or technological application.
Like mentoring, profiles can be formal or informal. The important information to exchange is the contact information for both mentor and mentee, as well as the motivations for and expectations of participating in the mentoring program. Cost constraints and access to printed or electronic information may stipulate how profiles are collected, distributed, shared and stored.
The purpose of the introduction is to provide mentors and mentees with the opportunity to get to know one another for the sake of initiating the mentoring program agenda. Successful introductions will help both parties feel comfortable with the other, and begins establishing a level of trust and credibility needed for successful mentoring relationships.
Group mentoring and short-term mentoring may utilize formal introductions during meetings, events or at designated times to ensure that all mentors and mentees receive the same kinds of introductions and access to mentoring resources. Informal programs and long-term programs may choose to allow personal introductions to be made and arranged by mentoring participants.