Distance mentoring, or mentoring without consistent face-to-face meetings, is becoming a common practice among mentors and mentees. With the development of technology, we can access relationships and learning in ways that until recently were not possible.
Tips for online mentoring
Regular communication. Agree on the type of communication or frequency through which the mentoring process would take place (Skype, phone, Google Hangouts, emails, Facebook chats etc.). Make an effort to contact your mentor periodically throughout the programme;
Preparation. Approach every meeting – whether it’s video, phone, or instant message – as if it is a face-to-face meeting. Prepare your notes, questions and make sure you make the most of your session with the mentor. Minimize distractions. It is very important that you give your full attention to online mentoring sessions. Turn off or mute your phone, close all other programs on your computer, and turn off notifications. Be in the moment and fully present.
Online mentoring experience: Šarūnė Baltramonaityte, season 4th alumna
Women Go tech alumna Sarune Baltramonaityte shares her online mentoring experience. Sarune’s mentor Dovile Gedvilaite lived in Sweden, while Sarune was based in Lithuania but they successfully managed their online communication and had a very positive mentoring experience. What was it like to communicate with your mentor online? How did you both manage to do it successfully? There were no problems. We used a lot Facebook messenger app and we always turned on the cameras, so it was very similar to a live meeting. We also used emails very actively. For us, emails have proved very useful, especially in discussing more complex topics, when it is necessary to think and formulate thoughts more clearly. Of course, writing an email takes time, but at the same time it is a more comfortable way of communication – you can write down when you have time and you know exactly what you want to say. I think a combination of both video calls and emails is the best choice.
Did it take time and effort to adapt to remote communication or maybe online communication was already common? There was no need to adapt. In my work, online communication is a routine, so it’s a common thing. Clearly, mentoring requires not only business communication but also a personal connection. At first, I thought the quality of the meetings with the mentor would suffer but my fears didn’t come true. Our meetings were really engaging, interesting and rewarding.What advice would you give to other students starting their distance / online mentoring? Be sure to try different ways to communicate remotely: video calls, emails, chats. Maybe someone will really like it and others will prove necessary, or maybe you will use some combination of them all.