An important goal of the support PMs provide directly to mentors involves teaching them how to be the best mentor they can for their mentee in particular. A great deal of research and practice has been conducted to understand the way adults learn most effectively. This resource synthesizes key findings from that research and applies them to the context of providing pair support to mentors..
Building Relationships With Mentors
Developing authentic/trusting relationships with mentors and ensuring they are seen as a credible resource is critical to PMs' success in providing effective support. This resource is the foundational component of iMentor's suite of best-practice resources for mentor support. It is comprised of tangible strategies PMs can apply to their work with mentors throughout their relationship.
Assessing Mentors' Motivations
Volunteer management research has found that individuals who receive benefits and supports relevant to their primary motivations for volunteering are most likely to be satisfied with their experience and to persist in their efforts. This resource is an important component of iMentor's suite of best-practice resources for mentor support, covering evidence-based research on volunteer motivations and strategies PMs can use to understand individual motivations in service of developing an effective approach to working with them.
Setting Expectations and Holding Mentors Accountable
The iMentor model is designed to position mentors as the key lever in supporting mentees' attainment of their highest post-secondary aspirations. One of the most important types of support conversations PMs engage in involves ensuring mentors understand what is expected of them and what they can expect from the PM. This resources is an important installment in iMentor's suite of best-practice resources for mentor support. It includes strategies PMs can use to effectively establish programmatic expectations and set a foundation for holding mentors accountable throughout their iMentor experience.
Supporting Mentors in Playing the Right Role at the Right Time
All mentors come to volunteer with the intention of having a positive impact on their mentee's ability to achieve their post-secondary aspirations. However, most mentors do not come to the organization with prior youth development experience and/or aren't familiar with navigating specific challenges their mentee may encounter on their post-secondary journey. This critical installment of iMentor's suite of best-practice resources for mentor support. It covers the seven key roles mentors will play in their relationship with their mentee alongside guidance PMs can use to support them in fulfilling the right role at the time their mentee needs them to play it.
Navigating Difficult Conversations With Mentors
From time to time, PMs will be faced with the challenge of engaging mentors in a difficult conversations (i.e., a mentor makes a miss-step with their mentee, fails to meet programmatic expectations of mentors, etc.). When approached thoughtfully, difficult conversations often serve as a critical turning point in a pair's relationship and puts them on an better trajectory than they were prior to whatever challenge prompted the discussion. This pivotal component of iMentor's suite of best-practice resources for mentor support provides a discussion framework that PMs have found to be reliably effective in keeping difficult conversations on track and productive.
Supporting Mentors Paired With English Language Learners
Because the iMentor model revolves around a whole-school partnership, it is possible that PMs will be working with pairs in which the mentee's native language is not English. This circumstance can pose a unique challenge to some mentors, but it can also be a transformative experience for the mentee as well. This resource lists best-practices established by PMs over the years that have proven effective in providing support to mentors paired with an English language learner.
Designing a Mentor Communication Plan
One of PMs' primary communication vehicles with mentors will be email and as such, it is important that they strategically approach the use of the mode. This resource introduces the standard types of messaging PMs will leverage, as well as the automated messaging generated by the iMentor Platform. PMs can use this resource to consider the full landscape of mentor communication efforts as they design a plan to communicate effectively throughout the year.
Mentor Communication Plan Template
This resource provides space for PMs to map out their plan for communicating with mentors throughout the year, including emails they plan to send, Tasks & Announcements they plan to schedule, regional communications and automated iMentor Platform messaging (based on their class schedule).
Mentor Email Communication Best-Practices
PMs frequently communicate with mentors via email to share information about their mentee and programming in general, in addition to making calls to action. Because email communication is a central element of PMs' mentor communication plans, it is important that the medium is approach strategically and thoughtfully. This resource outlines best-practices PMs can use when crafting email communication with mentors.
Emerging research suggests that gratitude from program staff is strongly associated with mentor confidence and persistence in their relationship. This resource lists several strategies for expressing gratitude with mentors as they exhibit desirable behaviors.