Returning mentors may know the basics of your program, but it is important to revisit program expectations and goals at the beginning of every new school year. Below are the talking points used by PCs when making calls to mentors who are returning for another year with their mentee. If you are looking for talking points for working with new matches, see the Talking points for introduction calls to new mentors article.
Tips from a PM
There is so much information to cover in intro calls that it's easy to make this a mostly one-sided call as you power through your talking points while the mentor listens. To keep the mentor listening actively rather than passively, try coming up with subtle "comprehension checks" to keep mentors engaged. As with comprehension checks in the classroom, make sure these are not simply yes/no questions.
On the other hand, since you do have a lot of information to cover, make sure your comprehension checks are also not open-ended questions that may lead to the mentor taking up more time than you're able to allow in order to cover the rest of your talking points. An ideal comprehension check will feel like a natural, conversational question to get an idea of the mentor's perspective, reaction, feedback, etc. This also gives you a better pulse check of where this mentor feels confident and where they might need more of your support.
Examples of comprehension checks that are specific (not open-ended) but require thoughtful responses (not quick yes/no questions):
- Of the information we've just covered, what do you think you might need the most support on? And in which area do you feel the most confident?
- What worked best for you and your mentee last year on this topic? Where is the room for improvement?
- What are the potential challenges you foresee for yourself or your mentee on this topic?
- What would a reasonable timeframe be for you to have a chance to respond? (survey, Canvas lesson, etc)
- What types of resources, support or involvement from me would be helpful on this topic?
The overall goals for the intro phone calls for returning mentors are to (1) remind the mentor of the general framework and focus of iMentor, why their role is so important, and to revisit roles and expectations, and (2) to either pick up where you left off with the mentor last year and build upon progress OR introduce yourself to the mentor, gain an understanding of the current progress to date for that match, and build rapport to make the mentor feel that the new PC is still a useful, knowledgeable support.
Outline the call
- Hi this is __________ from iMentor. Do you have some time for our Intro call? The call should last about 15-20 minutes.
- In this call we’ll start by doing some general introductions, go over the big picture of our program, discuss goals and expectations and then talk about next steps.
Introduce yourself to the mentor (if you haven't worked together before)
- My name is __________ and I am your Program Coordinator
- I have been in New York for _______ (length of time)
- Additional facts you’d like to share (college you attended, why you decided to work at iMentor, other professional anecdotes)
Get to know the mentor
- Why did you decide to volunteer with iMentor?
- How long have you been in New York?
- What borough do you live in?
- What’s your preferred method of communication?
- Confirm that information on file is accurate (including workplace, email address and phone numbers)
Have mentor share context about mentee and progress of match
- How did last year go for you and _______?
- What are some things you’ve been working on together?
- How did you communicate over the summer? Did you meet up?
- Can you share some challenges/accomplishments that you shared last year?
- If challenges – what solutions or next steps have you tried so far? What can I do to continue supporting you?
PC Tip: Don’t let this section get away from you and run too long. There’s still a lot to cover. If you’ve already worked with the mentor, adjust accordingly. You probably already know a lot about them and can tailor this piece to fit your established relationship.
The goal of discussing the Big Picture is to set the framework for the way that mentors approach and look at their role and the program. This is a space to share iMentor’s vision for success, including the importance of the curriculum and how the PC, mentor, and mentee all fit into this big picture.
Our goal is college success
- As a refresher, as a mentor you’re in a position to provide the one on one support to __________ (mentee name) and help him/her develop the skills needed in order to be successful in college. You’ll use your knowledge of the college process to support your mentee, while also developing soft skills with your mentee that are essential to college success.
Mentoring is powerful!
- Research shows that when done right, mentoring can have an incredibly powerful impact. However, the reverse of this is that mentoring can be equally detrimental when care isn’t taken in the relationship.
Mentoring is hard!
- There will be challenges
- It takes patience and hard work to build a relationship
- Outline support available
- Program Coordinator
- Mentor Huddles
Discuss your role as the Program Coordinator
- Working together to support your mentee
- In the classroom once a week
- Informed college resource
So as you know from last year, the curriculum is a very important tool to support your relationship and the goal of college success.
- Checklist goals act as roadmap
- Timely conversations
- Explain grade appropriate check list goals
- The curriculum will be delivered through the emails and events and are a means for you to continue building your relationship
PC Tip: Most mentors are aware of this, but it’s good to review so they have the focus in mind. Your tone should be more of a refresher and less instructional.
This is a time to lay out what our specific goals are as related to our big picture vision. It is important to have this be a conversation. If the mentor is slow to come up with goals (many will be, because they will be caught off guard), draw the mentor out, and support their critical thinking of their goals for the relationship, for their mentee and some obstacles that may be present.
- As mentioned, our goal is college success. [As getting post secondary education is the greatest indicator of a higher quality of life—from earning potential to health, to happiness, each of these are significantly higher among those who earn a college degree.] The way we get there is:
- Building and strengthening your existing relationship
- Continue utilizing the curriculum through weekly email and monthly events
- What goals do you have for your relationship with your mentee this year?
- What do you understand your mentee’s goals to be? What do you think would be most useful for your mentee this year?
- What do you think might be some roadblocks or obstacles to achieving this?
- How can I help?
PC Tip: The questions for the mentor’s goals are intended to draw this information out of your mentor as necessary. Be sure to record these goals in your notes with detail so you can reflect on this later. If your mentors bring up specific ways for you to help, bring it up in the Next Steps section and include in the follow-up email.
This is a time to lay out what you are expecting from your mentors. It is important to be specific and clear. Make sure that it is overly clear that the reason for these expectations is related to the welfare of the mentee and their relationship.
Keeping all our goals in mind for your relationship with your mentee, and for your mentee, what I am expecting from you is:
- Read the Weekly Update: This is the best way for me to communicate updates and requests for the program, related to the curriculum, events, everything related to your mentee, etc!
- Timely responses
- Reaching out to me when you have any questions/concerns
Like we’ve discussed, mentoring is hard work!
- Be patient, consistent, always present, reliable!
- You are driving the relationship! Ultimately, your mentee’s experience in this program over the course of your match is determined on your participation and consistency
- Weekly Emails
- Respond to your mentee and address the prompt within 48 hours of receiving the email
- The class is on ________________ (class day and time)
- Send an email even if your mentee isn’t able to write!
- Monthly Events
- Prioritize these events
- RSVP as far in advance as possible, even if you don’t know whether or not your mentee is able to attend
- Mentees are still developing time management and planning skills. Knowing that you are planning to attend is a huge motivator and helps the mentee commit to the event
- Keep me updated if your plans change
- If you and your mentee are unable to meet, I expect you to take the lead to reschedule and follow up until you meet up.
- Monthly iMi Relationship Check-In (sliding scale)—“How strong is your relationship with ______?”
- Be honest
- Your answer is not something anyone besides I will see
- Not optional, required to move onto the next screen
- Quarterly surveys
- All of these are found in the weekly update, another reason to read them!
Value the safety of your mentee*
- Keep online communication limited to the iMentor email platform.
- If there is any question of self-harm or harm to others, please let us know immediately.
- Keep us informed about OOP meetings
- Since you have been Go Pass fingerprinted as part of our screening process, you and your mentee will have the opportunity to meet up outside of official iMentor events and the iMentor office after an additional consent form is signed. This is a great way to make up missed events!
*This section is particular to NYC program safety - adjust accordingly.
What you can expect from me
So, as you can see, I have high expectations of you (and for your mentee)! But, you can also have high expectations of me. What are you expecting from me? How are you expecting to utilize my support this year? (Make sure all the below points are touched on.)
- Coaching and support with anything related to your match
- A guide to resources
- Updates and information on events and curriculum
- Weekly Update every ___________
- Event/Email Reminders
- Periodic check ins
- Quarterly calls (this one, Mid Year, Spring Call)
- Timely response to any question
- Putting safety and security of mentee and all participants first
PC Tip: There is a lot covered in this section, but the more direct and clear you can be here, the better. It’s important to validate the experience that mentors have had and frame this as a refresher, while still setting high expectations for all mentors and break any bad habits that might have developed so far.
This section is intended to be brief. This is where you wrap up the call and review any next steps both those that you will take and those that the mentor needs to take related to your partner site and the general iMentor program.
- Follow up Email: Attach the following
- Qualities and Actions of a good mentor
- Check List Goals
- Upcoming Events
- Mentor/PC expectations
- Include reminders about:
- Upcoming Email
- Upcoming Event
- Survey (if not yet complete)
Thank mentor for their time and express excitement about working together this year!