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Maximizing the Impact of Remote Mentorship: Insight from a Mentee

By Zerubbabel Addy Selby | June 25, 2024  | Mentoring Researcher Experience

In this blog, Zerubbabel Addy Selby shares his experience and ideas on how mentees can maximise their mentorship impact by increasing effectiveness.

Introduction

During and after the Covid-19 pandemic, most people and organizations have adapted to remote and virtual activities. This has recently increased activities remotely which were in the past, held in-person.

Remote mentorship has recently become an approach in providing guidance and support to individuals (mentees) in their professional careers, relationships and other aspects of their life without geographical barriers. This opens up opportunities to connect with industry leaders, academics and experts worldwide. Remote mentorships are organized by various entities, including professional societies and associations, academic and research networks, development and NGOs, and funding agencies. I have had the opportunity to be mentored through AuthorAID Journal Clubs. 

In this blog post, I share some pivotal ways of maximizing the impact of remote mentorship. Mentorship goals will be achievable when there is a clear communication of objectives, active engagement between mentor and mentee, effective use of technology and adaptability to changing environments.

mentees should also be willing to clearly communicate their grievances and questions without fear of being rejected by their mentor

 

Clear Communication: The sharing of information cannot be extinguished from any sector of our life. It is therefore very vital to ensure clear communication in remote mentorship to enhance its effectiveness and eliminate any form of ambiguity. Mentors should be willing to adapt and show empathy in their communication with mentees (interns) by the use of simple diction to enhance comprehension and positive feedback. On the other hand, mentees should also be willing to clearly communicate their grievances and questions without fear of being rejected by their mentor, even if they lack experience or knowledge about the topic being discussed or tasks being performed.

Mentee-mentor communication can also be enhanced through visual cues, helping build rapport and ensure clear understanding. Camera-off meetings can feel impersonal, leading to a sense of disconnection and reducing the quality of interaction. Graphic showing two cartoon people sitting either side of a table, appearing in discussion, with a purple speech bubble above

 

Active Engagement: Both parties should be actively involved in the mentorship program. Nonetheless, much engagement and activeness could be on the part of the mentee being the learner in context. Learning occurs when we step out of our comfort zones, ask questions, and learn from our mistakes. The involvement of the mentee is crucial as it determines the continuation of the mentorship program especially if the ratio of a mentor to mentees is quite very high, which is usually the case in the global south.  

Nevertheless, the mentor also plays a critical role in engaging the mentees by frequently questioning their minds, giving them tasks and providing networking opportunities and corrections when mistakes are being committed. Mentees should be given the opportunity to explore new tasks, even those outside their usual field of department.

Mentee-mentor communication can also be enhanced through visual cues, helping build rapport and ensure clear understanding.

 

Leveraging technological tools: There should be  readiness to adapt to technological changes to enhance the effectiveness of remote mentorship and its impact on both mentors and mentees. There should be fairness in the selection of any of these tools in order to benefit both the mentor and the mentee. Mentors should be willing to teach or provide guidance to mentees if they have little or no knowledge in using a particular tool in order to create a mutual learning environment . Some popular tools used for remote mentorship include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google meet, and WebEx. Leveraging these tools could mitigate cost which helps to channel resources to other investment avenues. 

 

Adaptability and Flexibility : It is very beneficial on the part of a mentee to adjust to a changed environment. Remote mentorship requires being active online to receive professional guidance and provide feedback by performing certain tasks. However, there should be flexibility in time management in order to suit the stakeholders involved. In Ghana for instance some people are accustomed to using midnight subscriptions which provide a higher bundle of data which is less costly than in the daytime. All things being  equal, most people tend to adapt to being active online to perform huge tasks during the night, especially with online learners taking a course with set deadlines.

 

Acknowledgement of achievement: Every milestone achieved by the mentee should be acknowledged and celebrated as it creates intrinsic motivation which keeps one learning and aspiring to do more to enhance personal growth and development. Mentors should also add their words of encouragement and recognition of the mentee’s achievements in the mentorship journey . 

 

Conclusion and Recommendations

 In conclusion, to help maximize  an impactful remote mentorship program, and foster innovation and success of interns or mentees, they should be equipped with the readiness, commitment, and resources in order to flourish regardless of physical barriers or distance. Distance is no longer a barrier but an opportunity for remote mentorship to globally make an impact in creating a future of talents and innovation.

Recommendations for Mentors

  • Mentors should establish a consistent schedule for mentorship meetings. Weekly or bi-weekly sessions can create a reliable structure that mentees can depend on.
  • Mentors should have meetings planned ahead. At the end of each meeting, confirm the date and time for the next one. This practice ensures continuity and keeps the mentee engaged.
  • Mentors must ensure the recording of sections. Send video recording to mentees especially where the task involved is complex. Mentors must also send a brief summary of the main discussion points, action items, and deadlines. This helps mentees to stay on track.

Recommendations for Mentees

  • Mentees must clearly define the set goals they hope to achieve from the mentorship, to ensure they align or measure progress effectively.
  • Mentees must come to each session with a clear agenda, questions, and topics for discussion. This ensures productive use of time and shows respect for the mentor's commitment.
  • Mentees must supplement mentorship with additional learning resources such as online courses from authentic and valid websites like AuthorAID courses, webinars, and industry literature recommendations by mentors.
  • Mentees must learn to acknowledge their mentor’s time and effort. A simple thank you note or acknowledgement of their support can strengthen your relationship.

 

About the Author

Zerubbabel Addy Selby, is a member of the AuthorAID Ghana Hub. He is currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Economics Education at the University of Education, Winneba. He is also an intern with the Dataking Research Lab of Dataking Consulting where he is exploring themes of  economics and climate  change. Besides, he is volunteering with the Young Investors Network and Absa Bank Ghana, to educate and promote financial literacy in Ghana.

 

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