The First Mentor-Protege Contact

By Barry Sweeny, 2003

Ideally, as soon as it is known that a protege will need a mentor:

  • A mentor should be assigned.
  • The protege should be alerted to that mentor’s name and contact information, such as phone number, e-mail, etc. and be told to prepare a list of questions for the mentor in advance of their first contact.

Mentor Meeting the ProtegeThis needs to be done right away as proteges will have questions, doubts, concerns, and needs right away from the start of their new assignment. They deserve support from the start as well.

As soon as a mentor is assigned, he/she should be prompted by the program (letter? e-mail? phone call?) to try to:

  1. Contact the protege;
  2. Introduce him/herself, and provide the protege the mentor’s contact information;
  3. Get acquainted;
  4. Ask the protege if there are any questions for the mentor;
  5. The protege should ask the mentor if he/she has any questions for the protege.
  6. The pair should set a time, date, and place where they will meet to begin their work as a mentoring pair. Mentors should refer to the Checklist for Before the Protege Starts Work.
  7. The mentor should explain if there is anything the protege can do now to be better prepared when it all begins. This helps a protege to be better prepared when the protege starts work.
  8. Finally, many mentoring programs use a mentoring first meeting checklist, which should be referred to, or a mentoring contract which they expect each mentoring partner to read, sign and follow.

What should a PROTEGE do if NO mentor calls?

  1. Ask your mentoring program contact person (who sent you information that you were assigned a mentor?) how much time to expect it may take for the mentor to contact you.
  2. Wait a reasonable time for a contact. The person may be out of town or unavailable for any number of reasons. 1-2 weeks is reasonable.
  3. Check your e-mail, voice mail, and other message possibilities. Even if the mentor is out of town, he/she may try to reach you some way other than a phone call.
  4. If still no message or call, ask your mentoring program contact person for contact information for the mentor, and take the initiative by contacting the mentor yourself.