This module is closely linked to Module 2 – Choosing a mentoring approach, Module 3 – Finding resources and Module 5 – Planning the mentoring program. You may find you need to move between these modules multiple times to gather the information you need to make decisions.
After reading this section you should be able to:
● select your team members
● clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each team member
● create an agreement for how to work well together.
Key questions to ask yourself
Do you have capacity within your existing team to run your mentoring program or do you need to bring on additional people to help?
What roles and responsibilities can your partners take on?
Roles will be different depending on the context and type of mentoring program you choose.
To determine what roles you might need for your chosen mentoring approach, please go to your chosen approach in our roles filter tool. Here you’ll see the main tasks associated with each approach and our recommendation as to which roles you might create for those tasks.
Whether these roles are voluntary or paid, a stipend will depend on what resources you are able to secure. If you do choose to pay a stipend, please make sure that you know your legal status (i.e. what you are legally allowed to do in your country) and also that you follow labour laws in your country (minimum wage, working conditions etc). We recommend doing some research in order to cost resources appropriately in your situation.
No matter what mentoring approach you choose, you will require a mentoring coordinator. The mentoring coordinator will be the main point of contact for mentees and mentors during your mentoring program and will be responsible for ensuring that they develop a good rapport during the mentoring program.
Not everyone is made to be a mentoring coordinator. It requires very good emotional intelligence (ability to ‘read’ people). Often a résumé doesn’t tell you whether someone has the right soft skills to be a mentoring coordinator, so we recommend asking questions in the application or interview process that require candidates to demonstrate their relevant skills and experience. See an example application form for mentoring coordinator that you could adapt for your own needs. This is also included as a key resource below, along with our interview guide and selection rubric to help you choose the right person for the role.
Some aspects of the mentoring coordinator role can be quite challenging, particularly managing expectations, group dynamics, and any conflicts that arise. This can be especially challenging for young and/or female mentoring coordinators. The assertive mindset required of the mentoring coordinator may be developed through additional training or coaching.
If you have more tasks than you think one person can handle, you may consider asking existing team members to take them on, or recruiting new team members. Team members’ responsibilities may be different at different times (e.g. a logistics person will be most needed when organising workshops but probably not so needed in between).
See Jim’s story about what other roles their mentoring program needed in the Stories section of this module.
Some mentoring approaches require partners to take on tasks. For example, an event-based mentoring program will require you to connect with an event organiser, who would be responsible for integrating mentoring questions into the event registration process.
Once you have your team, we strongly recommend spending a good amount of time together to:
get to know each other
discuss everyone’s roles and responsibilities over the course of the mentoring program
discuss hopes and fears for the mentoring program
discuss expectations of yourself and each other
design the mentoring program (more information on this in Module 5 – Planning the mentoring program).
agree on what you need from each other in order to work well together, in particular:
how you will communicate (method)
how often you will communicate (frequency)
how you will motivate each other
how you will provide positive and constructive feedback to each other
how you will address any problems or conflict that arise
It’s very important to spend time deciding what communication and project management tools to use, especially if you are a team that works together remotely. We have summarised a range of possible tools in Table 3 below. Each tool has strengths and weaknesses that determine how it is best used. While these tools will never replace the power of a face-to-face meeting, they can still be useful!
Table 3: Communications and project management tools
Sharing photos and updates, chatting
Anything you would use email for
Uses email, which everyone has
Sharing photos and updates, chatting
People need to become familiar with it
Like Skype, but better
May not be great for people on slow internet connections
Create and store all working documents – from meeting minutes, to proposals, to mentee and mentor applications
Mostly simple layout, simple instructions
Not ideal for big projects with many tasks
Draft terms of reference and call for applications for a mentoring coordinator.
Determine what other roles you need, what qualities or skills those people will need, and how you will find people to take on those roles.
Draft terms of reference for other roles and call for applications if needed.
When you have selected a team, schedule your first team meeting.
Jim, YPARD Philippines Country Representative, talking about his experience of determining what roles were needed for the YPARD Philippines mentoring program team, and how he met those needs through recruiting team members
Dorothy, Deputy Director of AWARD, talking about what she always tells new mentoring coordinators
Maggie, YPARD Philippines Mentoring Coordinator, reflecting on her ongoing experience as mentoring coordinator, and sharing advice for other prospective mentoring coordinators
Dorothy, Deputy Director of AWARD, discussing the challenges of being a young, female mentoring coordinator, and advice on how to overcome these challenges