At the first meeting, the mentee should bring an updated curriculum vitae, information regarding the mentee’s time for research, teaching, administration, and clinical care, and a list of short-term and of long-term personal goals (Haynes, Adams, and Boss, 2008).
The initial meetings should include negotiation between the parties to ensure an understanding of the process and its expected outcomes including the expectations of the mentor by the mentee, expectations of the mentee by the mentor, the goals and outcomes desired by the mentee, responsibilities of each person during the relationship, establishment of any boundaries, the importance of establishing trust, a recognition that all conversations must remain confidential, an understanding of how outcomes of the mentoring relationship will be measured, and an understanding of how developing problems during the relationship will be resolved.
A written mentoring agreement can assure both parties understand the process and its planned outcomes. In addition, these first meetings should establish ground rules such as when to meet, where to meet, the frequency of the meetings, what happens when a meeting must be canceled, of who sets the agenda for each meeting, and how much in advance of the meeting the agenda will be shared. As a rule of thumb, agenda setting should be the responsibility of the mentee as mentoring is designed to benefit the mentee in achieving academic success.
These first meetings are also a time for the mentor and the mentee to get to know each other. It may be useful to include a social time like a lunch as one of the early meetings. It may take more than one meeting to accomplish the agreement for the relationship. It is more important to establish a good foundation than to worry how many meetings were spent getting started.
Future mentor-mentee meetings can establish a lasting relationship to help the mentee achieve his/her goals. At the conclusion of each meeting, a verbal summary can ensure that agenda items were fully discussed or that some will be carried over to the next meeting, and to be sure that feedback of the mentor was fully understood. Journaling after each mentoring session can enhance the learning and provide a future reference.