4 Ways Managers Can Stay Connected with Virtual Mentors

Last week we discovered How To Find A Virtual Mentor, but the tricky part is staying in touch afterward. With life, work and relationships, it's easy to fall behind in your career journey. If you learn to avoid distractions and stick to a routine, you'll get to experience the long-term benefits of mentorship.

 

1. Develop a Routine

If you chose a good mentor, he or she should frequently post or distribute valuable content. Let's say that you picked a success coach who offers lesson modules. You need to complete at least one module per month. She also posts a weekly blog and shares an informative article every weekday on social media.

Create a schedule that will allow you to keep up with the reading material. You need to have time to read, reflect, and then comment. Use this schedule as a template. Modify it and apply it to your own situation.

 

Monday 7:00am - 7:10am

Tuesday 7:00am - 7:10am

Wednesday 7:00am - 7:10am

Thursday 7:00am - 7:10am

Friday 7:00am - 7:10am

Saturday 9:00pm - 9:30pm

Sunday 8:30pm - 10:00pm

Read Facebook Post and Leave a Comment

Read Facebook Post and Leave a Comment

Read Facebook Post and Leave a Comment

Read Facebook Post and Leave a Comment

Read Facebook Post and Leave a Comment

Read Blog Post and Leave a Comment

Complete one-fourth of lesson module. 

 

By dedicating just a few minutes each day to reading, you stay on track and stay focused. Keep a rigid schedule and eventually it will become an automatic habit.

Schedule

 

2. Contribute to the Discussion

Find the Key Points

Reading the material is beneficial, but it won't sink in if you don't apply it to your own life. After you read a post or a blog, take a few minutes to ponder the key points. Reflect on your own strengths and weaknesses. Determine which points really hit home for you.

Drill down and get very specific. Choose an exact time and place where you can apply what you've learned. Even if it's something small, like writing yourself a note or mentioning something to a coworker, commit to completing the task. Find real-life moments that you can improve on.

If you have questions about the material, never be afraid to ask for help. Your mentor should always be willing to clarify any points or references that you don't fully understand. More often than not, you're not the only one who seeks clarity.

Engage In Conversation

Once you've got a plan, share it! Comment on the post and explain how the key points relate to your specific situation. If you need some reinforcement or motivation, ask for it. Don't be afraid to say, "I'm struggling with X aspect and I wonder how to apply to Y."

After you've completed the key point task, document your progress. Comment again and share how it all went. Describe what went right or wrong and how it made you feel. Literally typing out the results helps reinforce the point and encourages you to actively stay involved. 

Don't forget to comment on other people's comments. If someone shares a perspective that you never thought of, let him or her know. Create a continual feedback loop of insight. Sharing with the public creates an accountability group. They will challenge you and vice versa.

 

3. Be Honest

Baring your soul for all of cyberspace to see might seem intimidating, but in order to experience the full benefit of virtual mentorship, you need to dig down deep. If you're struggling in a specific area, reach out to your community for guidance. There are many private Facebook groups or smaller chat sessions that welcome honest exchange. The members of the community are legitimately interested in developing strong relationships, so learn to step out of your comfort zone.

That said, always consider common courtesy. Make sure your comments are respectful of all members of the group and relate to the discussion topic. No one likes a troll.

If you're afraid of other people trolling or that your honest comments might make their way back to your department, send a request for one-on-one chat sessions. While your core mentor might not always be available, there are plenty of business communities and mastermind groups with trustworthy members. Virtual mentors come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. You just need to find someone who can be a spring board for brainstorming and reflection.

 

4. Stay Focused

Career Path

As with real-life conversations, sometimes the discussion can get derailed and go off topic. Don't let distractions lead you away from your goals. Remember your mission is to receive guidance on your career path. Passively reading and discussing aren't enough. It's up to you to put the work in and actively apply what you've learned.

Establish some goals for yourself. For instance, you might decide that you want a raise within the next year and a promotion within the next five years. Map out the steps you need to achieve your goal and stay focused on your timeline. 

If you find that you aren't advancing toward your goal, take time to assess your virtual mentorship situation. Is your mentor providing relevant insight into your chosen career field? Do you feel the lessons are moving you in the right direction? Are you actively engaged or gradually slacking off?

You may need to change virtual mentors in each new stage of your career. The more progress you make, the more your needs will change. Don't let yourself get complacent. Continually work to improve your skill set. Verify that you are being challenged frequently to perform at your best.

 

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