We recognize that many aspects of our lives are in flux as we adjust to the newest guidelines, restrictions and recommendations set by our Nation’s leaders. As we adjust to this new normal, we encourage you to stay on course with your personal and professional goals. In order to help, here are our four tips for Maintaining Your Mentoring Relationship During COVID-19:
- Take a tactical pause to regain your bearings. For many, it is normal to enter a period of quiet reflection when we are more socially isolated. If this applies to you, acknowledge this and take the time needed to reevaluate and assess your professional and personal goals. In that time, you may identify new pathways, needs or areas of concern. But do not disengage completely. Take the steps to move in that new direction and lean on the wisdom of a mentor when you are ready.
- Talk through your challenges and be prepared to pivot. There is undoubtedly uncertainty associated with this pandemic and it is possible that the goals you were working on prior to COVID-19 may no longer be relevant. Perhaps different or even more pressing problems have now come to the forefront. Protégés, it’s okay to spend some time talking through this uncertainty with your mentors. In many cases, they have walked similar paths in navigating uncertainty and crisis. They are seasoned leaders and subject matter experts with a broad range of experience. Tap into their knowledge to reassess your personal and professional plans and take action when needed.
- Do NOT disengage. Now more than ever, you need to remain connected to your mentoring partner. Take a pause if needed, but do not disengage completely. Use eMentor and other technological resources available to continue your conversations. If you’ve previously conversed via email or text, we encourage you to continue to do so. If you are comfortable, connecting to one another by phone or conferencing technology (Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts) may be helpful during a time where we are socially distant and may help you remain focused on your goals and action plan, or to create and navigate newly assessed pathways.
- Be patient. Mentors are also experiencing change and disruption to their lives. Protégés, if there is a lag in response time from your mentors, exercise grace and compassion. Everyone is working through the process of finding a new normal and that may cause a slight delay in response.
For those seeking connection to a community of mentoring support, consider joining eMentor. eMentor was designed by the military community for the military community and has successfully connected over 13,000 service members, veterans, reservists and military spouses to meaningful mentoring resources and networks of support. There is no fee to join and all service eras, ranks and duty statuses are welcomed. Flexible mentoring and connection options are available that include:
- One-on-One Long-Term Mentoring Connections
- Single “Flash Mentoring” Sessions
- Group Mentoring
- Q&A Discussion Forums
- Webinar Series
STAY HEALTHY. STAY SAFE. STAY CONNECTED.
How we choose to take care of one another, how we connect with one another and the deliberate actions we choose to take in these moments are critical to how we overcome this momentary setback. We are in this together.