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The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Mentoring

Behind virtually every successful person, there’s a supportive mentor as the backbone. Bill Gates has Warren Buffet, Warren Buffet had Benjamin Graham, and he had someone, too.

In fact, 87% of mentors and mentees feel empowered by their mentoring relationships and developed greater confidence. That never hurts. Of course, things got a little complicated after the global pandemic hit, making it difficult to find or maintain a mentorship.

It doesn’t have to be difficult, though. As all things moved online, so did mentoring relationships. Virtual mentoring platforms like MentorCruise are part of a new era to remove physical barriers, and they’re proving to be a wide success for remote employees and students.

In this 6-minute read, we’re going to introduce you to the industry. By the end of your read, you’re going to learn:

  • What a virtual mentor is, exactly
  • How they can help mentees and mentors
  • If you should trust mentoring platforms & how to vet them
  • How to make virtual mentoring work

What is a virtual mentor?

Virtual mentors are veterans in their field ready to guide novices worldwide on the right path through online communication (like video conferencing and chat).

Mentors strive to teach career development, confront personal challenges, and help set and manage a mentee’s success expectations. They accomplish that by continued support through actionable advice, mentoring activities, and lessons. It’s great because you grow through genuine relationships and deeper communication, with no physical bound.

A good mentor is hard to find in real life, let alone online. Getting them to commit is even harder. That’s why a trusted source and matcher for virtual mentorship and coaching is the best way to find the perfect mentor-mentee match and start thriving as soon as possible.

Benefits of Virtual Mentoring: What’s in it for you?

A virtual mentoring program is probably a foreign topic to you, but it can be an incredible alternative to traditional on-site mentoring, giving you access to a wider range of talent. Whether you’re an aspiring mentor or eager-to-learn mentee, you’re naturally wondering why you should bother investing your time and effort in a virtual mentoring relationship.

That’s a good question. And it’s one we’ll answer clearly in this benefits section:

Virtual mentoring meetings are flexible & convenient

​​Thanks to technology, participants in a mentorship program can meet online at a mutually convenient time from any location. They’re not restricted by 9-5 office hours or limited room bookings.

Especially with the pandemic, parents struggle with work-life balance as they must attend to their families and kids (since most daycares and babysitters are unavailable) while committing to work all under one roof.

So, the ease of tapping into a call whenever you want at the comfort of your home is particularly appealing to people with familial responsibilities. You don’t have to stunt your professional growth for your new stay-at-home reality–virtual mentoring helps ensure that.

More likely to find the perfect match to catalyze growth

Mentees may feel excluded and disheartened if they can’t find a mentor that understands their needs, experience, and background. Likewise, a mentor may feel ineffectual and like they’re wasting their time with the wrong mentee, who’s not looking for what they offer. These issues of inclusion are a mutual waste of time and money.

But, with a virtual mentoring program, the range and diversity of mentors and mentees increase exponentially since you can reach professionals in other office locations, cities, even countries. That way, you have a higher chance of matching with the right person than settling for a mediocre relationship because that’s all that was available to you.

There’s no point in running virtual mentoring programs if you can’t make strong matches to ensure strong results. A leading mentoring software like MentorCruise gives you filtering options to root out the best possible mentors for your situation.

Learn or teach at your own pace

Although society has its 9-5 clock, it’s no secret that many of us aren’t morning people, don’t like working in the afternoon, and some of us are night-owls who can move mountains under the moon.

Working at our own pace during our prime time (feeling the most energetic and focused) will result in maximum productivity, quality results, and a happier individual.

For mentees, one of the upsides of a virtual learning platform is that online courses are easily accessible and replayable. You don’t need to attend that class at 2:00 PM anymore. Click play at 3 in the morning for all you care–whichever time you work and learn best.

Mentors also aren’t pressured to follow a strict curriculum before a semester ends. They can set reasonable deadlines for any goals or projects and offer continued support optimized and integrated within their busy schedules through their expertise.

Accomplish more in your career

Did you know that you’re 40% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down? More importantly, that number jumps to 70% if a mentor keeps you accountable for achieving them.

Often though, mentoring is seen as a one-sided benefit favoring the mentee’s career advancement. Though valid, a mentor still experiences some great research-backed benefits.

For example, 87% of mentors (and mentees) feel more confident and empowered through their mentoring relationship, and coaching others can make a mentor more productive themselves. Building confidence is directly correlated to solid work performance and overall career success.

Not to mention, mentoring others is a strong display of selflessness, initiative, and leadership–strong beacons to other people that you’re a qualified individual who supports collective growth and success.

Should you trust mentoring platforms like MentorCruise?

With the growing popularity of virtual mentoring sessions, an online mentoring platform like MentorCruise has gained much attention. As it’s a paid platform with mentors in one of the most competitive and crucial industries, tech, it’s important to determine whether they’re legitimate and worth the investment.

Long story short: MentorCruise is a solid platform with great mentors with proven results. Here’s how to vet whether a virtual mentoring platform is for you.

  • Positive social feedback is an excellent indicator of credibility and impact: MentorCruise’s reviews and testimonials from the mentees themselves signal trust in their service. Many of the reviewers have their profile’s linked and progress documented. So, you can get more than just their written word on the website and even reach out to them with questions.
  • Examine the catalogue of mentors and make sure that they have the relevant skills to help you. MentorCruise helps you make an informed matching decision from the get-go. Thanks to a review system, strong portfolio criteria, and advanced search filters, mentees can choose mentors with a proven track record and relevant experience. Likewise, the mentor can decide whether or not they’ll be an impactful fit given the mentee’s goals and expectations. Both ways, the mentoring platform increases the chances for a good ROI.
  • More than short reviews, you can read actual success stories with documented progress and achievements. That way, you can get inspiration for your own growth expectations in a similar field and get an idea of how exactly your mentor may help you through it.
  • Do a free trial. MentorCruise understands that mentees–and mentors–may want to have a little trial-turn before committing financially to continuous sessions. That’s why a 7-day free trial with every new mentor is offered to users.
  • Responsive customer support. Even after all of MentorCruise’s precautions, sometimes, bad experiences will happen. In which case, users can report unresponsive mentors and get refunded if their claim is valid. This policy shows that MentorCruise has its user’s back in non-ideal situations and puts customer satisfaction first.
  • MentorCruise’s team thoroughly and objectively vets all mentor applications for solid experience and competence. They also must meet specific compatibility criteria like time availability, commitment, knowledge, people skills, and background. Only then will they be promoted on the platform. A mentor that fails to be supportive and meet those criteria will not be made available to mentees.

How to Make Virtual Mentoring Work

Virtual mentoring comes with many upsides like convenience, better matching, personalized scheduling, and career growth and success. But, it also brings forth some challenges. Nothing is perfect, after all. But, we’ll also cover some solutions to mitigate their negative effects.

1. Encourage participation

Modern technology is excellent at bringing people together, but it still isn’t the same as meeting someone in person. For the same reasons, virtual mentoring may be beneficial to some people, it may also be detrimental to others.

93% of communication is non-verbal, meaning that your tone of voice and body language communicates a lot of underlying emotions, motives, and feelings. That makes our interactions more interesting and meaningful. So, people who value body language in getting to know somebody might have difficulty or take a bit longer to adjust to virtual mentoring sessions.

Mentoring is all about human connection. Encouraging asynchronous communication, such as through chat and long-form messaging, can help prevent issues related to a lack of communication from arising and ensure that mentees and mentors stay accountable throughout the relationship.

To maximize the quality of interaction with non-verbal cues, it’s encouraged to use video calls as much as possible. Icebreakers and social time are also great to get to know each other better.

2. Accommodate to different time zones

Virtual mentorships can open you to a more diverse range of mentors, but that comes with some drawbacks. Scheduling virtual meetings can prove challenging if the mentor and mentee live in different cities or countries with largely gapped time zones.

A mentor’s open afternoon, maybe a mentee’s dinner time. So, finding a good time to meet can cause a lot of back and forth and undesired friction.

When looking for a mentor, scan all the viable options in your time zone first before moving outside of it. When approving a mentee, ensure that you’ll be able to accommodate their needs and serve them with the same energy and commitment you would with a person in your area. If you feel like you won’t be the most helpful to them at 10:00 PM, it may be best to pass.

3. Set regular milestones

Both mentors and mentees must understand that in order for virtual mentoring to work, you need to establish measures that create accountability. This includes setting regular milestones for the mentee to accomplish, whether throughout the day, week or month.

Milestones are also an effective way to track progress. In sales, this could be increasing the number of leads prospected during a time period. In marketing, the mentor can encourage the mentee to engage more on social media, or to publish more blog posts.

Different types of milestones include:

  • Daily tasks
  • Start and end dates for certain efforts
  • Checkpoints
  • Checklist to be completed

Milestones serve as signposts throughout the relationships to ensure that the mentee is developing throughout the program. They are an excellent way to figure out if the goals you’re setting are within reach or if they’re too challenging for the mentee. When the latter happens, delays tend to happen, and that is an indication to modify the program.

Grow through virtual mentoring

Virtual mentoring is largely effective in connecting people, encouraging career and self-growth, and building community. During the current crisis, virtual mentoring offers the chance to bond while still physically distancing in these uncertain times.

Hopefully, by now, you know exactly what virtual mentoring has to offer, the downsides, and what to look out for in a great mentoring platform. If you’re ready, start scouting for your ideal mentor for free and give that 7-day free trial with them a shot on MentorCruise.

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