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Mentor Playbook

Where to start on mentoring

Getting Started

  • The GU4U Committee will provide a connection email, copying both the Student and the Mentor, that will include details for both individuals

  • The Student should make the first contact. If you do not hear from your student within a week, then attempt to contact student.

  • The Mentor should take responsibility for igniting the conversation once the student has made contact – whether that is with a friendly email reply or an energizing first phone call.

Next Steps

  • Get to know each other!

    • The Mentor should ask the student questions to get to know their background and life story

    • Often starting from early grade school years and where they were born can help the student include details and talk about something they know well (their life) and how they came to be at Graceland. This provides an opportunity for the Mentor to relate with the student and identify common interests.

    • Tell the Student about yourself and how you ended up at Graceland

  • Identify the preferred method and frequency of communications.

    • Phone calls

    • Texts

    • Facebook messages, etc.

    • 1or 2 times a month

  • The mentor should set the pace and elicit the student’s goals.

    • A mentor listens carefully to his or her mentee’s goals, strengths, and struggles.

    • Based on those goals, the mentor supports the mentee in meeting his or her goals through questioning, providing guidance and feedback, sharing his or her own experiences, and possibly connecting the mentor with other individuals or groups who could help.

    • Every mentoring relationship will unfold differently based on the individuals involved, but the purpose of mentoring is not to tell the mentee what to do, but to help the mentee make informed decisions.

    • The mentor should be supportive, not critical or negative, and should remember that everyone’s experiences and priorities are different.

  • Here are some sample questions to assist the initial communication process – these are questions that the mentor could forward to the student, or simply have on hand as a conversation guide.​

    • What are your values?  (What do you enjoy in your personal life, what is important to you, what do you value in prospective employers?)

    • What type of work would make you want to sit in traffic for an hour just for the privilege of showing up? 

    • What would you be compelled to do even if you never got paid for it?

    • What are you passionate about?

    • How do you define success? 

    • What drives you?

Sample Topics for Future Conversation

  • Discuss fears/concerns/excitement students have coming to graduation

    • Share what challenges the mentor faced in graduating

  • Job interview tips

    • Practice questions

    • Resume review

  • Job search tips

    • Where to look

    • Known opportunities

    • What the mentor’s experience was applying for jobs

  • Selecting first job

    • How to evaluate opportunities

  • Setting up benefits packages at a new employer – what to look for

  • Negotiating salary

  • General awareness of relevant business topics in business world today

  • What specific industries are going up against

  • How business disciplines align, compare, and contrast

  • Who are key players (individuals and businesses) in the industry

  • Common acronyms in the field

  • World news and economy

  • General knowledge of the business world and the ups and downs of the economy

  • Recommended articles, books, websites and news to follow

  • Current economic and global business news

  • Recommended articles and publications to follow

  • Personal finance

  • Recommended publications

  • Setting up IRA

  • Investing tools and resources

  • Common corporate marketing strategies

  • Including social media activity

  • Sales Experience

  • Common approaches

  • Follow on to in-class topics from students


Given that the mentoring relationship requires trust, communications between the mentee and mentor should be kept confidential.

Additional Resources

What if it's not working out?

Occasionally, the mentoring relationship doesn’t work out. This can be a result of bad fit, a mentor or mentee who doesn’t actively participate in the relationship, or communication issues. If this happens, the best way to approach it is to first address the issue with the mentor/mentee. If this does not rectify the problem, email or the GU4U Committee member who facilitated the initial connection and we will be happy to provide support.

Mentor Playbook: FAQ
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