What is Spot Mentoring?
Spot mentoring is normally used to describe the facilitation of opportunities for more ‘casual’ one of mentoring meetings. These spot or situational mentoring meetings usually have a very specific and focussed topic/approach. Spot mentoring is also a great way to ‘try out’ the mentoring experience without signing up and some organisations will run some spot mentoring as a ‘taster’ experience to encourage their employees to get more informed about mentoring and possibly with the aim of getting them involved in a more formal mentoring scheme if they run one.
I am thinking of getting involved in mentoring, should I do some spot mentoring first?
It is not essential, but if you have the opportunity to do a ‘taster’ or spot mentoring programme, you should take advantage of it. You will get to try out that particular mentoring scheme, get an idea of what is expected of you and what to expect and you will meet new people. Also if you are thinking of becoming a mentor (and not a mentee) which may be a role you are less comfortable with – it can be a great opportunity to give it a go.
How do I ask someone to be my Spot Mentor?
Outside of an official ‘spot mentoring’ opportunity it is really up to you to take the initiative. As Spot Mentoring is more ‘casual’ and on an ad hoc basis it could be a simple as setting up a coffee/lunch meeting with a contact and letting them know in advance what you are looking to get out of the meeting e.g. specific advice on…. You don’t even have to use the word ‘mentoring’. You could have many spot mentors among your contacts that you call upon for advice in particular situations.
How else can I use Spot Mentoring?
Another great use for spot mentoring is using it to keep in touch with previous ‘formal’ mentors and mentees. Usually a more formal mentoring relationship might only last a year, but after this point while you might keep in touch it is unlikely that you will keep up a formal mentoring relationship and you may both acquire a new mentoring relationship. Spot mentoring can keep this mentoring relationship alive for specific advice, but not eat too much into your time. Also if you already have a number a formal relationships and someone else asks you to be their mentor, a spot mentoring opportunity can be an appropriate compromise.
For example I usually have 2 mentors and 2 mentee relationships in a year. I use spot mentoring as a way to facilitate more mentoring requests, keep in touch with previous mentors and mentees and build new relationship with interesting people.