If a student is working towards a long-term aspiration, then it can be useful to have a regular slot to check-in with their mentor. Perhaps they are determined to get an A* in a particular subject that they have previously struggled with, or submit an extensive research project with time to spare before the deadline. A goal does not have to be academic, it could also be personal; they may be keen to make more friends in their boarding house, or get onto the school swimming team. Regardless of their aim, a mentor can provide a helpful and reassuring sounding-board who will encourage the student to stay on track.
Mentoring is also a very powerful tool when a child is going through a social, emotional or academic transition. Starting at a new school or university is naturally a source of anxiety and we find that checking in with a mentor regularly – perhaps once a week at first, dropping down to once every half term and then every term – can ease a student’s nerves.
Mentoring through a transition may have a practical focus to start with, particularly when a student is in a new city or country. Students may want to talk about whether they have opted for the right courses or how many societies to commit to. Often, though, as time goes on mentors will ask about how well a student is mixing with their peers, what they can be doing to keep up their motivation and when they should be considering the next steps.