Mentoring programs come in all shapes and size; and often time is not a "one size fits all". Often times there are many factors to consider when pairing a mentor and a mentee; do their criteria align, what is the availability schedule, and is location an issue? In the digital age we now live in, distance is no longer a factor; in fact, a mentor in the UK could easily be matched with one in the U.S. However, as with any mentoring pair, there are pros and cons to virtual mentoring.
With virtual mentoring, one is exposed to much more than they would have choosing a mentor in the same office as where they are located. For starters, they have a much larger pool of potential matches to choose from. It could be good exposure for the mentee as well, for example they could be matched with a mentor based in the U.S. and could find that their talent could be used over there. As well as a larger pool of matches and potential exposure, you could be matched with a mentor from a different culture with a different set of values which one might adopt and use for their own career development.
Language is only about 25% verbal with the rest being interpersonal. When using virtual mentoring, sometimes it’s harder to establish a connection with the pair because you simple don’t have that face time value. So it is hard for a mentee and mentor to gauge body language and social queues due to the lack of face-to-face communication. Another challenge can be technology. Make sure the mentor and mentee have agreed upon what technology they will be using, (whether it’s by webcam, Skype or email) before starting so they can ensure that they can minimize as many communication barriers as possible.
Rest assured, there is a mentoring program out here for everyone. We no longer have to view distance as an obstacle, for your new mentor may be just a click away!