Tips for moving 2 online mentoring and coaching

R u working with younger learners? R u moving to online mentoring or coaching?

Here are some of my – not definitive – project planning thoughts, if you are planning to move to online mentoring and coaching and work in FE, schools, organisations and projects with younger learners:

  1. Project management: Moving online might be a new project for you, so work together with your team to create a realistic, collaborative project planning template – names, tasks, timelines – and carry out a H&S risk assessment etc.
  2. Framework: Consider implementing an online policy and/or guidelines, e.g. Internet Safety Digital Mentoring Policy. Within that, have a clear Safeguarding section, e.g a link to your assigned officer and a link to your Safeguarding protocols etc. Make sure to link to GDPR as well. 
  3. Train:  All relevant staff, students (and maybe parents) and organisations you link with, in understanding the digital mentoring guidelines and policy/practices at whatever level is suitable or accessible, e.g educate students on how to be safe online when using ICT for mentoring. Use digital induction sessions, online newsletters and 1-1 digital inductions. Keep it informative, but engaging and fun.
  4. Survey students and, if suitable, appropriate parents: Find out about wifi, if a confidential room is available, if wifi is secure etc..Use this info. as a starting point
  5. Monitoring: Be clear about, and take an active part in, the content filtering/monitoring/record keeping system, of any online sessions. Explore how this could be done with any new platform you choose. 
  6. Concerns: Be clear on what learners can do if they have any concerns – what’s the process for them raising their concerns about digital mentoring etc? What is the online complaints process? How can you make this easy? 
  7. Agreements: Create a new section of your Mentoring Agreements with students for this digital aspect of your work (with each mentor and student and/or parent if involved, for any learners). Get this signed, if possible, so it’s clear that you have inducted around digital mentoring (e.g. discussed it, allowed for any questions, agreed it). Store these documents in encrypted ways as you usually do. 
  8. Attend to equality, diversity and inclusion: EDI may be impacted by online mentoring – e.g what learning needs are there emerging from the digital approach? What are the reasonable adjustments needed? 
  9. Support your staff in this new digital work: What new issues arise for them? What concerns them? What is easy, hard, challenging and interesting? What opportunities does it offer them, arising from their own expertise? What else is needed, useful and emerging? Increase supervision, L&D, coaching and mentoring for them at this time to support easier change to digital mentoring. Listen to your staff, include them and discuss with them upcoming digital mentoring changes. Communication is key. 

Please let me know if you have tips to add to these – let’s share expertise and ideas. 

Summary tips: 

Moving to effective online mentoring and/or coaching learning needs a whole-org, often collaborative approach, joining up all your current practices, e.g GDPR, safeguarding etc. Planning for online or distance learning/mentoring activities is ideally best done by including the org’s safeguarding team or lead, as part of the planning process. 

Who we are

I lead The Learning Moment. We usually work helping setting up and evaluating face to face and online mentoring and coaching projects and schemes. I usually also lead CPD and support for facilitators, coaches and mentors. We are Miranda (a Senior Manager, working with safeguarding and disadvantaged or at risk learners in FE), Penny (admin) and myself Andry (director, coach, mentor, facilitator, consultant and general dogsbody).

Do drop me a line for workshops etc., to support any L&D or coaching and mentoring: [email protected]


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