Before you start mentoring, think about who you could help in your network of friends, family and workmates. Perhaps you know someone who has already come to you asking for help, or know someone who might really benefit from learning new digital skills. Have a chat with this person and start planning!

Mentoring can be a one-off meeting but it is often more beneficial to meet for at least three learning sessions. Decide what days and times suit you both. Face-to-face meetings can be more effective but you can also mentor someone over the phone.

Think about how you might create a comfortable learning environment and try to make a positive welcome space. Snacks can also be important - no one likes to learn on an empty stomach!  

You should also keep in mind that some people haven’t been in a learning environment for decades. They might feel nervous at first. Let them know that:

  • You’re not an expert and we’re learning this together;
  • It’s okay to ask questions anytime, even if it’s after the first sentence;
  • There are no stupid questions;
  • And they can tell you to slow down or speed up anytime.

Why not help them feel comfortable by telling them about a time when you made a funny mistake using technology to show that we all learn as we go.

At your first meeting, decide on two to three things that will be covered in your sessions. If you choose more, there is a risk of information overload.

Also, keep in mind that tasks that seem simple to you, such as using social media can get quite involved. For example: Facebook involves setting up an email address, making sure it’s secure, accessing the email address inbox, clicking a link and going to a new web page. All this before you even before you start using Facebook!

Once you’ve decided on your topics, it can be helpful to print off any relevant learning guides from the Go Digi website to refer to in your sessions.

Don’t worry about having all the answers. You’re not an expert, but nobody is, especially since technology changes so quickly. 

What you do need to have is the attitude that you’re learning together, and if you don’t know the answer, you’ll try your best to find out. Perhaps you might even decide to get your own Mentor. Someone who knows more about a particular area of technology than you do.

You might also give the person you’re mentoring some homework. This can be as simple as setting them a fun task to do online that they can try do before your next session.

Let them know it doesn’t matter if they get stuck with their homework– the important thing is that they have a go. You can always help them in your next session.

Once you finish your sessions, you might be wondering, what next? If you both want to keep going, great, organise some new sessions. Maybe you could make yourself available for questions over the phone or email.

Another option is to direct your mentee to another learning resource, such as the Go Digi learning guides or organisations like libraries and neighbourhood houses.

Congratulations, you’ve learnt how you can support someone as a Mentor to learn something new! It’s time to level up and find out how you can direct someone to other learning resources.

Progress to the next Training Module - Direct.

Thank you to Aniela Kaczmarczyk, Head of Learning, Tinder Foundation for the concept of inspire, support and lead.