When face-to-face mentoring is not possible for members (due to difficulties with distance, mentoring in a specialist industry sector or where there is no local mentor available) e-mentoring is suggested and co-ordinated by the IET. E-mentoring refers to a mentoring relationship conducted mainly by email or telephone where it is not possible for the mentee and mentor to meet face to face.
The most important factor in any mentoring relationship is communication, whether it's through face-to-face meetings, email, telephone or even Skype.
It's important that you have an agreement in place so you both know when it's convenient to make contact, what your goals are and what you both want to get out of the relationship. The IET mentoring service can help with suggestions for this agreement, and this is covered in your mentor or mentee training.
Many of the networks outside the UK have mentors available who are ready to support members. Many mentors are happy to mentor across borders or to support mentees from another area, as it is not always possible to find a mentor within the mentee's immediate local area.
Our non-UK mentors received the same training and can offer the same guidance and support as the mentors within the UK.
When mentoring, it's important that you take into consideration a number of issues and these become particularly important when managing a relationship between those from different countries or backgrounds. You should discuss any potential differences in your initial meetings at the contracting stage and reach an agreement on how you will manage this.
If you are e-mentoring across time zones, the time difference may also be a factor to consider when arranging meetings or contacting your mentee or mentor. The careers section offers further information on working globally, and discusses some of the potential benefits and issues which may face members in this situation.