Some field mentors are naturals when it comes to meeting each week with their intern. They read books together, share opening about their spiritual lives, and never lull in the conversation. Then there are us normal people. I’ve found a formula that helps me with each of my direct reports. Change, adapt, or scrap – hope this is helpful
- Relational Connect. 5 minutes. It is still true that many don’t want to know how much you know until they know how much you care. This is genuine interest in whatever the intern wants to talk about when I ask, “How is your week” or “How was your weekend” or “How are things going for you?”
- Celebrate. 5 minutes. I’ve realized that many come into a meeting like this and are nervous and expecting someone to tell them everything they’ve done wrong since the last meeting. I want the intern (just like my children) to know where they are winning, to catch them doing well. This is as specific as possible with genuine thankfulness for their contribution. I might say, “I noticed how you responded with grace and in a timely manner to that volunteer. That’s exactly how we want mature staff to handle a situation like that” or “I was told you were the last to leave at the end of that event and helped clean up even though it wasn’t your job. I’m thankful we get to see that you are a servant even when there is no obvious reward. Well done.” What gets rewarded gets repeated.
- Your Agenda. Hopefully they have sent it to me ahead of time so that I can prepare and not react. I see my job as their leader to help the break through any barriers in the goals we set together at the beginning of the year/quarter. Because I want these same things, I am happy to pull together additional resources, problem solve, or pitch in to make this a reality.
- My Agenda. Finally we get to where most people begin. There are things I want to comment on that the intern needs to pay attention to moving forward, tasks I need them to pitch in and help with from someone else’s meeting with me, or future or changing position of the organization. Again, try to be specific. I generally follow up with an email that has some level of specificity especially timelines.
- Prayer. I’ve found this to be surprisingly absent from most direct reports when I was learning/not in charge. It may even feel awkward at first. I ask specifically what I can be praying about for this person and then…we pray together. It is a great way to close the meeting and make sure this person knows you care more about them than simply what they produce. I’ve been bold enough to do it with my direct ups as well.
Enjoy your time together,