Long-Distance Mentoring: Can It Work?

You’ve been working with a great Healthcare IT mentor for a couple of years, but now she is moving to the other side of the world to help her company plant some roots in China.  Does that mean the two of you have to break up?  Or, maybe you have yet to find a mentor who really helps you connect to your passion, but you know you have an interest in working in Europe some day.  Is it ridiculous to consider looking for a mentor in France?  The answer to both questions is “no.”  In today’s world, your mentor can be anywhere and what exciting possibilities that offers!

Anne Fisher shares in a recent column that around 40% of IBM’s employees are virtual or mobile, and therefore they have become experts at restructuring the mentor model to foster relationships between people who may never get to meet at the local coffee shop to talk about how the day went at the office.

Fisher shares several suggestions made by IBM executives for developing the mentoring that you may want from a long-distance teacher.  What all of the advice comes down to is communication, which we know is essential in every aspect of our lives, be it professional or personal.  Respect the busy schedule of your mentor and approach the phone call or video chat with specific questions. When the conservation is over, send an email summarizing what was discussed to make sure nothing was forgotten or misunderstood.  When you aren’t face-to-face or when you are operating in two different time zones, with one person energized and ready to start a new day and the other ready to crash on the sofa after finishing a busy schedule of meetings, some details might get lost.

Check out the entire piece and think about whether or not there are some new mentoring possibilities you could explore by spinning the globe!

Have you ever worked with a long-distance mentor, or been a mentor to someone in another state or country?  How did you make that relationship work?

About the author


Joe Lavelle

Joe Lavelle is the Co-Founder of intrepidNow. Prior to that Joe was an accomplished healthcare IT executive and career coach with a record of successfully meeting the business and technology challenges of diverse organizations including health plans, health delivery networks, health care companies, and several Fortune 500 companies.

Joe is also the author of Act As If It Were Impossible To Fail, available on Amazon.