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RIA Mentorship Program Information
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RIA Mentor Program 

Welcome! To the RIA Mentor Program 
Purpose: To empower new business owners, as well as the younger, next generation of restoration professionals by connecting them to the wisdom and experience of long-standing members of RIA.  

Intention: At RIA, we believe in providing mentoring relationships that thrive on cooperation and partnership.  We serve both existing and the next generation of leaders who are seeking mentorship guidance at all levels of the business by sharing the wealth of available resources, wisdom, and experience of successful restoration professionals. 

This guide will walk you, our newest mentor, through some of the components that make RIA Mentoring unique, as well as our most commonly asked questions. You'll also find best practices provided by our current mentors.

General Outline

  1. Mentoring Framework
  2. Mentor Posture
  3. Foundations
  4. Mentor Expectations
  5. Best Practices
  6. Meeting Flow
  7. Technology

1. Mentoring Framework
RIA's framework is focused on building the mentoring relationship between the mentor and mentees over a period of time, usually a one-year experience with the option to continue past that mark. It is important to be consistent and faithful to the relationship with the expectation of varying degrees of engagement – on both sides – throughout your time as agreed.

Principles:  There are many different ways to sharpen the edge of anything. Brute force is one way. Another way is to learn from those who have gone before – those with experience. RIA believes in sharing the wealth by providing a win-win solution, and in the power of imparting wisdom to others.
2. Mentor Posture
Important things to remember about mentoring:

Mentors can only provide help where and when the mentee would like to receive help. 

How: By asking good questions, and being patient with your mentees, you will be able to see more clearly where to guide them. Another component of mentoring is being there just to be there. Sometimes, a simple email or text of encouragement may be exactly what a mentee needs.

Mentoring is Different than Teaching

How: Mentoring is walking alongside a mentee as they progress in their professional and personal development – all while applying a professional perspective to situations arising in the workplace. 

3. Foundations
What makes a successful mentor?

The way a mentor shows up can sometimes have more of an impact than the words they speak. A successful mentor assumes a posture that can be described as:

  1. Present
  2. Respectful
  3. Prepared
  4. Patient
  5. Humble
  6. Authentic
  7. Vulnerable
  8. Intentional
  9. Curious

While every relationship will be unique, the common thread of RIA mentoring relationships is that both people come to the table open and ready to learn from each other. This is the spirit that drives the transformational nature of our mentoring program at RIA.

4. Mentor Expectations
One on Ones
Regular interaction between the mentor and each mentee in a one-on-one setting is what makes the RIA experience. Texting, calling or meeting for coffee, lunch or dinner if possible. This creates the opportunity for and allows the mentee to dive deeper into specific areas or seek counsel where needed.

If possible have at least one face-to-face meeting within the first six months of starting. If you have mentees who are not local, coordinating a video conference is an important consideration. 

Member Updates
Each call should have some time hearing from your mentee sharing what’s going on in their world. Using some planned guide like those below can make this process quick and focused:

  1. What’s Working? What’s not working as well as you would like?
  2. Breakdowns?
  3. Breakthroughs?
  4. Anything Else?

Conversation Flow
Mentor and mentees share the responsibility of facilitating conversation and the direction of calls.  Each week doesn’t have to prescriptively follow a pre- assigned agenda.  If something happens in the mentees’ life at work and that needs to be the focus for the week, that’s good. What you had planned can wait. Ideally, your conversation will move fluidly along a pathway you both design allowing for the freedom to discuss current circumstances as they arise.  

Share your Wisdom / Listen 
During calls, there should be a balance between how much you listen, and the time given to coaching and sharing of wisdom.  That doesn’t mean there is equal time spent on each, but it does mean mentors have an equal commitment to mentees being heard as well as being coached.   

Taking Notes allows you to track results for your mentee

Business Lifeline Report
The first project should be the Business Activity. Plan to have your mentee share about this each month which means you may be in this activity for two or three months or so.  It provides a great foundation for coaching conversations and learning.  

5. Best Practices to Help you Get Started
The mentor/ mentee relationship is one that is created, curated, and carried out by each group.  There is no set path to follow, and each group’s ending point will be different. Within that understanding, there is still room for mentors to carry out best practices that can ensure the ending point is one that makes the RIA mentoring experience worth the time in inexplicable ways.

Things to Remember:

  1. Open each call with a check in (current events)
  2. Listen for updates on project commitments. 
  3. Time to discuss new issues and challenges.
  4. Make yourself available for questions and support. 

6. Meeting Flow
Recommended meeting structures and thought on how to facilitate effective mentorship group meetings.

  • Meetings can be boring
  • Meetings that lack drama do not keep people engaged 
    • Meetings should be interactive
    • Within the first 10 minutes attendees need to: understand and appreciate what is at stake and have a reason to care
  • In your meeting we recommend that you mine for conflict
    • It is natural and productive for disagreement to occur
    • Try to uncover important issues about which team members do not agree
    • Inform your group that more conflict will be expected (it is critical that this is made clear from the beginning)
    • Remind them that this is good for the group
    • Our job to question each other, if we think it can make the outcome better
  • Meetings that are not conducted with direction are ineffective.  Following the guidelines set below will help engage your mentees and set your groups for success.

When mentoring and building trust and direction for your groups you need to have multiple types of meetings for various purposes.

  1. Meeting #1 –Individual Check-in (mentor and mentee)
    • 5 – 10 minutes
    • Quick phone call
    • Use to build relationship and understand what is important to them
    • Extremely important not to cancel
    • Keep it to 5=10 minutes, defer discussion to tactical monthly meetings
  2. Meeting #3 – Strategic (first group call)
    • We recommend following the tactical agenda with sometime in the beginning to build trust, have the mentees share some personal information so that the group can get to know each other.  The leader goes first and demonstrates vulnerability to help build trust.  Sharing birth order, business position and challenges faced as a child and in your business is a great way to begin this process.
    • Address critical issues that affect the group in fundamental ways
    • Gain alignment and trust within the group
  3. Meeting #2 – Monthly Tactical
    • 45 – 90 minutes, depending on group size
    • Everyone always attends
    • Focus on tactical issues of immediate concern and in relation to group goals based off strategic meeting priorities
    • Agenda:
      • Lightning Round - 1 minute per person
        • State 2 – 3 priorities for the week
      • Progress Review
        • Status of 4 – 6 key metrics (standard objectives based off what the group want so to focus on from strategic meeting)
      • Real Time Agenda
        • Based on what everyone is working on and how we are performing against our goals
          • Goals
            • Resolution of Issues
            • Reinforcement of Clarity
          • Challenges
            • Resist urge to set agenda in advance
            • Don’t allow too much detail in lightning round
            • Limit agenda to specific, short term topics
            • Team Review
              • Assess themselves and their behaviors as a team
              • Identify trends or tendencies that my to be serving the mentor group

Length: Each call or meeting is designed to last 60 to 90 minutes. 

Frequency: Calls take place one or two times per month (mutually determined times)

7. Technology
Video Conference is preferred. (Google Hangouts, Zoom, Join.Me, Skype)

In addition, RIA has an abundant library of videos, articles, and publications. It's an amazing resource for our mentors that provides content and curriculum for your mentee, while also serving as a source of educational development for both mentors and mentees.

Launching Your First Call
Introductory Call: 
Mentor drives conversation, each person can share a quick intro and background, set expectations for the calls and establish preferred communication styles for future communications (text/phone/email); then set up the mentees business lifeline activity.

Next Two to Three Calls
Developing Mentee’s Business Lifeline Report: Mentee does the exercise and shares; mentor goes first to model the example.

Note: During the conversation, look for common threads that may exist between your story and your mentees' stories. This connection will help direct where the conversation goes next. The thread could be any number of business related challenges like long hours, employee relations, hiring, cash flow, customers, project management, etc.  Whatever the common threads may be, they just might give you a good place to start with your calls. 

Calls Thereafter
After your first 3-4 calls, there is no set path you have to take. Each group is unique, and sometimes the mentees’ challenges will drive what’s next. Sometimes you will put whatever content was planned on hold to respond to a situation that the mentee may share with you. All of these variances in paths are valid – and good! Ultimately, that’s what makes the RIA mentoring experience unique and valuable. 

Business Lifeline Activity
In the book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni points out the importance of team members getting to know one another on a personal level as being a critical factor in building trust. The better team members get to know one another, and the better team members see what truly makes each of them tick, the better they can understand each other and establish a deeper level of trust.
This deeper level of trust allows teams to function together at a higher level. In the fable in the book, during the leadership retreat, the CEO facilitates a process of the leaders sharing more of their personal stories, backgrounds, experiences, etc.

The Business Activity Lifeline: In the provided area that follows, draw out a graph or chart indicating the high points and the low points of your business history thus far. These are the events, experiences, opportunities, tragedies, celebrations, etc. that have helped shape it. The graph should look much like a chart tracking the growth and decline of a business or stock. It should include things which have had major impacts such as:

  1. Major Mistakes that you have made. 
  2. Best Decisions that you have made. 
  3. Major and Minor Breakdowns. 
  4. Just be Honest, Straightforward, and Factual. 

An Example: Below are some questions to guide reflection on the activity. It may prove useful to peruse the questions before drawing the lifeline.


  • The result of this exercise should look much like a business chart, with peaks and valleys.
  • Beginning as far back as you can remember, draw out the highs and lows of your business to this point.
  • Label each part of your graph and put a year or your approximate age when it happened.

Reflection Questions: 

  1. What most stands out to you about your business lifeline?
  2. How have the high points shaped and influenced you?  What did that teach you?
  3. How have the low points shaped and influenced you?  What did you learn here?
  4. How have you leveraged your low points to empower yourself? (Be specific)
  5. How have some of the experiences listed in your lifeline graph shaped the way you:
    • make decisions?
    • lead others?
    • interact with staff?
    • interact with your business?
    • interact with your customers?