Frequently Asked Questions for ACP Mentors
I just finished my informational call with my ACP Contact! When can I meet my veteran Protégé?
We appreciate your enthusiasm! ACP is committed to matching our participants promptly, but we prefer making the right pair over making a fast pair. As your Contact may have mentioned, the search process can take up to eight weeks, and possibly longer. If you reach the eight-week mark and you have not been introduced to a veteran Protégé, your Contact will get in touch with you to update you on the search process, and see if they can alter their search parameters.
The pairing time depends upon our current pool of veteran Protégés, and whether or not we have someone who is looking to pursue a career in your field, or can otherwise take advantage of the perspective that you specifically offer. We greatly appreciate your patience.
Will I be able to meet with my Protégé in person?
ACP is a national program, and the majority of our mentorships take place long-distance. We have learned that pairing people along career interests is more important to a successful mentorship than being face-to-face. That being said, we will do our best to find the closest veteran to you geographically, so long as their professional goals align with your experience.
I’m really glad to have the chance to support veterans. How can I add value while I’m waiting to meet my Protégé?
Thank you for your enthusiasm! As we work to find the right Protégé for you, we encourage you to sign up as an Advisor on ACP AdvisorNet, our online professional development community. Veterans frequently post new questions, and you can respond, advise and participate while you wait to be paired in our mentoring program. Your ACP Contact is happy to give you a tour of the site and answer any of your questions.
What can I do to prepare to be the best Mentor possible?
Each month, ACP holds a Mentor Orientation Call, which features an experienced Mentor who will answer your questions and talk about their experience in the program. All new Mentors are automatically invited. ACP's Mentoring Handbook also provides advice on effective mentoring and suggests a structure to use with your veteran. To get an idea of what many other participants work on, you can use our Recommended Quarterly Activities as a guide.
We also encourage you to review the materials on the Resources page of our website. If you are not familiar with the military, we have a Military 101 document that provides an overview of military structure. You can also learn more about the issues veterans are facing by checking out news sites such as Task & Purpose and Military.com.
I just got introduced to my Protégé! How should we get started?
In the introduction email, you were given each other's profiles, contact information, Tips For a Successful First Meeting and your Protégé’s Career Assessment Questionnaire. Review these materials first, then reach out to your Protégé by email or phone to suggest some times for your first mentoring session. We recommend reaching out right away to schedule your first meeting, and from there it is best to set up a recurring time to conduct your mentorship meetings.
We encourage Mentors to take the lead during the first two meetings to help your veteran get comfortable with the structure of the mentorship. A great activity for your first session can be to consider ACP’s One-Year Action Plan, which will help you establish several goals for the first quarter of the mentorship.
Can my ACP Contact be on the phone for our first meeting?
ACP recommends limiting your first conversation to you and your Protégé, in order to establish the tone of the mentorship. If you are feeling unsure about getting started, please reach out to your ACP Contact to let them know. They can make suggestions and help you get started successfully.
My Protégé and I had our first meeting and set a few goals. What do other people work on? Are we off to a good start?
If you have two or three goals on paper and a plan to accomplish them, you are off to a great start. Our Protégés enter the program at various points in their military transitions, and with diverse interests and levels of experience, so each mentorship really is unique. You can refer to the Career Assessment Questionnaire that your Protégé completed. It will supply a better idea of what they would like to get out of your work together. You can also use ACP’s Recommended Quarterly Activities to create a plan for the year and gain context on what many mentorships work on.
Do I need to get in touch with my ACP Contact each time that my Protégé and I meet?
You are absolutely welcome to, but it is by no means required. We will check in with you at regular intervals – generally more frequently at the start of your mentorship. It helps us to know when you are meeting and what topics you are working on so that we can provide the most effective support. Use us to resolve communication difficulties, develop strategies for specific situations and to enhance your mentorship with helpful materials.
My Protégé and I had a meeting on the calendar, but they didn’t call in. I sent an email to make sure everything is ok, but I never heard back. What should I do?
Get in touch with your ACP Contact as soon as possible. They are specifically there to support your mentorship during times of concern or difficulty. Your ACP Contact will reach out to your Protégé to make sure everything is ok, and can prompt them to re-connect.
It’s possible that it could be a simple issue with your Protégé’s email or phone, or it could be a more complex scheduling or personal issue. In any case, your ACP Contact can provide guidance to your Protégé, encourage them to reach out to you, or provide referrals to other organizations if needed.
My Protégé is showing signs that they may be struggling with mental health challenges. What should I do?
Get in touch with your ACP Contact as soon as possible. We have resources that we can send to you and/or your Protégé to help them address these challenges. We are also happy to make referrals to other veteran service organizations as needed.
ACP is a professional development program, and you are not expected to provide any advice on anything that is not relevant to professional mentorship. This includes matters pertaining to mental health, physical health or personal finances.
My Protégé and I are trying to get our next meeting on the books, but our schedules just don’t align. How can we address this?
ACP expects an hour of communication per month, however, the hour can be broken up. Consider holding shorter meetings, even as little as 15 minutes, supplemented by email communication in between. You might also consider meeting during evenings or weekends, if that fits for you.
Keep in mind that you are also welcome to open your mentorship up to your personal network. If you are in the midst of a particularly busy time, or if your Protégé has questions that you feel you cannot answer, you can feel free to refer them to a colleague or friend.
My Protégé just got a job! Does this mean the mentorship is over? Am I still needed?
Yes! You are still needed. It is actually ideal for a Protégé to obtain a job with significant time left in the mentorship. This way, you can address new topics that are relevant to starting a new job, such as preparing for the first day, making a good first impression, navigating the differences between military and civilian management styles and adjusting your Protégé’s five-year plan.
After talking it out with me, my Protégé completely changed their career goals. What should I do now?
The fact that your Protégé has a better sense about a career path is already an accomplishment, however there is more that can be done. Clarifying career goals is just the beginning. Many mentorships focus on the skills of pursuing and enacting career goals, such as refining a résumé, preparing for interviews and extending networks. Your ACP Contact is happy to suggest extra topics and provide relevant materials. Let your Contact know about the change in career direction. After speaking with ACP, we highly recommend having an honest conversation with your Protégé to see if you both feel that there is value in continuing to work together.
My Protégé just got new orders that totally changed their transition timeline. Should we keep meeting even though they won’t be leaving the military for a while?
That is up to you and your Protégé to decide. Even if your Protégé’s transition timeline has changed, they can still derive value from the mentorship. If your Protégé is no longer actively job searching, you can still work with them on developing the skills that will make them successful when they do start that process. You can also discuss the differences between the military and corporate culture, so that your Protégé is more prepared when they need to navigate these cultural differences.
You and your Protégé should talk about the value of the mentorship given their new timeline. If you both feel that more value can be had from postponing your mentorship or concluding it early, your ACP Contact can discuss those options with you.
I just changed jobs. Does this impact my mentorship?
No, your job change does not affect your current mentorship. If you would like to be involved as an ACP Mentor once your current mentorship is complete, and you are no longer employed with an ACP Corporate Partner, you are welcome to contact ACP’s Citizens Program, which allows those not employed by a Corporate Partner to participate as Mentors.
My Protégé and I are having great conversations, but I would like to see them take a little more initiative. How can I gently encourage them to step up?
We certainly want our Protégés to be proactive with you and to take an active role in their own professional development. In our experience, many of our Protégés want to be respectful of your time. They are used to clear structure and orders from their military experience, and they might feel that they are imposing on you with questions. We recommend setting clear parameters with your Protégé about what you (and the business world) expect from them. Your ACP Contact would be happy to assist with encouraging your Protégé and finding a system that works for both of you.
My Protégé and I had a great meeting, so I left the ball in their court to reach out when they need me. Is that ok?
We highly encourage you to set a recurring time to meet, for simplicity and to make sure your mentorship is moving forward each month. ACP asks for a commitment of one hour per month from all of our participants, and setting up a recurring meeting is a great way to ensure that you’re meeting that benchmark without having to schedule as you go along throughout the year.
ACP is a great program! Why don’t you advertise more?
Thank you! As a small nonprofit, ACP aims to use its funds as efficiently as possible, which leaves little room for marketing or advertising. We prefer to focus our efforts on outreach through personal referrals, military bases and universities.
I know some people who would be great for this program. How can I get them involved?
Thank you for spreading the word about ACP! If your colleague is employed by one of ACP’s Corporate Partners, please encourage them to apply via ACP’s website. Your human resources administrator will be able to give them the access code, but if they’re having difficulty, they are welcome to call ACP and ask. If your contact is not employed by one of ACP’s Corporate Partners, they are welcome to apply through ACP’s Citizens Program, which allows people from other organizations to participate as ACP Mentors.