Mentoring is a personal development relationship. It involves somebody knowledgeable and experienced (the mentor) offering guidance and advice to somebody less so (the mentee). In the best mentoring arrangements, each participant learns from each other.
Mentoring schemes unite prospective mentors and mentees and gives training and support to both. Mentors usually help mentees develop the capability to achieve professional and personal goals.
Becoming a mentor or mentee
Whether you aim to be a mentor or mentee, you will have to complete some training.
You will need to provide a personal profile and look at those of other prospective mentors/mentees to find a match. It will be helpful to set up informal meetings before deciding who to join in your mentoring partnership.
It may not be possible to get a mentor/mentee immediately, as it will depend on how many other members of staff are volunteering for the scheme. Nevertheless, your training won’t be wasted. It can benefit other aspects of your work.
Once you have found a suitable mentor/mentee, your meetings should take around two hours per month for up to a year. These arrangements are flexible and can be adapted to suit the individuals concerned. Mentees usually set the agenda and manage their own development.
What are the benefits for the mentee?
- Impartial advice, support and a better understanding of the participating organisation.
- Access to a sounding board for new ideas and alternative approaches to work issues.
- Increased self-reliance and being able to steer personal development, for example, being able to accept feedback and act on it.
What are the benefits for the mentor?
- Increased coaching skills and awareness of other areas of participating organisations.
- An opportunity to reflect and also be challenged.
- A chance to update knowledge and observe the development of a colleague.