Mentoring is a one-to-one partnership where a Fellow of the Institute (the mentor) shares knowledge, skills, information and perspective with the mentee. Mentoring helps both of them to increase their professional and personal growth. As a mentor you would be a role model, or a sounding board, or a trusted advisor.
The structure of mentoring is as follows:
Confirm the goals – stage 1
It’s the mentee who sets the goals, perhaps in consultation with their manager or a trusted friend or colleague. The mentor helps the mentee by providing guidance, access to information and being a ‘sounding board’.
The mentor has some responsibility for asking questions about the organisational context, whether goals should be refined, and how realistic they are. Where appropriate, they can also talk through more personal workplace aspirations with the mentee; for example, about ‘reducing excessive working hours’ or ‘getting my bullying boss off my back’ or ‘gaining promotion’ or ‘getting a job in a different sector’.
Work towards solutions – stage 2
With support, the mentee needs to be encouraged to find their own way forward. The mentor will use their own experience, by asking probing questions, to get the mentee to think ahead. The mentors will be provided with guidance, and where appropriate, training and support.
Support the achievement of goals – stage 3
The mentor needs to be available to do this, once the objectives have been set. We will try to match the mentor and mentees as closely as possible, taking into account the background and personal motivations of both.
Assist in evaluating success – stage 4
At the review dates established when the goals were set, the mentor and mentee will evaluate success and identify any further actions that are required.
- Provide an environment where the discussion is confidential and impartial
- Establish goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed)
- Arrange a schedule of meetings
- Keep them brief: 30-60 minutes
- Agree agendas in advance
- Mentees should write down action points and agree the date and time of the next meeting
- Mentoring is a hands-off process: a mentor can give support, guidance and sometimes specific information, but not answers
- Remember, the best feedback may come from the mentee’s work, to set a context for discussing strengths and weaknesses.
Mentoring sessions are credited when: these have specific recorded objectives and actions, and when mentoring totalling three hours is successfully completed within a year. The mentee receives 15 points, while the mentor receives 15 points per mentee.