Mentoring Program Guidelines

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1 Mentoring Program Guidelines for Mentees and Mentors February 2011

2 Table of Contents Table of Contents... ii Introduction... 1 Program Purpose... 2 Participant Eligibility... 3 Mentors... 3 Mentees... 3 What is Mentoring?... 4 Benefits of Mentoring... 5 Mentors... 5 Mentees... 5 Employer of Mentor/Mentee... 5 Participant Responsibilities and Role Statements... 6 Responsibilities of Mentors and Mentees... 6 Mentor s Role Statement:... 6 Mentee s Role Statement:... 7 Confidentiality for Mentors and Mentees... 7 Matching Mentors and Mentees... 8 The First Meeting... 9 Organising the first meeting... 9 Mentoring Program Agreement... 9 Further Meetings... 9 Suggested meeting locations and activities Ideas for discussion Measuring the success of the mentorship Mentorship Closure Program Evaluation and Review Appendix 1 PIA Mentoring Program Agreement Appendix 2 Activity for before the first meeting Appendix 3 PIA Mentoring Program Closure Agreement Mentoring Program Guidelines p. i

3 Introduction The Planning Institute of Australia (NSW Division) Mentoring Program is managed by the NSW Young Planners committee. The Mentoring Program was originally developed as a result of the PIA National Inquiry into Planning Education and Employment (2004). The Inquiry identified a significant loss of young planners 1 from the profession due to work pressure, lack of appropriate supervision and unmet expectations of work. The PIA Mentoring Program has been developed in response to the recommendations of the Inquiry and aims to retain and support young planners in the formative years of their career. The PIA Mentoring Program was first piloted in South Australia during The program has since been progressively rolled out in other Divisions. The NSW Division s Mentoring Program will run a pilot in 2011, with future yearly programs to be launched from 2012 onwards. The aim of these guidelines is to provide a framework for the basis on which mentors and mentees participate in the program. Each mentor and mentee pair will communicate, interact and achieve their mentoring program goals differently in the way that best suits each pair. The 1 year program is intended to facilitate, not restrict, the participation of mentors and mentees in the program. Thank you for your interest in the PIA NSW Mentoring Program and we hope it is an enjoyable and enriching experience for mentees and mentors. 1 A Young Planner is a student of a planning or planning related tertiary degree, or a member of the Planning Institute of Australia with no more than 5 years experience since graduation. Mentoring Program Guidelines p. 1

4 Program Purpose The program should provide a forum for practicing planners, planning students and recent planning graduates to develop an on-going relationship by meeting regularly and discussing matters relating to planning and professional career development within an organised and supportive framework. Mentoring Program Guidelines p. 2

5 Participant Eligibility All program participants, mentors and mentees, must be members of the Planning Institute of Australia at the time of applying to participate in the mentoring program and throughout the duration of the mentoring program. Mentors Mentors should ideally have at least 5 years graduate experience in a variety of planning fields, in private and/or public practice. Mentors should have excellent communication skills, particularly listening, a desire to contribute to the future of the planning profession and the time to commit to at least one 1 hour meeting monthly for the duration of the 1 year program. Mentors must be PIA Corporate Members. Mentees Mentees may be final year undergraduate planning students, postgraduate planning students or graduates of planning with less than 5 years of graduate planning experience. Mentoring Program Guidelines p. 3

6 What is Mentoring? Mentoring is defined as a mutually beneficial relationship which involves a more experienced person helping a less experienced person to identify and achieve their goals. 2 Mentoring relationships can be developed spontaneously or via a formally facilitated program, such as the PIA Mentoring Program. A mentor provides support, a sounding board, knowledge, encouragement, guidance, and constructive feedback to the mentee by developing a genuine interest in the growth of their abilities and talents. A mentee actively seeks support and guidance in their career and professional development from an experienced planner. A mentee always has ultimate responsibility for their career and professional development. Mentoring is not one participant directing another, controlling or being responsible for another s career or professional development, a method of bypassing a manager or supervisor, nor a means of obtaining an unfair advantage of career advancement. Also, the mentoring program is not a tutoring system in which mentors are obliged to oversee research and/or assist in appealing university grades. 2 Mentoring Australia. Mentoring Program Guidelines p. 4

7 Benefits of Mentoring There are many mutual benefits of participating in a mentoring program for the mentor and mentees, including: Mentors Contribute to the development of the future of the planning profession; Improve communication skills; Expand professional networks; Transfer of skills and knowledge; Recognition of skills, knowledge and commitment to profession; Increase awareness of current theories and ideals taught in university; Reflection on current projects and office practice; and Accumulate PD (Professional Development) points. Mentees Develop skills and knowledge; Build professional networks; Increase confidence and self-esteem; Increase likelihood of success and avoid mistakes; Discuss and learn theoretical and practical issues with a planner; Reflect on personal and professional growth and development; A confidential opportunity to discuss workplace issues; and A window into contemporary Australian planning practice. Employer of Mentor/Mentee Increased productivity by both mentor and mentee; Improved management and technical skills; Discovery of latent talent; Re-motivation of senior staff (mentors); and Improved retention of skilled staff. Mentoring Program Guidelines p. 5

8 Participant Responsibilities and Role Statements Responsibilities of Mentors and Mentees Act ethically and with respect towards all other participants; Maintain strict confidentiality; Commitment to attend all prearranged meetings; and Discuss expectations of participants in the first meeting and review as meetings progress. Mentor s Role Statement: Specific responsibilities include: Contribute to the development of a schedule of meetings; Conduct and lead initial meetings with mentees; Attend information sessions for mentors to be held by PIA; Contribute to discussion and resolution of issues raised in meetings; and Participate in program evaluation and review. The mentor may achieve these in a variety of ways by: Challenging assumptions about planning issues; Encouraging the exploration of new ideas and different ways of thinking about planning issues; Listening to the mentees questions and problems; Providing appropriate and timely advice; Assisting the mentee to identify and solve problems; and Sharing a different view of the matter under discussion. A successful and effective mentor has: A high level of expertise and knowledge of planning; A genuine interest in the mentees growth and development; A commitment to the mentoring program; Highly developed communication skills (particularly listening, questioning and giving constructive feedback); and The ability to have some influence on behalf of the mentee. Mentoring Program Guidelines p. 6

9 Mentee s Role Statement: Specific responsibilities include: Attend information sessions for mentees to be held by PIA; Develop a schedule of meetings as agreed with the mentor; Organise an (formal or informal) agenda of discussion topics for meetings; Contribute to discussion and resolution of issues raised in meetings; and Participate in program evaluation and review. The mentee may achieve their role by: Discussing topics taught and debated in their university studies or encountered in their work; Reviewing their experiences as a young planner in the workforce; Sharing their particular interests in planning; Discussing and developing their career goals; and Always having an open frame of mind. A successful mentee will: Commit to the mentoring program; Take responsibility for their own personal and professional development and opportunities; Seek advice and constructive feedback from their mentors; and Accept new responsibilities and challenges as opportunities arise. Confidentiality for Mentors and Mentees Topics discussed by mentors and mentees may be a personal opinion or of a sensitive or controversial nature and therefore strict confidentially must be maintained between mentors and mentees. By signing the Mentoring Program Agreement (Appendix 1, p. 14) the mentor and mentee agree to maintain confidentiality. Mentoring Program Guidelines p. 7

10 Matching Mentors and Mentees The matching of mentors and mentees is undertaken by the Mentoring Program Coordinator with assistance from the PIA Division Manager (NSW) and/or the NSW YP committee members. Mentors and Mentees complete a questionnaire to match compatible participants with similar interests to maximise the benefit of the program. Initial introductions of mentor/mentee partnerships for every intake will be facilitated via a formal PIA NSW Mentoring Program induction session. The induction session run by the Mentoring Program Coordinator will provide an environment where both mentor and mentee can be introduced in an appropriate manner. The session is considered to be the best opportunity for participants to be introduced to their mentor/mentee and have any questions related to the program answered. Existing informal mentor/mentee relationships between an experienced planner and an inexperienced planner or planning student can be formalised through the PIA NSW Mentoring Program. The formalisation of an existing informal mentorship can be beneficial to both the mentor and mentee. Formalising an existing informal mentor/mentee relationship is an important commitment and the mentor and mentee must discuss if formalising the mentorship is suitable and beneficial for them. If either the mentor or mentee is uncomfortable with the pairing or decides the mentorship is not successful, the Mentorship Closure section (p. 12) of these Guidelines explains the process for ending a mentorship between a mentee and mentor. Mentoring Program Guidelines p. 8

11 The First Meeting The first one-on-one meeting can be quite daunting for both the mentor and the mentee. It is important to consider your aims and expectations of the Mentoring Program that you have as discussed at the induction session. Organising the first meeting The first meeting is critical in establishing the foundations for the development of the mentorship. The level of formality and ground rules for the mentorship are determined at the first meeting. The mentor and mentee should agree on a mutually suitable time and place for the first meeting. Before meeting, the mentor and mentee should complete the activity in Appendix 2 (p. 15). The activity aims to identify the mentor s and mentee s aims and objectives for the program. These points should all be used as a starting point for the first meeting and built on in further meetings. Mentoring Program Agreement The mentor and mentee sign a Mentoring Program agreement at the first meeting to demonstrate their commitment to the program. A Mentoring Program Agreement is attached in Appendix A (p. 14). A copy of the Mentoring Program Agreement will be kept by the mentor, mentee and also submitted to the Mentoring Program Coordinator. Further Meetings It is anticipated that the mentor and mentee will meet once a month for a period of 12 months. Ideas for discussions and meetings are outlined below. These are just starter points and are useful in the development of the mentorship. Mentoring Program Guidelines p. 9

12 Suggested meeting locations and activities The location of the meeting will depend on the mentee and mentor and how developed their mentorship is. The most important aspect in choosing a meeting location is that both mentor and mentee is comfortable and that it does not inhibit the purpose of the meeting. Here are just come suggestions: Mentor s or Mentee s meeting rooms at office Café Outdoors, e.g. park Tour of a new development or an appropriate site the mentor/mentee is working on, followed by a café Attending a public lecture / professional development seminar and discussion afterwards at a pub Ideas for discussion Short/medium/long term career ambitions o Why those ambitions? o Are they achievable? o How to achieve them? o How to measure their accomplishment? Most interesting or difficult university subjects/courses Workplace scenarios and politics Current planning issues and theories o Major urban release and developments o Strategic planning directions for NSW o Urban consolidation/population growth o Environmental issues, e.g. climate change o Planning in an international context The Planning Institute of Australia o Relevant upcoming events and courses o Reflections on past PIA events o Certified Practising Planner (CPP) and the Code of Professional Conduct Mentoring Program Guidelines p. 10

13 Measuring the success of the mentorship As the mentorship develops it is important to reflect and consider successful aspects and identify areas for improvement. Self assessment of the participation of the mentor and mentee is important to measure the development and success of the mentorship. Mentors and mentees can consider the following questions when evaluating their participation and the development of the mentorship. Has the mentee/mentor attended all meetings and Mentoring Program events? Does the mentee/mentor have a positive approach to each meeting? How does the mentee/mentor respond to new ideas and suggestions? Has the mentee developed realistic career aspirations? Has the mentee/mentor completed agreed tasks? Is the mentee/mentor punctual and organised? Has the mentee improved professionally? Has the mentee expanded their professional network? Has the mentee/mentor actively developed a level of trust with the mentor/ mentee? Has confidentiality been maintained? Has progress been made towards the mentee s goals? Has the mentee/mentor cancelled meetings? Is the mentee/mentor attentive during the meetings? Does the mentee/mentor ensure there are no interruptions during the meetings?, i.e. phone calls, people in office, etc. Is the mentee/mentor comfortable with the mentorship? Mentoring Program Guidelines p. 11

14 Mentorship Closure Eventually, the formal mentorship will end between the mentor and mentee. An informal mentorship may continue beyond the 1 year Mentoring Program, or the mentor and mentee may realise that the mentorship has run its course and end the mentorship at the end of the 1 year. A formal closure of the mentoring program mentorship must be done at the end of the 1 year program (or earlier if the mentorship ends prematurely). A formal closure will include a final mentor/mentee meeting and the completion of the Closure Agreement (Appendix 3, p. 16). It is important to acknowledge the end of the Mentor Program at the 1 year milestone, even if the mentor and mentee agree to continue the mentorship after the program. It is a time to formally acknowledge the value of the program, appreciate the time and contributions of the mentors and the lessons learnt by both mentors and mentees. It is important to each reflect on each other s professional and personal development. There may be cases where mentorships end prematurely for a variety of reasons and in these situations a no fault closing of the relationship is necessary. A no fault closure can be initiated by either the mentor or mentee and detailed explanations do not have to be provided. The aim of a no fault closure is to ensure a win-win situation and that there is no blame involved. The mentor or the mentee may request the Mentoring Program Coordinator or PIA NSW Division Manager to act as a facilitator, if required. Mentoring Program Guidelines p. 12

15 Program Evaluation and Review All program participants will be asked to complete program evaluation surveys throughout the course of the Mentoring Program and at the conclusion of the 1 year program. The Mentoring Program Coordinator welcomes suggestions and feedback on the program at any stage from all mentors and mentees. Mentoring Program Guidelines p. 13

16 Appendix 1 PIA Mentoring Program Agreement We,. (mentor) and. (mentor) (mentee) voluntarily commit to the PIA NSW Mentoring Program for the entire 1 year duration. We will: Meet at least once a month for an hour; Attend all mentoring program sessions and activities held by PIA; Have a genuine interest and commitment in the mentoring program; Be objective, honest and supportive; Act ethically and with respect towards all participants; Respect and maintain strict confidentiality; Contribute to discussion and resolution of issues raised in meetings; and Participate in program evaluation and review. We acknowledge that either person has the right to discontinue the mentorship for any reason and we will follow the mentorship closure guidelines. Signed: (mentor)date: / / Name: Signed: (mentee) Date: / / Name: Mentoring Program Guidelines p. 14

17 Appendix 2 Activity for before the first meeting The following questions are to be answered by the mentor and mentee in preparation for the first meeting. These answers do not have to be shared but they provide a good basis for discussion in the first meeting. Why are you participating in the Mentoring Program? What do you expect from your mentor/mentee? What do you hope to learn and/or achieve by participating in the Mentoring Program? What led you to a career in planning? Why do you enjoy planning? Mentoring Program Guidelines p. 15

18 Appendix 3 PIA Mentoring Program Closure Agreement It is strongly encouraged that the mentor and mentee discuss the termination of their mentorship with the PIA NSW Mentoring Program Coordinator or PIA NSW Division Manager prior to concluding the mentorship. As of today, we, and (mentor) have ended our formal (mentee) PIA Mentoring Program mentorship. The formal mentorship has ended for the following reason(s) (please tick): The full 1 year period is complete Mentor/Mentee cannot make the time commitment Personality conflict Do not have similar professional interests Other (please specify) We acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of each other over the course of the program and agree to maintain confidentiality of all aspects of our mentorship. Signed: (mentor)date: / / Name: Signed: (mentee) Date: / / Name: Mentoring Program Guidelines p. 16

19 For further information contact: James Li PIA NSW Mentoring Program Coordinator Robyn Vincin State Manager Planning Institute of Australia (NSW) PO Box 484 North Sydney NSW 2059 Mentoring Program Guidelines p. 17

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