Program Information and Mentor Handbook

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1 MSC 350, 2500 University Drive NW Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4 Phone: (403) ; Fax: (403) Graduate Students Association Mentorship Program Program Information and Mentor Handbook Mentorship costs nothing, its value is priceless.

2 What is a Mentor? A mentor is a guide that shares their experience and expertise with a less experienced protégé in order to assist them with career development and planning. Mentoring is more than just teaching or counseling, it involves the fostering of a relationship that helps the protégé prepare for the future. The Graduate Students Association (GSA) Mentorship program introduces students in a graduate studies program to a professional industry or academic mentor. Mentors in the GSA program provide students with encouragement and advice about successful business and academic strategies that will ensure success in the student s future career. The Inherent Value of Mentoring As such, the GSA created the Mentorship program to facilitate a protégé s transition from university student to either a business or academic professional. The GSA Mentorship program provides a unique and valuable opportunity for the business community to get involved and act as a role model to our graduate students. This partnership develops the talents and abilities of our current graduate students who will be the future s most valuable performers of commerce. Program Goals The GSA Mentorship Program seeks to: Enable protégés to gain career orientation through an industry, government, community, or academic perspective. This can be achieved via professional guidance and discussion on strategies for setting and attaining career goals, practical advice and encouragement on putting plans into action. Compliment protégés studies and enhance their post-secondary experience by providing firsthand insight to the professional world. Develop individual relationships between protégés and mentors that will enhance professional networks for both. Assist in the clarification of career goals. Focus on direct and important career development, sharpen academic focus, and develop effective career planning. Offer friendship and support to protégés personal aspirations, nurture character development, and provide a leadership role model. Assist in the development of short and long term goals. 1

3 Broaden Your Perspective Program Rewards Mentor Rewards It Works Both Ways While protégés directly benefit from the advice of a mentor, mentors also gain insight while working with students. As mentors make positive contributions to their protégé s learning experience through sharing their knowledge and experience, they, in turn, learn from their protégés. In fact, many mentors in the program find themselves reinvigorated about their own field of work. Listed below are some additional reward opportunities for mentors: Contribute to the social and professional development of a protégé. Reflect on your own career, summarize your journey, and formulate your views on success in business. Spend time with students full of passion and energy. Gain a fresh outside perspective. Influence the next generation of business leaders. Promote your organization to potential employees. Get an inside track to recruiting U of C graduate students. Protégé Benefits Protégés receive career planning guidance and insight into employment trends in today s workplace. They also discover what skills and technical preparation are required for success in their chosen field. Protégés will find a wealth of information that will help them become better employees, entrepreneurs, and leaders as they transition to industry. Additionally, protégé goals are to: Learn from someone with a similar educational background who has similar interests. Explore potential career paths, career goals, and advancement strategies. Obtain a realistic understanding of what their chosen career path entails. Prepare for the transition to the world of work. Gain insight into developing corporate strategy and meeting difficult challenges. Meet professional role models through mentorship events. Begin personal development in the areas of social, personal, and professional skills. 2

4 Program Expectations Commitment Involved Minimum expectation 1 hour per month, for a six month period. Participation in the GSA Mentorship program is voluntary for both the mentor and the protégé. Once participants enter a mentor-protégé relationship, however, we ask that both participants follow these guidelines: Mentors are NOT expected to provide internships or job offers to protégés. Protégés are not allowed to actively campaign for a job with a mentor. It is the responsibility of the student protégés to establish and maintain contact with their mentor. Confidentiality agreement mentors and protégés should identify any areas of confidentiality at the outset of the relationship. Participants should maintain the relationship for 6 months. Student protégés are expected to prepare for each meeting with an agenda and relevant questions for discussion. Participants should communicate periodically with the Employer Liaison about the successes or problems of the match. Student protégés are ambassadors of the Graduate Students Association and must act appropriately. Parties may decide to foster an on-going relationship after the 6-month period but this is neither required nor expected. Time Commitment The form and frequency of the interactions between mentors and protégés will vary. Although there is no rule about frequency of visits, we do have a couple of recommendations: Meet once a month face-to-face for one hour, for a minimum of six months. Protégé should or call between meetings. The mentor should indicate their preferred method of communication and what response time the protégé can expect when they initiate contact. The form and frequency of meeting, if agreed to being different than above, is something each mentor and protégé should discuss and agree upon at the beginning of the program. 3

5 Establishing Your Mentor Protégé Relationship Registration Process All prospective mentors must complete the Mentor Intake Form. To make the best possible match, please complete the entire form. In accordance with the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) for Private Sector organizations in Alberta and for the Freedom of Information and the Protection of Privacy (FOIP) information collected will be accessible only to the Employer Liaison and selected information to each participant s future Mentor/protégé. Matching Process When matching the mentors with protégés, the GSA Employer Liaison will facilitate a match as suggested and/or selected by the student, and the Employer Liaison may contact you for further information if he or she feels it is required to make the best match. All protégés are expected to trust and understand the Employer Liaison may not always be able to match all protégés with their preferred mentor (or field of work) and ask that protégés approach any and all matches with an open mind and positive attitude. This match will be made based on the most common criteria available and on due consideration from the Employer Liaison. Initial Meeting An initial introduction is organized and run by the GSA Employer Liaison. This is an opportunity for mentors and protégés to meet for the first time and will be conducted under the supervision of the Employer Liaison. Mentors and protégés should use this time to develop a clear understanding of their expectations for their relationship and develop an action plan or contract: Agree on the frequency, duration and place of meetings if different than the minimum described herein. Decide on whether or not the mentor will have an open door policy or if the student should wait to be contacted by their mentor. It is important that the relationship parameters between the mentor and protégé be set in the beginning to ensure the most positive experience for both. The student should clearly understand if and/or when it is permissible to call the mentor at their place of work, home, etc. This is completely up to the discretion of the mentor. If the mentor decides the student should not contact them, but should wait to be contacted, it is very important that the mentor adheres to their commitment and contacts their protégé on a regular basis to nurture the relationship. 4

6 Ending the relationship: This is an important issue and should be discussed early in the mentoring relationship and clearly outlined and understood by both parties. As in any relationship there will be fits and misfits, it is the policy of this program to have a no fault withdrawal policy. They will not assign blame to either a student or mentor for an unsuccessful relationship. However, since these types of mis-matches may occur in your future work environment, take this opportunity to learn from the experience and exit gracefully. Should you wish to withdraw from the program before completion, please do the following: o Contact the Employer Liaison either by or telephone o Based on your situation, the Employer Liaison will determine the best course of action and assist you in making a graceful exit from the program and details will be kept confidential. As per your discussion and firm understanding with your mentor, should you as a protégé wish to stay in touch, discuss with your mentor if they would have time to continue your relationship again. For those who enjoyed their relationship but do not want to continue, arrange for a coffee or a lunch to thank your mentor and signify the end of your pairing. Mentoring Handbook A Mentor s Agenda for Success The following is a brief and more specific explanation of your responsibilities, a few suggested activities, and some space for you to capture thoughts, ideas, and meeting notes. Mentors are encouraged to have some fun with the program and always keep the protégés education, career and overall best interests in mind. Do not be afraid to be a mentor. Many people underestimate the amount of knowledge they have about the academic system, their field or industry, and the many ways in which they can help someone. Sample Activities for Mentoring Activities are designed to expose protégés to many different professional situations to help them gain a better understanding of the dynamics of the business community. The mentoring relationship is viewed as an educational experience. The following are suggestions for establishing a supportive relationship: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner meetings. Mock interviews Corporate tours of your organization. Professional development seminars. Meet with Mentor s colleagues, networking to build up contacts. Involvement in corporate/civic volunteer programs. 5

7 Mentor s Personal Evaluation Before starting your mentoring relationship, it is important to step back and ask yourself a couple of questions about where you are and how you are doing. The following questions are here to help guide you in your relationship only as a tool to engage thought processes in areas that may help facilitate the relationship. 1. Think back to when you were a similar age or in a similar situation as your protégé. Try to recall how you behaved and what your goals were. What were your top three strengths that helped you reach where you are today? 2. What are three areas for improvement that you had to address to reach where you are today? 3. What are three opportunities that would have been available to you then and how do they compare to the opportunities that are available today? 4. What are three threats to your career that you would have faced when you were where your protégé is and how do they compare with the threats your protégé faces today? 5. What are three important things you can do over the next eight months to help your protégé overcome his/her challenges? 6

8 Developing your Mentor Brand This section is an opportunity for you to develop your brand or your personal story. This is the information that you might want to share with your protégé you might be asked questions from your protégé like: Tell me about yourself. What do you do? What are you looking for in terms of the mentorship relationship? To prepare, look at the big picture of your career, where you want to go with the protégé, and what you would like to get out of your mentoring relationship. Your brand should contain your professional identity, relevant experiences, where you have worked, and the opportunities you may, in the future, be looking for. You can fill out as much or as little of this section as you wish but it has been developed as a place for you to start developing your relationship with your protégé. 7

9 Describing Your Brand Current Career- again the table below is a guideline and tool you may wish to examine and use if you need guidance or extra information to help the relationship be as productive as possible. Job Overview Describe a typical work day/work week: If your colleagues described what you do, what would they say? What is your potential career path from your current position? Job Requirements What education, experience, skills, or personal qualities would you say are required for your job? Career Goals What is your current career goal and how do you plan to achieve it? What are you known for, what are your accomplishments thus far? What do you want to be known for that you are not known for now? Company Information Who do you work for? Review your organization s annual report and strategic plans; discuss the internal factors that will be crucial to future success: Market Trends What is the current employment outlook for your industry? Note: Mentors are NOT expected to provide the students with job opportunities What are common misconceptions or stereotypes about your job/industry? 8

10 Your Journey Work Experience What was the first job you had after graduation? What did you like about that job? What did you dislike about that job? What was the biggest adjustment for you going from school to work? What was the most surprising thing you learned after leaving school? Personal Experiences What are some of the challenges you see in your future? What activities or interests do you have outside of work? Did anything in this side of your life help contribute to where you are now? Work-Life Balance How do you balance career, family, and community service? 9

11 Professional Advice Professional Development Steps for the protégé to take now to prepare for the world of work: What makes a student a marketable employee? Recommendations for networking and developing a career: What professional organizations and trade publications are available for your field? What do you see as the future direction of your profession? Real-Life Lessons What are the common work-place practices and the expectations of new graduates? What management styles have you used? What works and what doesn t? What would you do differently if you were graduating today? What was your first impression of your protégé? What would you suggest they do or change to improve their first impressions to potential employers? What do prospective employers look for during recruiting lunches and receptions? 10

12 Tips for Mentors: For your first meeting: Believe in your ability to mentor. Enter the relationship with a positive attitude encourage a positive approach to goals with humour and enthusiasm, believe in achievement and have confidence in yourself. Create an agenda with your protégé. You may want to prepare a short list of things you would like to share with your protégé in your first meeting. Your list should include information about yourself (as the mentor), your organization, your position, and expectations concerning the mentor-protégé relationship. Share clear expectations for your relationship up-front with your protégé. Share experiences, mistakes, struggles, and successes; be open and up-front about the realities of growing up, real-life etc. Demonstrate active listening keep communication open, be an attentive responsive listener. Ask questions and encourage the consideration of other opinions, be a stimulating responder. Invest time in learning about the aspirations, attributes, and preferences of your protégé. The more you get to know your protégé, the more detailed guidance you can provide. During the program: Periodically identify special learning opportunities in your organization or in professional networks for your protégé. Actively assist the protégé in developing their network of contacts. Honour commitments and confidences of your protégé. Periodically request feedback from your protégé on the value of the information and counsel you are providing. Provide honest, caring, regular, and diplomatic feedback to your protégé. 11

13 Maintain and respect privacy, honesty and integrity. Accept that the relationship is temporary, if you wish to continue the partnership it should be a mutual agreement between you and your protégé. Be open-minded, consider alternatives before making judgments, make choices on wellformulated value systems and be open to role-reversal, the student may help you in some surprising way. Encourage independent thinking and discovery, translate imaginative ideas into action; encourage your protégé to develop a dream and use what talent you possess to encourage him/her to develop their talents; be a risk-taker and be pro-active. Be flexible adapt to the situation; adjust plans if something takes longer or takes you in a different direction. Familiarize yourself with the accepted standards, ethics and code of professional conduct. Keep notes about your experience with the program if needed. The Employer Liaison may occasionally contact you to find out how the relationship is progressing. Let the program Employer Liaison know immediately if you experience difficulties (in communication or time conflicts etc.) so that prompt action can be taken to improve, or change, the relationship. 12

14 Meeting Notes Date: Notes: Topic: Date: Notes: Topic: Date: Notes: Topic: Date: Notes: Topic: 13

15 Meeting Notes Date: Notes: Topic: Date: Notes: Topic: Date: Notes: Topic: Date: Notes: Topic: 14

16 Contract with Protégé We agree to meet face-to-face (minimum suggested: one) for a period of six months. times per (minimum suggested period: monthly) Meeting initiation is the responsibility of Our preferred method of communication is I promise to respond to all notes within a What I would like to talk to my protégé about is: I would like to learn more about the following from my protégé: period. Topics for discussion during our first meeting I will prepare the following in advance of our first meeting Signature of mentor: 15

17 Confidentiality Agreement If you choose to have a meeting with your protégé in an office setting where they may be privy to confidential or sensitive company information we recommend that you contact your legal department about having the student sign your company s standard confidentiality agreement. By having a protégé sign a confidentiality agreement, you clearly set out an expectation for your protégé when they are in your work environment. Last, But NOT Least The Graduate Students Association Employer Liaison would like to hear from mentors about their experience in the program; what was effective, and what needs improvement. It is important to have continual feedback in order to improve the program. Please feel free to offer this information at any time during the program. Also, mentors will be asked to participate in an evaluation/survey at the completion of the program each 6-month period from date of entry. This information is truly invaluable and is greatly appreciated from you. For additional information please contact: Graduate Students Association Employer Liaison 350 MSC 2500 University Drive NW Calgary, AB T2N 1N *With special thanks to the Career Centre, Haskayne School of Business. 16

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