Mentoring Reference Guide

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1 Mentoring Reference Guide

2 About mentoring Mentoring can be seen as a partnership involving a process of on-going support and development, which tackles issues and blockages identified by the mentee. Mentoring relationships enable the professional or personal growth of mentees through developmental guidance or sponsorship offered by a mentor who has the relevant skills, knowledge, experience, or influence. Mentoring may be a formal or informal arrangement; may last for a long time, a short time, or only one meeting; and may be focused on a particular challenge or concern, or on broad career questions. In its simplest form, mentors help their mentees figure out where they want to be and how they will get there. Different mentors can help in a variety of different ways and a mentee may need more than one mentor to provide different kinds of mentoring in different situations, even concurrently. Developmental guidance Mentors can provide developmental guidance to help mentees: Develop their skills and knowledge Identify career goals and strategies to achieve them Apply for jobs Balance work and home life Think more strategically or place their views into a broader context Sponsorship Mentors can provide sponsorship to help mentees: Access a variety of people and resources, including by providing introductions Raise their profile within the organisation Expand their networks and broaden their horizons Access growth opportunities including putting them forward for projects or committees, or advocating for them where appropriate There are many noted benefits of mentoring for mentees, mentors, and their organisations including: Benefits for mentors Benefits for mentees Benefits for organisations Enhanced self-esteem Enhanced positive feelings related to helping others Developmental growth Increased recognition within their organisation An extension of influence in and on the organisation Increased motivation and sense of achievement More positive general attitudes (i.e., increased organisational commitment) Improved health related outcomes (i.e., reduced workplace stress) More fulfilling workplace interpersonal relationships A safe space to try out ideas An opportunity for personal reflection and growth Increased motivation Better career outcomes Enhanced skills: existing and new Development of talent Increased commitment to the organisation by employees Competitive edge when recruiting new hires Motivated workforce with improved skills Improved communication across the organisation

3 Common roles, expectations and concerns in a mentoring relationship In order to work effectively together, it can be useful to understand the common roles, expectations and concerns of your mentoring partner. You and your mentoring partner may wish to discuss the information below to clarify what each of you expects from the relationship and the mentoring experience overall. Role of the mentor As a mentor, your role is to provide support and guidance based on the mentee s developmental needs. Your specific role may change between the following, based on the progress and needs of your mentee. Coach/advisor: Providing guidance, advice, ideas and feedback. Sharing the unwritten rules for success in the organisation. Source of encouragement: Act as a sounding board for ideas and concerns of the mentee. Guide the mentee to identify insights and opportunities for growth. Devil s advocate: Where appropriate, it may be effective to question or provide an opposing perspective to help the mentee think though important decisions and strategies. Common mentor expectations Preparation: The mentee should take responsibility for the mentoring process and prepare accordingly for meaningful discussions. Be proactive: Mentors provide support and guidance but the mentee should remain independent and accountable for making decisions and taking action. Ask considered questions: It is difficult for a mentor to share their experience without the mentee asking considered and thoughtful questions. Be open: Be open to feedback and new ways of thinking. Common concerns of a mentor Confidentiality: Mentoring will often involve a mentor sharing their past experiences and challenges. Mentors need to feel that they can trust the mentee to maintain confidentiality unless explicitly stated otherwise. Time: Mentors may feel that they don t have enough time to give to a mentee. Discuss with your mentee at the outset what time you are able to commit to the mentoring relationship. Lacking expertise: A mentor can feel as though they don t have all the experience and answers necessary to provide effective mentoring. However, the mentor s role is not to provide the answers but rather guide the mentee to find the answers themselves. Effectively challenging the mentee: In many cases a different perspective will be the most useful thing. Curious questions raised with positive intentions are vital for effective mentoring. Role of the mentee As a mentee, you will play many different roles during the course of your mentoring relationship. By taking on different roles, you take ownership of your development as well as provide an opportunity to give back to your mentor. Driver: It is your responsibility to identify skills, knowledge, and goals that you want to achieve and communicate these to your mentor. Development planner: Consider maintaining a mentoring plan, working with your mentor to set up goals and development activities. Learning partner: Look for opportunities to give back to your mentor. Sharing ideas and insight to help your mentor can be a valuable development activity for you as well as your mentor. Common mentee expectations A role model: Mentees often seek a mentor to learn from the mentor s demonstrated behaviours and successes. Availability: Mentees want some time to meet with their mentors. It s useful to identify reasonable expectations in regards to the duration and frequency of mentoring activities. A vote of confidence: Mentees want their mentor to believe in their capabilities and to help them remain accountable for commitments made. Common concerns of a mentee Confidentiality: Mentoring will usually involve a mentee sharing their challenges, concerns and development needs. Mentees need to feel that they can trust the mentor to hold these confidences with respect. Fear of the unknown: It is human nature to experience some level of discomfort with new and unique experiences. A mentee may not know what to expect from the mentoring relationship and experience overall. Initial meetings should focus on building rapport and clarifying expectations to help reduce any anxiety. Fear of judgement: As with any development activity, there is an element of vulnerability. The mentee should feel safe to discuss new ideas and concerns without fear of judgement. Fear of Failure: Mentees can fear not meeting their own expectations as well as those of their mentor. Challenges should be discussed as an opportunity for growth.

4 The mentoring process Whilst the content, duration and frequency of mentoring activities will be at the discretion of the mentor and mentee, the following section provides useful guidelines to support the formation, progression, and closure of an effective mentoring relationship. Identifying and approaching an appropriate mentor In order to identify a potential mentor, a mentee should consider what they would like to achieve, what assistance they would like from a mentor, and identify some ideas about how the relationship might operate (subject to agreement with a mentoring partner). The Preparation for mentees pages at the end of this document may help to clarify thinking. A mentee may contact a potential mentor directly via phone or , approach them in person at an event or meeting, or ask a mutual acquaintance or their supervisor for an introduction. Mentees may feel nervous about approaching a potential mentor, particularly a more senior staff member. If so, consider the following: You may wish to ask only to meet with somebody once to chat about their career, experience or advice on a particular question. This one-off conversation could be enough to give you the help you need, or you may decide to ask for a follow-up conversation or to establish a more regular meeting arrangement. Prepare in advance what you would like, what you will say and how you will respond to any questions. Give the person the option of declining, and it s up to them to say no if they re not able to commit. However, many people enjoy the idea of being asked to share their story or to be a mentor and find the experience rewarding. Don t assume that they are too busy give them the option. Establishing a mentoring agreement If you decide to establish an ongoing mentoring relationship, it s important to think about how it will work. Like other interpersonal relationships, the success of a mentoring relationship is dependent on commitment from all parties involved. Mentoring relationships tend to be hampered by a failure to keep regular meetings, a lack of honest communication, unclear or unfocused goals, or a misalignment of assumptions or expectations. To ensure mentoring is beneficial for all parties, it is important to discuss ground rules and define a set of mutually agreed expectations that help to keep each other accountable. Partners in a mentoring relationship will need to collaboratively identify what is going to work for them. Even if you re not going to establish a formal mentoring relationship, it s helpful for mentees to consider how they will get value from the informal arrangement. Commonly used mentoring ground rules: 1. Mentoring is a confidential activity that is built on a foundation of honesty, fairness and mutual respect. 2. The mentee accepts responsibility for managing the relationship; the mentor empowers the mentee to manage the relationship. 3. The mentor and mentee are open and honest with each other about the development of the mentee, and the mentoring relationship itself. 4. The mentor and mentee are organised and each prepare adequately to support the achievement of mutually beneficial outcomes. 5. The mentee is proactive in their development and does their best to honour commitments made in mentoring conversations.

5 6. If the mentoring relationship becomes unsuitable for any reason, it is the responsibility of both parties to discuss any issues and seek assistance where necessary. 7. Both parties show appreciation, acknowledging the time, energy and commitment to the mentoring relationship. Addressing these issues early on in a mentoring agreement can raise confidence that the relationship will fulfil the expectations of all involved. Mentoring agreements can be written, however some mentors/mentees may prefer to have a verbal agreement. Importantly, as your mentoring relationship matures you should review your mentoring agreement to ensure that expectations are still being met. Questions to help in the formation of a mentoring agreement: 1. Are both the mentor and mentee aware of the goals of the mentoring relationship? 2. How will each person in the mentoring relationship know what success looks like? 3. What are the responsibilities of each party within the mentoring relationship? 4. What are the ground rules within the mentoring relationship (is there anything that is off limits )? 5. How often and by what means will contact be made? (Is it ok to make contact outside of these times?) 6. Who is responsible for initiating contact? 7. Under what assumptions about confidentiality does the relationship operate? 8. What is a realistic strategy for dealing with obstacles that may arise within the relationship? 9. How and when will the relationship be brought to closure? 10. When will the mentoring agreement be reviewed? 11. What other questions should be asked that have not been addressed? Setting direction Clear aims and objectives help to create a sense of purpose and urgency for the mentoring relationship. The mentee needs to articulate to the mentor what kind of development outcomes they are seeking to achieve with the support of their mentor. If needed, the mentor can support the mentee to identify and articulate these goals. The following questions may help this process: 1. What does the mentee want to do and/or achieve in short, medium and long term? 2. Where does the mentee want to be in 12 months time? 3. How will you know progress has been made? 4. What sort of help, advice and support is the mentee looking for?

6 Mentoring meetings While the mentor is available to provide support, it is the mentee who should take the lead in the mentoring sessions. The mentee can propose agendas, facilitate the meeting, and summarise agreements. The content of each meeting can be anything that will be beneficial to the mentoring relationship and the development of the mentee. Below are some quick conversation starters and activities that may be useful in guiding discussions between a mentor and mentee. 1. Share career stories. Career start, challenges and changes made along the way. What has worked well and what were some key learnings? What experiences were helpful? 2. Discuss mentee's personal vision: What is your goal for the next 10 years? What would you like to be known for? 3. Discuss mentee s strengths and how to enhance their growth. 4. Identify/refine 1-3 objectives to work on together; preferably skills linked to identified growth areas and leveraging strengths. 5. Conduct informal networking by introducing mentee to at least two people who could prove helpful to their careers. Reflect on the introductory meetings, discussing what went well and areas for improvement. 6. Identify key upcoming concerns and challenges and discuss strategies for addressing them. Closure A mentoring relationship can end for a number of reasons. You may have reached a specified end date, the mentee may have achieved most or all of their goals, the mentee s direction and needs may have changed, or the mentoring relationship may no longer be effective. In any case, the closure of a mentoring relationship provides an opportunity to consolidate learning through taking stock of the milestones, insights, and developments within the relationship. In all cases, it is beneficial to both parties to achieve a proper closure. This is achieved by preparing (where possible) for the transition ahead of time, reviewing the relationship, emphasising the mutual learning, celebrating the successes, supporting the mentee to manage their development on their own (or with a new mentor), and agreeing (where applicable) how and when you will keep in touch. Questions to aid in the closure of a mentoring relationship: Reflection for mentors Shared reflections Reflection for mentees How did my mentoring support the mentee to achieve their goals? What was the most valuable thing my mentee taught me (specific insight, approach, or perspective)? What did I learn about mentoring and being a mentor? What did I learn about myself as a person? What should I do differently in my next mentoring relationship? How did mentoring enable the mentee to achieve their goals? What barriers did the mentee encounter when trying to reach their goals? How were/could these have been overcome? What else does the mentee still need to learn and what is the best way to begin that learning? What will the relationship look like now that mentoring has ended (collegial, friend, none)? How did I take responsibility for identifying and achieving my goals? How did my mentor support me to achieve my goals? What did I learn about myself as a person? What has this taught me about myself as a learner? What should I do differently in my next mentoring relationship?

7 Recommended readings and additional resources AltusQ. (2014). Mentoring Guidebook. Retrieved from Megginson, D., Clutterbuck, D., Garvey, B., Stokes, P., & Garrett-Harris, R. (2006). Mentoring in Action: A Practical Guide (2 nd Edition). London: Kogan-Page. Zachary, L.J. (2000). The Mentor s Guide: Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Zachary, L.J., & Fischler, L.A. (2009). The Mentee's Guide: Making Mentoring Work for You. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass.

8 Mentoring agreement This form will support you to discuss and define the parameters and expectations of your mentoring relationship. By discussing each party s expectations and confirming them in writing, you are able to maintain accountability and support an effective mentoring relationship. However, it is important to remember that the needs and expectations of mentors and mentees can change as the relationship progresses. You can update and modify this agreement whenever you feel it is necessary. This agreement is between... and... (mentee) (mentor) For mentees: As a mentee, I understand my role is to: For mentors: As a mentor, I understand my role is to: Agreed ground rules: Within our mentoring relationship, we agree to honour the following ground rules: Mentoring Setup Checklist We have discussed roles, expectations and concerns and agreed to some basic principles or ground rules We have discussed and agreed goals and objectives for the mentoring relationship We have agreed on contact frequency and including who is responsible for making contact We have discussed our specific expectations around confidentiality of conversations We have considered potential challenges for the mentoring relationship and how we will manage these We have discussed an expected timeline for the mentoring relationship, including potential closure period

9 Clarify your goals 1. What do you want to achieve? 2. What will be different when you achieve it? 3. Why is this important for you? 4. When would you like to achieve this by? Preparation for mentees Take stock of the current situation 1. What have you already done or tried to move toward this goal? 2. What is happening now that is contributing to you achieving your goal? 3. What stops or hinders you moving toward this goal? Define the attributes that you would like a mentor to possess Consider their skills, networks, knowledge areas, career experience, and personality. Essential qualities Desirable qualities List potential mentors and people who could help Potential mentors People who could help me find a mentor

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