Mentoring offers opportunities for you to give back to your profession and to broaden your professional network. Like all teaching situations you learn as much as you teach. Mentoring encourages you to reflect on and consolidate your own practices. As John Dewey said “We do not learn from experience – we learn from reflecting on experience.” It can also enhance your own listening, role-modelling, and leadership skills. Having discussions with others about your leadership skills can help them but also gives you a valuable new perspective.
Mentor Role and Expectations
- Mentors must first and foremost treat all information shared in a mentoring relationship as absolutely confidential. Mutual trust is critical to enable participants to open up about their weaknesses and challenging issues happening in their work environments, and to discuss ethical issues.
- If you have accepted a mentee be committed to the relationship. If you don’t have the time don’t take on the responsibility. Show up for appointments or communicate in advance in the event of a cancellation.
- Discuss and set mutually acceptable goals for the relationship.
- The mentee comes before the job. Helping a person grow may mean they outgrow their current position and may have to leave to pursue opportunities elsewhere. This may mean a loss to your institution. However, an employee who is in a growth environment is more likely to stay longer than one who feels undervalued.
- Be willing to listen patiently. Resist giving advice, substituting probing questions that lead mentees to their own solutions. People are more likely to change practices if they come up with the solution themselves.
- Failure is often the best teacher. Allow your mentee to fail in low stake situations but help them learn from those experiences.
- Help your mentee expand their professional network by making introductions to others. Refer them to the experts that can help them most.
- Help your mentee understand their strengths and weaknesses and the positions in which these will be the best fit. Help them develop a personal mission and vision statement.
Why Be A Mentee
Being a mentee offers opportunities for you to be more effective in your current position, and helps you develop the knowledge, skills, and network for career growth. Knowing you have someone at your back can reduce stress and increase your confidence in decision making and implementation.
Mentee Role and Expectations
- Mentees must first and foremost treat all information shared in a mentoring relationship as absolutely confidential. Mutual trust is critical to enable participants to share experiences, and to discuss ethical issues.
- Be committed to the relationship – if you don’t have the time and are not willing to change yourself and your practices don’t ask someone to mentor you. Discuss and set mutually acceptable goals for the relationship.
- Be willing to take an honest look at yourself, share your strengths and weaknesses, and try new approaches.
- Be respectful of your mentors time, focusing on your long term development and not day-to-day issues. Show up for appointments or communicate in advance in the event of a cancellation.