The mentoring relationship – a guide for menteesMentee definition: (Oxford dictionaries)
noun: mentee; plural noun: mentees
¥ a person who is advised, trained, or counselled by a mentor.
The cycle of mentoring – the basics
Once you have decided you would like a mentor and have contacted the mentor of your choice you will enter into a mentoring relationship.
The mentoring relationship has a number of stages:
1. Setting the scene
2. Ground rules
3. The meat of mentoring
4. Moving on and winding up – wrap up
Setting the scene:
This is where the relationship between mentor and mentee is established. This stage is about building trust and rapport, the essential foundation blocks that mentoring is built upon. At this stage the mentor may share something of themselves with their mentee. This could include aspects of their career and their current job. They may not share information about their personal life as this is a professional relationship and not a new friendship (although once concluded mentors and mentees can become friends). During this stage mentees need to think about what they are looking for from the relationship and what they want to achieve because your mentor will ask you about the outcomes you want. Your mentor may need to moderate extremely overly ambitious aims or indeed provide encouragement to mentees who are too timid.
Ground Rules – the agreement:
The areas you will want to cover with your mentor are;
• Approximate length of the relationship
• Where to meet, how frequently, for how long and the format – e.g. face to face, telephone
• How will the agenda be set - hopefully jointly
• What goals does the mentee wish to set
• Who will make notes – the mentee should make their own action notes
- The mentor may make their own notes as an aide memoire
• Openness and honesty
• Fees and how they will be paid
The meat of mentoring:
At this stage you will be entering the mentoring part of the relationship. Here the mentor will want to explore with the mentee their strengths and opportunities for development (used to be called weaknesses). The mentor will help the mentee to determine the goals they wish to achieve and support them in developing an action plan. This should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic (or relevant) and timed. Once these have been agreed and the mentee begins to work on their plan, conversations will begin to review the actions. Your mentor will also be encouraging and supporting you to reflect on your actions, both those where they are successful and those that were less so. The learning you take from your reflections is an important part of mentoring – your mentor can help you to deepen your reflection in a way that is not easy to do on your own, and think about the next steps for your action plan. Your mentor will encourage you to solve the issues for yourself, and help you by using coaching techniques to come up with your own solutions. If you become ‘stuck’, your mentor can use their experience and expertise to signpost you to take your thinking forward, rather than going round in circles which can happen if we are working on our own.
Moving on and winding up – the wrap up
Mentoring relationships are rarely open ended or for life. The point will come when it is appropriate to review what you has achieved, have all their objectives been completed, are there any still to be completed? This is a good point to reflect on the whole mentoring relationship and what the mentee has gained, what steps they will take next. Feedback from and to each other is also part of this stage