How to get the most out of the mentoring relationship

Confidentiality

Both parties have a responsibility to treat each other with respect, to behave in an ethical manner and to follow the organisation’s values. During the initial meeting both parties should agree how they will maintain confidentiality, including what may or may not be disclosed to others including the Mentee’s line manager.

For mentoring to work there must be an assurance of trust and an ability to speak freely knowing that the information will not be shared with other parties.  If the Mentor and Mentee find there are any confidentiality concerns, this should be discussed between both parties and if required discussed with the Programme Coordinator.

Arrange regular meetings

  • Meetings can be scheduled, e.g., fortnightly, and meetings can be via a phone call, a virtual meeting, e.g., MS Teams or Zoom, or face to face.

  • They should be planned for, with upfront agreement on timeframes, meeting locations, goals and records of conversations should be kept, e.g., journals.

  • Agree and clarify each other’s role, the topics to be discussed and the goals to be achieved.

  • As a guide, 1-2 hours per month at least, is all it should take.

  • You can use the Mentoring Agreement at Appendix 1 to help capture and agree the details of your mentoring relationship.

Set SMART goals

At the initial meeting the Mentor and mentee should agree expectations and goals including timeframes, which should be SMART, i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound, and then track progress against these.

Ask questions and listen

The Mentor will ask questions that encourage and support the Mentee in reaching their own conclusions. Mentees will ask questions to build on their own understanding to garner insight or guidance, or to brainstorm their own ideas. What is my role in the mentoring relationship?

Provide feedback

Effective feedback can accelerate the receiver’s learning, inspire, and motivate, and can be positive (constructive and meaningful) or developmental (extending the discussion to what could be done differently). Feedback can be provided to the Mentor as well as the Mentee. 

Reflection

Time should be taken to reflect on a learning experience – what happened, how did it happen, what did you learn?

Mentors and Mentees typically enjoy a long-term, relationship-based connection with one   another. Both parties should revisit their expectations and 'ground rules', however, as these may change over time. This helps ensure the relationship continues to benefit both parties.

Frame the Conversation

FIVE Es

Engage: Create an environment in which people put down their smartphones and listen to each other. The Mentee must be able to connect their existing knowledge with new ideas proposed by the Mentor.

Explore: Mentoring allows the Mentee to view the business through a new lens. By communicating with their Mentor, Mentees are better placed to understand the organisation and its strategy.

Explain: Many companies use mentoring programmes to train future leaders. The mentoring relationship should challenge both parties and encourage them to critically assess the status quo.

Elaborate: The Mentor should dive deep and provide lasting experiences for the Mentee and elaborate on personal or corporate values.

Evaluate: Both parties should assess the actions and outcomes of the relationship to ensure it is on the right path.

 

GROW

Goal: The Mentee should define what they want to achieve at the end of the mentoring relationship and evaluate how this fits with their overall career objectives.

Reality: Examine the current reality, that is, the starting point for the journey, to enable Mentees to reach their end goal.

Options: The Mentee should consider what they should start – or stop – doing to achieve their aim and discuss ways to overcome any obstacles with the help of their Mentor.

Will: Once the Mentee has the will to change and commits to the actions decided with their Mentor, both parties should find ways to ensure the Mentee remains motivated.

Ending the Mentoring Relationship

The parties may recognise the relationship has reached a natural conclusion once the Mentee has achieved their objectives or because the Mentor no longer has relevant knowledge to share. Mentors will generally take responsibility for making this decision, particularly if the relationship is no longer productive, but neither party should rush to make this choice. It is sensible for the individuals involved to consider the value of extending the relationship once the predetermined mentoring period has finished. It is common for Mentors and Mentees to develop an affinity with one another and remain in touch, even if they no longer have a Mentor/Mentee relationship.

 

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