12 mentoring tips

12 steps to establish a successful mentee mindset

The following steps will ensure you adopt a successful and satisfied mentee mindset:

  1. Prepare a mentee’s career and life bio for the mentor, to bring that person up to speed with who the mentee is, together with any 360 degree feedback data that reveals image and self-image of the mentee.
  2. Outline a career vision and support it with summaries of positive experiences that have worked and challenges not yet overcome.
  3. Be proactive, and when necessary, be persistent to establish a meeting program in the mentors schedule for the full duration of your working relationship, and exhibit flexibility in responding to the mentor’s constraints and diary pressures.
  4. Allow time for chemistry between mentor and mentee to build and for the possibility that the directions and value of the relationship may be a little unclear during this stage.
  5. Probe the mentor’s value set and determine their compatibility with your own. Beat a strategic retreat if any alarm bells go off on who that person really is. Advise the program director and seek help to address this, as appropriate.
  6. Set mentoring objectives after sound chemistry is established with the mentor, and document and implement objectives and plans of action, as they are agreed.
  7. Be prepared to discuss the most complex and sensitive relationships and challenges you are facing, as well as ethical and moral dilemmas.
  8. Prepare assessments of any trials or experiments undertaken for your subsequent discussions with the mentor.
  9. Actively pursue other relationship or network-building initiatives that the mentor recommends, or other resources or people suggested for consultation.
  10. Pursue feedback from your mentor, and give feedback on your thoughts and experiences with the challenges and assignments provided for you.
  11. Respect signs from the mentor that you mentoring association may be reaching its point of full potential. Seek advice on future pathways you should pursue, and the basis of any less formal continuing relationship that may exist with that mentor.
  12. Remember – ‘one career, many mentors’ – always do your best to seek out a great mentor relative to your present career aspirations and needs.
  13. (Extract from P. Wilson’s Make Mentoring Work, 2012, p 14)

If you would like to purchase Make Mentoring Work, click here to the publishers page and in insert the promotional code AHRI for a 20% discount of the RRP

Key stages for a successful mentoring relationship

The model below outlines processes that mentors might like to follow to help develop a successful mentoring relationship.

This model has been adapted from the National Training Information Service with specific reference to PMCSUP382A Provide Coaching/Mentoring in the Workplace. It is necessary for mentees to have some knowledge of the model and understand their role in the processes to help create a rewarding mentoring relationship. 

Stage 1. Establish the mentoring agreement

The mentoring agreement can be established between the mentor and the mentee by:

  • Identifying the role and formalising the expectations the mentor and mentee have for the program
  • Communicating the purpose of the relationship – what does the mentor and mentee expect to gain as a result of the relationship.

Clarity in the purpose of the relationship is essential to get the most out of the AHRI Mentoring Program.

The purpose of participating in a mentoring relationship will differ for each individual and their motivations may include:

  • Developing knowledge in a specific area of HR
  • Seeking advice and feedback
  • Gaining assistance in developing a career strategy
  • Gaining a role model
  • Identifying professional growth and development areas
  • Organising how often the pair will meet, how meetings will be conducted and where the meetings will be conducted
  • Discussing the issue of confidentiality and ensuring both parties are comfortable sharing information with the other
  • Clarifying that if the mentee is asking things beyond the expertise of the mentor, that the mentee will be referred to someone else.
  • A mentoring agreement template is available for your use.

Stage 2. Develop a relationship with your mentor

  • Ensure that meeting dates and times are adhered to. Make an effort to ensure that if you have set a time to meet, the appointment is kept or rescheduled. This will assist in making the mentor feel like you value their time and knowledge and are really interested in the mentoring relationship. If you are unable to attend a scheduled meeting date, please make sure that you contact your mentor and let them know in advance.
  • Be receptive to new ideas and keep an open mind even if you don’t necessarily agree with your mentor – the mentor will appreciate that you’re listening, contributing and being honest.

Stage 3. Provide support to the mentor

Communicating! Communication is the key to developing the mentoring relationship

  • Using effective communication will assist to build trust and to ensure good rapport develops between you and your mentor
  • Ensuring that all behaviour from both parties aligns with the AHRI Mentoring Program code of conduct and that confidentiality and privacy are maintained throughout and after the mentoring program is concluded
  • Being honest with the mentor

The main role of the mentee is to listen and develop through the knowledge of the mentor. It is important that mentees are aware that mentors may have many pressures on their time. Mentees provide support to the mentor by being understanding and trying to catch up when it is convenient for both of the pair. Other ways that mentees can show their support to their mentor include:

  • Formulating goals for the mentoring program. The goals that are set should be referred to as SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time limited).
  • Working with the mentor, providing input and realising you mentor can’t do it for you! Try and follow up on suggestions your mentor gives you – ultimately you are responsible for your development.

Listen and keep an open mind – be grateful of the knowledge being shared with you.

A useful tool for use in stage three is the GROW model. A template identifying the GROW model and the principles of it is included later in the kit.

Stage 4. Manage the mentoring process

Managing the mentoring process is an ongoing task throughout the mentoring relationship and doesn’t just necessarily occur after stages one, two and three. However, as the mentoring relationship develops it becomes increasingly necessary to ensure the process is being managed effectively. Mentees can contribute to the management process by:

  • Preparing for meetings in advance
  • Focus on your goals and try and keep meetings relevant – don’t leave it to the mentor to constantly focus on your goals
  • Keep notes of each meeting, have a log sheet so that communication is recorded and follow up on any action items for the next meeting
  • A template of a “mentoring meeting log sheet” for use in preparing for and making notes in each meeting is included later in this kit.

Stage 5. Evaluate the effectiveness of the mentoring relationship

Evaluating the mentoring relationship is one of the most important stages in the mentoring relationship. As with stage four (managing the mentoring process), evaluation can take place throughout the mentoring relationship as well as at the conclusion. Evaluation allows the mentee to realise how much they have developed throughout the program.

The effectiveness of the mentoring relationship can be evaluated in a variety of different ways including:

  • Asking for feedback from the mentor directly, either face to face or through a questionnaire
  • The mentee can evaluate how effective they felt they were throughout the program by looking back on the goals they set themselves and seeing how much they have achieved
  • Have a discussion with the mentor at 3 monthly intervals (or as frequently as the pairs decide) this will ensure the relationship is always effective through the constant reflection of the relationship
  • AHRI will provide the opportunity twice in the year to complete an online evaluation form which will assist the mentors/mentees and AHRI to evaluate the effectiveness of the mentoring relationship