Career Development Opportunities

Becoming a mentee

Why be a mentee?

Because having a mentor can contribute enormously to a successful and satisfying career. Much of the learning that happens during an individual’s career happens through experiencing real-life situations.

The benefits of being a mentee include:

  • Learning new things about yourself: The self-reflection that can result from a mentoring relationship can be a powerful growth experience and provide you with new insights about yourself.
  • Receiving ‘real-life’ experience and knowledge from the mentor.
  • Making more of your strengths and exploiting your hidden talents: a good mentor will push you to do more with your strengths, and help you discover and exploit hidden talents.
  • Enabling you to contribute to the success of your team, department and organisation.
  • Learning how to accept feedback in important areas, such as communications, technical abilities, change management, and leadership skills
  • Expanding your personal network: entering into a mentoring relationship adds your mentor to your personal network, and may lead to an introduction to the individuals in the mentor’s network.

Role of the mentee

  • Invest your time in seeking out the mentor.
  • Set clearly defined objectives.
  • Share your goals and fears openly.
  • Don’t expect the mentor to solve your short-term problems or do the work for you.
  • Don’t expect specific advice.
  • Share where you are struggling or failing.
  • Listen carefully and then research and apply the mentor’s guidance.
  • Show that you value the mentor’s support.
  • Don’t abuse the relationship by expecting political support in the organisation

Understanding the role of the mentor, what a mentor will not do for you

A mentor is not a coach.

A mentor is typically not an advocate of yours in the organisational environment: the relationship is private.

A mentor is not going to tell you how to do things.

A mentor is not there to support you on transactional, short-term problems.

A mentor is not a counsellor.

I am interested in being mentored – what do I do?

  • Discuss the need for you to be mentored with your line manager. It is important that your line manager is aware of your intentions as time will need to be factored in and this may have an impact on delivery of day-to-day objectives.
  • Either, register with your institute’s programme, an external programme or look for a professional mentor through an online forum (TechNET, HeATED or The coaching and mentoring network (http://new.coachingnetwork.org.uk/)
  • Attend any necessary training or briefing for mentees.
  • Engage with the matching process. This may mean attending a matching event and/or completing

After a ‘match’ has been made

  1. Arrange an initial ‘getting to know each other’ first meeting with your mentor. This meeting could include completing the mentoring agreement form and planning the agenda for the first ‘real’ meeting. Meetings should be arranged and led by you as the mentee.
  2. Set your objectives. If these are not entirely clear don’t worry, but discuss why they may not be clear with your mentor. (Use the objective setting template document).
  3. Be clear about what you hope to achieve from the mentoring process. Meet with the mentor as agreed.
  4. Take time to review each meeting away from your mentor. (Template agenda).
  5. Ensure you document evidence of the progress being made. How will you know / measure whether objectives have been achieved? Review your objective-setting document.
  6. Document what else you are learning from this process. Although you will have a clear objective to meet, there will be other skills that you learn simply by being in a mentor/mentee relationship. Often these skills can be transferred into the workplace.
  7. If the relationship is not working, follow the guidance in the section below if the relationship needs to be brought to a close.

Evaluation

Evaluation is likely to take different forms depending on the institute’s programme. Complete any evaluation as necessary. Some may be required during the mentoring process as well as at the end of the relationship.

Mid process evaluation form. Evidence suggests that evaluating mentoring halfway through the programme helps to uncover subject areas that mentors and mentees may need additional support with. Formal evaluation process at the end of the relationship. (Template document.)

Actions to take if the mentoring relationship is not working or has broken down

Your mentor will not chase you for meeting dates, progress updates etc. it is up to you to maintain things.

Ensure that you make each meeting. Missed meetings will affect the relationship.

If you feel that the relationship is not working, be honest with your mentor about it. It is important the process is positive so continuing with a relationship that is not working will be detrimental to both mentee and mentor.

Try and find a resolution if possible and continue the relationship following the newly agreed direction. If this is not successful then:

  • End the relationship formally by completing the early exit form.
  • Contact your institute’s programme co-ordinator and explain that there is a requirement for a new mentor to be found.
  • Meet with the new mentor and follow the guidance outlined above again.