About Mentoring

What is a mentor?

A mentor is a trusted counsellor, a guide or wise advisor, an individual, usually older, but always more experienced, who helps and guides another individual’s development. A mentor has a sincere interest in someone else’s growth.

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is an ongoing relationship where there is a commitment to growth from both the mentor and the mentee. Mentoring is a journey that two people travel together. It is a power-free, two-way mutually beneficial learning situation where the mentor provides advice, shares knowledge and experiences, and teaches using a low-pressure, self-discovery approach.

The role of a mentor

The role of the mentor is to provide insight and to guide and advise you in your development to reach your highest potential. Mentors typically assume the role of the wise advisor based on their own personal/professional experience and may act as a mentor on a long or a short-term basis. Through experience a mentor can help fast track a mentee’s learning, provide valuable insights, and support you to avoid the pitfalls and manage challenges.

Serves as a role model

  • Provides guidance not direction
  • Develops options with the mentee
  • Provides support, encouragement and positive perspectives
  • Serves as a resource person and confidant when problems occur
  • Collaborates in the problem solving process
  • Questions positively
  • Listens actively and positively
  • Gives feedback that is clear, constructive and confidence-building
  • Acts as a sounding board
  • Challenges when required
  • Gives feedback on observed behaviour and reported performance
  • Recommends ways to develop specific skills, effective behaviour and how to function in their environment
  • Reviews future professional needs
  • Acts as a source of information regarding career development techniques in general; assists the individual through their career of life
  • Meets with the mentee at agreed upon intervals for feedback and planning
  • Agrees to a no-fault conclusion of the mentoring relationship when (for any reason) the time is right

Mentoring can also help you to achieve particular business outcomes. Or perhaps you are looking for a mentor to support someone in your organisation?

What does a mentor do?

  • Sets high expectations of performance or growth
  • Encourages winning behaviour
  • Offers challenging ideas
  • Helps build self-confidence
  • Encourages ethical or values driven behaviour
  • Offers friendship
  • Listens to personal problems
  • Stands by their mentees in critical situations or in times of challenge
  • Confronts negative behaviours and attitudes
  • Provides growth experiences
  • Shares critical knowledge
  • Teaches by example
  • Coaches their mentees
  • Offers wise counsel
  • Inspires their mentees
  • Offers quotable quotes
  • Offers encouragement
  • Triggers self-awareness
  • Assists with their mentees’ careers
  • Assists their mentees to flourish in the art of life

How does mentoring differ from coaching?

A mentor guides you based on their own experience. A mentor is usually older and wiser; they have “been there and done that” and you can benefit from their previous experience. A coach is not necessarily a subject matter expert, but is expert in the process of coaching; asking the right questions and challenging you to achieve your highest potential.

Mentoring is a power-free, two-way mutually beneficial relationship. Mentors are facilitators and teachers allowing the protégé to discover their own direction.

“She let me struggle so I could learn.”
“Never provided solutions—always asking questions to surface my own thinking and let me find my own solutions.”

A coach has a set agenda to reinforce or change skills and behaviours in line with defined goals. A coach has an objective or goal for each discussion.

The coach also has an implied or actual level of authority by nature of their position, ultimately they can insist on compliance.
A mentor’s influence is proportionate to the perceived value they can bring to the relationship. It is a power-free relationship based on mutual respect and value for both mentor and mentee.


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