How will the mentoring partnership be established and maintained?

Matching process

The mentors and mentees contributing to the scheme will be asked to complete the scheme application form, outlining their interests and anticipated contribution to the scheme. The form requires a signature from the applicant to confirm they have consent from their line manager to join the scheme. The reason for this is that mentees and mentors will require the use of work time to participate in the scheme (approx. 1-2 hours every 4-6 weeks). This means that only the applicant, scheme co-ordinator and potential mentee/mentor would see the information on the form.

The purpose of this form is to inform the matching process. The process will offer each mentee up to three prospective mentors and the opportunity to contact each one for an informal chat prior to making the decisions as to who would be an appropriate mentor for them. The reason for this element of choice is that this will enable the prospective partners to build a rapport, with the mentee being free to select the mentor with whom they feel they have established the most effective rapport.

The roles of the mentor and mentee

Both mentor and mentee need to be clear about their role in establishing a working relationship and in making it work effectively.

The mentor’s role is to

  • Develop an open and honest mentoring relationship with the mentee
  • Listen to the mentee and encourage the mentee to reflect on his/her learning experiences and approach to problem solving and to take responsibility for his/her own development
  • Use own experience and expertise to broaden vision, to assist the mentee to set the situation in context of the wider setting
  • Use questions to help the mentee refocus their thoughts e.g. from problem to solution, to tap into creativity and create options
  • Give supportive feedback that enables the mentee to learn from their experiences
  • Advise mentee on how to access resources
  • Be open to learn from the experience of being a mentor
  • Be able to use a range of approaches to support the mentee (e.g. non-directive to directive)
  • Be willing to challenge and to be challenged.

The mentee’s role is to 

  • Be realistically ambitious about what the partnership can achieve
  • Take ownership of his/her own development
  • Develop an open and honest mentoring relationship with the mentor
  • Actively progress the actions agreed
  • Reflect on experiences and learning opportunities
  • Be open to be challenged.

The initial meeting

The first meeting should be used to establish expectations and to form an agreement between both parties.

In preparation for the initial meetings the mentee should have thought through the aims of the mentoring partnership and his/her expectations. 

At the initial meeting the mentor should establish the ‘ground rules’ for the relationship, which include:

  • Explaining his/her role and ascertaining whether or not this fits with the mentee’s perception of the role
  • Clarifying the aims of the mentoring partnership i.e. what does the mentee and mentor expect from the mentoring partnership and what the mentee wants to achieve
  • Establishing how often you will meet, the time of meetings, the length of the meetings, commitment to meetings, advise the mentee whether or not you can be contacted between meetings, agree where you will meet, agreeing to respect and value each other’s time
  • Agreeing a review of the relationship after two meetings with an option to close the relationship if it is not felt to be effective.
  • Reminding and assuring the mentee of confidentiality of meetings and agreeing the use and storage of any documentation use to support the process
  • Agreeing the use of the mentor’s network links/access to resources only with the prior consent of the mentor.

In addition to establishing the groundrules the mentor and mentee should

  • Agree action points to start off an action plan i.e. what does the mentee want to learn and how this fits with the current job/career development, agree timescales.  ( Note: this may be divided into short term survival needs and long term development, the plan may be reviewed and changed following further discussions/learning experiences)
  • Agree what documentation will be used and how it will be used (Appendix 1)
  • Agree a mutually convenient date and time for the next meeting
  • Agree what the mentee will have done by the next meeting – check that this is realistic.

It may be helpful for the mentor and mentee to share their roles and responsibilities, (this can help both parties to understand each other’s workload).