Why become a mentee?
Individuals seek mentors for a variety of reasons, particularly when they are in transition, and where an outside perspective and support mechanism would be useful. You will get more from the relationship if you have a clear understanding of your needs.
What you do as a mentee
Mentees may have the perception that mentoring is a passive exercise, with the onus being placed on the mentor to tease the learning out of them. However, the role of mentee is very proactive. The mentee who fully engages in the process, and accepts responsibility for their own learning and development, is more likely to find the experience valuable.
What you learn as a mentee
When asked what they want to get out of mentoring, mentees commonly reply: learning from their mentors’ experience and knowledge, and having access to their resources. However, there is more to be gained from mentoring – by participating in a mentoring partnership you will develop your skills and enhance your attributes.
- Honouring your commitment to your mentor and the mentoring process.
- Managing your time to get agreed tasks done
- Making time for professional development
Goal setting and action planning
- Clarifying your professional development goals
- Taking responsibility for achieving your goals
- Maintaining focus and energy to achieve your goals
- Becoming proactive
- Investigating resources
- Developing listening skills.
- Asking meaningful questions
- Asking for help when appropriate
- Articulating yourself clearly (thoughts, feelings, needs and expectations).
- Building rapport with new contacts.
- Presenting and “selling” yourself.
- Maintaining relationships: delivering on agreements and following up.
- Learning new problem-solving techniques.
- Broadening your horizons by looking at various options
Managing relationships at work
- Developing a rapport with you mentor.
- Agreeing, setting and honouring boundaries within the partnership.
- Giving and receiving feedback.
Learning to learn
- Driving your own development.
- Becoming aware of strengths and areas for development
- Reflecting on and recording your learning and development.
- Becoming accountable.
- Increased self-management skills.
- Developing confidence.
- Expanding self-knowledge.
- Acknowledging successes and dealing with setbacks.
Specific mentee responsibilities
- Being clear about your expectations and learning objectives
- Communicating those objectives and expectations to your mentor
- Taking responsibility for your own learning and accepting that the more you put in the more you will get out of the mentoring relationship
- Being open-minded, flexible and willing to embrace the mentor’s perspective, without compromising your own independent thinking
- Following through on agreed action points.
What makes a successful mentee?
However, you define “success” for yourself, in mentoring there are some clear indicators of whether a mentee will benefit fully from the mentoring process. Key factors are your attitude, your motivation, your commitment and your willingness to take responsibility for your own personal and professional development. However good a mentor is, unless you put in the work you will not progress.
Tips for mentees
Keep a regular log of your mentoring experience. What are your thoughts? How do you feel? What is going well? What are you struggling with? And what are you doing differently as a result of mentoring? Recording your personal insights and observation regularly will enhance your learning.
Questions frequently asked by mentees
Q1) How do I identify the right for me?
A.T.Award Mentoring will allocate a mentor to each student following an initial meeting with both parties.
Q2) How long does mentoring take?
Mentoring schemes runs a two year with at least one face-to-face meeting every 6 months.
Q3) How long will my mentoring sessions last?
There are no hard-and-fast rules, however, mentoring sessions are expected to last from 30minutes to 1 hour.
Q4) If my mentor doesn’t live locally, how can we make it work?
Face-to-face meetings are valuable, especially at the very beginning of a mentoring relationship, because it helps to establish common ground and trust. Here at the A.T.Award Mentoring Scheme we will do our best to ensure local mentors are allocate to each selected student. However, mentoring by e-mail, telephone and teleconference are alternatives in certain cases.
Q5) What do I do if I just don’t get on with my mentor?
Mentors will be trained and will be given detail information on how to contact Head of Mentoring team in such cases.
The chosen/winner students will be given an introduction pack that would include all the relevant information in addition to contact details of Head of Mentoring team. The email below can be used for general questions, comments or feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org
This document was prepared with a help of Institute of Physics (IOP) and University of Surrey PGR Mentoring scheme.