What is Mentoring?

The mentor-protégé relationship can take a variety of forms. A mentor may provide career guidance, offer suggestions or directions on a work-related issue, provide feedback on the protégé's work, help with educational resources, help with management concerns, or work with the protégé in other ways agreed upon by both parties. There are some basic expectations for both parties that should be discussed and agreed to before the mentoring relationship begins.

Before Establishing a Relationship

Chris-Chandler-mentoring-bo.gifBefore establishing a relationship, mentors and protégés should think about, discuss, and agree on:

  • What is the focus of the mentoring - career goals, business plans, projects, deliverables, management, etc.?
  • What is the intended result? (job interviews? referrals? networking?)
  • How much time will be required? (one party may require more time)
  • How long will the relationship last? (3 months? 1 project? forever?)
  • Who should contact whom, when and how often?
  • How quickly and often will questions asked or answered?
  • Will mentoring be done via email, phone, in person, IM, conferences, etc.?

Notes for protégés

Before entering into a mentoring agreement, protégés should consider:

  • What aspects of your career or life are you hoping to improve via a mentoring arrangement?
  • Is a mentoring arrangement a suitable way to meet your goals?
  • How much time and effort do you anticipate will be required?
  • How much time and effort are you willing to put into the mentoring arrangement?

A protégé should also remember that you, not your mentor, will manage your own career and life choices - a mentor is there to help you ask the right questions and guide you toward resources that will help you to make these choices.

Notes for Mentors

Before entering into a mentoring arrangement, mentors should consider:

  • How much time can you commit to providing mentoring?
  • What is it that you would like to get out of a mentoring relationship?
  • What strengths do you have, and what is the best way to pass on these skills to someone else?
  • What experience do you have that will allow you to provide constructive advice and feedback?
  • What boundaries do you wish to set for the relationship?

A mentor should also remember that the protégé will ultimately make his or her own choices. If your protégé chooses a path or option that you do not recommend or agree with, try not to take it personally. Your protégé may be more ready or comfortable to take the chosen course of action.

This page was last modified on January 25, 2010 06:08 PM.