Mentoring is a close relationship based on role-modelling, support, exchange and learning. The Mentor provides wisdom and shares his/her expertise to contribute to the Mentee’s development and the achievements of his/her objectives.
Mentorship is a key ingredient contributing to the success of an emerging leader. Research has shown that most successful leaders have at some point in their career been closely mentored by a leader they respect or admire. A leader who is committed to his/her own growth and development therefore should invest time into a Mentoring relationship.
A Mentor is usually someone who has lived experiences that the Mentee can learn from. The mentor also has a skill set that is pivotal to the Mentee’s personal and career success and can impart some of that skill to the Mentee.
Mentorship therefore enables/facilitates the following:
- Increased engagement in personal growth
- Accelerated growth
- Transformation where it is needed
- Idea generation for projects
- Role modelling
- Skills transfer
A Mentee should be able to do the following:
Be open to being a Mentee. Good mentorship is only possible if the Mentee is a willing and eager participant. This entails:
- Being able to listen deeply to insights from the Mentor
- Being open to feedback
- Having a growth mindset (humility) vs. a fixed mindset (ego/ambition)
! Define the relationship that you want to create with the Mentor. This should not be left to chance but should be discussed up-front as conditions of satisfaction.
! Define your objectives for the mentorship programme and what you expect from the relationship. Be clear about the Mentor’s expectations also. This will allow you both to be clear about objectives and mutual expectations.
! Be proactive in pushing for a co-creation of your professional goals, personal development plan and goals for your project.
! Manage the set-up of meeting dates, time and venues.
! Be realistic about expectations of your Mentor. Mentors who are seasoned experts engage in the programme on a volunteer basis; they are to be respected and approached with a sense of gratitude
! Communicate effectively about what you want and do not want or need from the relationship. The Mentor should not have to guess this.
Be aware that the Mentor can and should also learn from you. Decide to also be a giver in the relationship instead of merely receiving.
A good Mentee should therefore have the following skills:
Receptiveness and openness to accepting help. Some associated behaviours include:
- Share and reflect on personal and professional information to build trust
- Honour commitments by meeting when agreed
- Request assistance and act on recommendations
- Seek and honour honest feedback
Self-management. Some associated behaviours include:
- Assume ownership of decisions about career direction
- Take responsibility for acting to advance toward career goals and objectives
- Readily supply the energy to propel the mentoring partnership
Capacity to achieve and authentic self-awareness. Some associated behaviours include:
- Self-examine introspectively to establish strengths, weaknesses and values
- Learn how own behaviours and patterns affect others
- Regularly reflect on established developmental needs and responses to them
Growth orientation. Some associated behaviours include:
- Articulate clear vision of own desired future
- Develop solid agenda for advancing from present reality to desired future
- Seek lessons from developmental experiences even when not entirely successful
As explained in the Mentor-Mentee Agreement you will sign, EYEE Mentors will be in charge of helping their Mentees for one or two hour(s) per month during the EYEE programme. Both the Mentor and the Mentee will need to agree upon a general framework (meeting frequency, duration, preparation, minutes, etc.) which is in line with the Agreement as well as the principles of the Mentorship Training Programme.
The role of the Mentor is to listen, understand and question the Mentee with respect to his/her professional project and career choices. The Mentor should accompany the Mentee from a human perspective so to help the Mentee develop a clearer and more focused understanding for his/her priorities while becoming more proactive with respect to the achievement of his/her goals. Being a role model and source of inspiration/motivation, the Mentor should be able to understand the professional realities of the Mentee based on his/her own experience. The role of a Mentor is not to do things for or instead of the Mentee, but rather to guide the Mentee so to help him/her progress more quickly/decisively.
The three main areas in which the Mentor will be able to provide his support and guidance to the Mentee are the following:
|The Mentee’s personal and professional development||Help the Mentee become more self-aware of his/her strengths, weaknesses, values, as well as the opportunities and challenges he/she needs to face. Inspire and motivate him/her to focus on his/her growth and development. Help the Mentee gain confidence. Be a role model and coach the Mentee on how to become more effective as a leader. Share know-how and contribute to improve the Mentee skills, mindset and behaviour.|
|The drafting of the professional project||Provide the necessary feedback on the basis of personal and first-hand experience so to help the Mentee in shaping, structuring and drafting the professional project he/she will have to present at the end of the programme.|
|The sharing of professional network||The Mentor’s extensive career and professional achievements has enabled him/her to develop a quality professional network. The Mentor should try sharing this network with the Mentee if it can help his/her professional development. The Mentor can help the Mentee understand how to actively build their own professional network(s) and to leverage professional opportunities while doing so.|
The beginning of any new relationship can be awkward. We don’t know what to expect, although we certainly have expectations or a set of preconceived notions. We have ideas about the other person, either from stereotypes or from things that we’ve heard about people with similar circumstances, or we have ideas from our own experiences about how relationships work.
As you are preparing to enter the Mentor/Mentee relationship, you will probably be both apprehensive and excited about the adventure to follow. Here are some things to keep in mind as you begin your journey.
- You will both be nervous. You will each feel as though you are expected to perform in a particular way or to achieve a particular goal or set of goals. You are each likely to feel as though you are a title, Mentor or Mentee, rather than a person. You will also be wondering what the other person expects from you.
- You are both valuable to the relationship. Although it is true that both participants will be working to help the Mentee reach his or her goal, the Mentee and the Mentor are on equal footing within the relationship. Together, you have a much wider perspective and a greater set of resources with which to work than either of you had on your own.
- You do not yet trust each other. Trust comes from a sense of comfort with another person, and comfort comes from repeated experience. Trust is developed over time, once we have a good idea of who the other person is, what he or she values, how he/she responds in particular situations and how he/she feels about us.
- Keep a positive outlook. This relationship is new for both of you. There will be all kinds of new experiences that arise because you are in this new relationship. If you look for the positive aspects of situations as they occur, you will keep yourself and your partner moving forward.
Mentors and Mentees must therefore create an atmosphere that is conducive to learning. When they succeed, their relationship will be one filled with mutual respect and trust. The relationship will be one of confidentiality, where sensitive information can be shared. Risk taking should be encouraged, and failures should not be criticised but rather are accepted as investments in learning. The relationship will be productive as evidenced by the Mentee having improved knowledge, skills, or performance.
A variety of topics can be discussed during your first meeting, so to break the ice. For example:
- Description of yourself, who you are and what you did
- The main chapters of your professional career (if any)
- Your motivations and the reasons for which you do what you do
- What professional success means for you
- How you combine professional, social and family obligations / responsibilities
- The different people that have or have had a strong influence on your activity and career
- What a typical day at work means to you
- The aspects of your work that you prefer and those you least enjoy
- Your projects, priorities and ambitions for the weeks / months to come
- The main problems and/or frustrations you face at work
- Your relation with the people you must deal with on a daily basis (banker, supplier, clients, employees, competitors, partners, etc.)
Once you feel sufficiently confident with one another, it is important to focus on you, your expectations with respect to the Mentorship and on your project. By the end of the first one-to-one meeting, both the Mentor and the Mentee should have a clearer understanding of what to expect from one another and fix the meeting schedule.
At the end of each one-to-one meeting, the Mentor and the Mentee should agree on the next steps which typically include:
- The date, subject and goal of the next meeting
- Any work/actions which need to be handled by either or both parties before the next meeting as well as the deadline, if relevant
At the end of each one-to-one meeting, the Mentee should complete his/her Log Book to monitor the progress he/she as achieved and send it to the Mentor alongside a summary of the main points discussed during the meetings and the next steps, if relevant. The Log Book journal should also be updated on the EYEE Platform after every session.
Some complementary tips and tools are provided in Appendix 2 to help you make the most out of the Mentorship experience.