Quick Read: Mentor's Quick Guide

A mentor can take many roles in the mentoring relationship:
  • A guide
  • A sounding board
  • A challenger
  • A supporter and encourager
  • A confidante
  • A career coach
  • A networking facilitator

It is important that the mentor responds to the mentee’s agenda. Many mentors leap straight into giving advice based on their own experience, spending a great deal of the time talking about themselves. Whilst this may help the mentee, it is helpful to ask questions and do some deep listening before handing over pearls of wisdom.

Let the mentee drive the agenda and determine what they can best interpret from your experience.

Effective mentors help mentees to make better decisions about themselves and their careers, and give encouragement and emotional support in putting those decisions into action.

Before your next meeting with your mentee, think about how you can:
1. Listen well
2. Provide guidance rather than advice when appropriate
3. Challenge respectfully and be challenged without offence
4. Be patient – let the mentee tell their story without rushing them to a solution and let the mentee tackle challenges at their own pace
5. Offer different perspectives – there is no one right way to look at things
6. Introduce the mentee to relevant people in your network
7. Give time, encouragement, support, constructive feedback and unconditional respect to the mentee
8. Know when to use each mentoring mode i.e. when to listen, when to give advice, when to challenge
9. Maintain confidentiality
10. Try some different questions

Getting Started
If you are still in the early stages of the relationship, then make sure you spend enough time just getting to know one another before you get down to business. Be curious about them – without being intrusive – and what drives them, their interests and ambitions. Look for something you have in common as that will help build rapport.