What is Mentorship?
Mentorship is a protected relationship in which a more knowledgeable or experienced person guides and nurtures the professional development or growth of another, outside the normal manager/subordinate line management. Its focus goes beyond learning specific competencies or tasks and builds a climate of trust so the mentee can feel secure to seek advice on issues impacting their professional success.
Mentorship achieves its goals primarily by listening with empathy, sharing experiences, developing insight through reflection, and encouraging the mentee to take action towards the achievement of self-driven goals. As such the relationship is mentee-driven, with a clear definition of goals and expectations that are mutually agreed with the mentor. It is attentive to the mentee’s values and needs and respectful of the mentor’s time, resources, and experience.
A mentoring relationship may address such topics as:
- Career development
- Scientific and technical development
- Leadership development
- Management and supervision
- Adjusting to a new position
- Work-life balance
- Managing interpersonal relationships at work
- Navigating the organizational structure and operations
- Cultural exchange
- Professional development
- Retirement planning
Who should be a protege/mentee?
Consider signing up to be a protege/mentee if you're seeking professional development or guidance and are prepared to initiate setting goals and expectations for your mentoring relationship.
Who should be a mentor?
By definition, a mentor is a more experienced or knowledgeable person who guides and nurtures the development of a less experienced protege. However, mentors are not necessarily more senior than the people they mentor.
Consider signing up to be a mentor if you have specific experience or knowledge that others can learn from.
Being a mentor provides the opportunity to
- Improve your management skills—particularly advisory and supporting skills—in a safe environment
- Learn about the perspectives and views of others
- Impart your knowledge and experience to someone who will benefit