Mentoring is a powerful personal development and empowerment tool. It can help you gain a better understanding of your working environment – and how to progress in your career.
It should be driven primarily by you, the mentee, with the mentor supporting and enabling you to take responsibility for your own development. In this the mentor acts as a guide, supporter, sounding board and, sometimes, as a role model.
One-to-one mentoring is based on a positive supportive and confidential relationship, which helps to facilitate a wide range of learning and development. The mentee is the focus, but the process also enables the mentor to develop their own communication and people skills. The mentoring relationship should typically be outside the direct line-management relationship.
Mentoring schemes will match a person with relevant experience (the mentor) to the staff member who can benefit from that experience (the mentee). Mentoring should be a voluntary scheme, which is well described by Hale (2000):
"An experienced individual, outside the reporting relationship, holds regular meetings and discussions and takes a personal interest in guiding and supporting the development of a less experienced person in progressing within and beyond their immediate role.”
Mentoring involves staff building relationships that will provide guidance, support, advice to build knowledge, capability and self-reliance, with a focus on reviewing and developing career plans.
"Mentoring involves listening with empathy, sharing experience (usually mutually), professional friendship, developing insight through reflection, being a sounding board, and encouraging" David Clutterbuck (2014)."
Queen’s staff have access to a range of existing mentoring schemes, including those organised centrally, e.g. gender initiative schemes and postdoc group mentoring and also within university schools. These schemes may differ in the groups of staff who participate, but they will have similar mentoring goals, focusing on:
- providing guidance and support for staff
- promoting a productive working environment
- providing an opportunity for personal and career development
- enhancing induction into the workplace
Sample Mentoring Schemes
Mentoring is also available via school-based schemes. Please check with your manager or school colleagues for further information.