What is mentoring?
There are different types of mentoring but all have a few key ideas in common:
- Mentoring allows the sharing of knowledge, skills and experience.
- Mentoring is a relationship that develops over a period of time to the benefit of one or both parties.
- Mentoring is personal and should be formulated in a way to suit the parties involved.
Types of mentoring
One to one mentoring
This is the traditional relationship people tend to think of first when considering mentoring. A person with more experience (usually somebody more senior) will provide support and guidance to somebody looking to tread a similar path.
This is where two individuals who are at the same stage in their career provide support and guidance to one another. Shared experiences alongside individual knowledge help assist both parties.
This is a mentoring relationship set up with the aim of learning a specific skill. For example, if an individual wanted to become proficient in providing training they may seek a mentor with experience of this. The relationship is goal-oriented and would typically end once the skill has been achieved.
This is where a person who is less senior mentors a more senior colleague. The underlying idea is that the less senior individual is more knowledgeable in some areas and therefore able to provide beneficial insight to the more senior colleague. This can be useful both for gaining new skills but also for providing an insight into the experience of staff members. For example, a senior member of staff may choose to be mentored by a colleague with a protected characteristic in order to gain insight into their experience of the workplace.
Benefits of mentoring
For the mentor:
- A sense of value and satisfaction from passing on skills and knowledge.
- A new working relationship and rapport with a colleague.
- A chance to improve and practice communication and management skills.
- Insight into somebody else’s experience.
For the mentee:
- Support and guidance from somebody with personal insight.
- Safe learning environment (non-judgemental support tailored specifically to your wants and needs).
- Personal approach; advice is specifically targeted at areas important to you.
- Increase in confidence and self-esteem.
- Insight into potential future career-paths or modes of career development.