Mentee guidelines

The goal of the any Mentoring Program is to encourage and support young professionals who have recently completed training, wanting to break into the industry, or beginning new positions.

One of the key factors in achievement is having productive relationships with mentors.

Experienced mentors can provide valuable information and advice on how to make the most of your learning experiences and what to expect in a new position or developing a project. While mentors may provide much of this critical information, it is important to have a balanced perspective from the larger community and even from outside your specific discipline.

Tips on Interaction

Both members of the newly matched pair should arrange to exchange copies of their curriculum vitae. The mentees CV is helpful for the mentor so that he/she can review the junior colleague’s career at that point and to suggest some goals for the immediate future. The mentor’s CV provides a base with which the mentor can point out key steps in his/her career that were particularly valuable along the career path.

Second, the mentor should ask you to share your goals for the upcoming year as well as more long-term goals, as another point for discussion.

The exact nature of subsequent meetings, including their topic and duration, will vary from pair to pair. For the majority of people, phone or email will be the most effective, regardless of where the two people live. In most circumstances, email probably will be the most effective way to stay in touch with a minimum of formality and time spent. However, it is important to also set aside a specific time or times to interact during appropriate meetings (e.g. time in rehearsal or technical observation), both because it may be a rare opportunity to interact in person and because this provides the you an opportunity to network with other practitioners through the mentor’s tutelage. Events such as receptions or openings are good ways for the mentor to introduce you to other practitioners with whom you may not normally have the opportunity to meet and interact with. It is important that you realise that the mentor has other demands on his/her time, during theses events. This is why specifying ahead of time a particular time and place for at least one face-to-face meeting is important.

Potential Pitfalls

There are at least four areas that need particular attention in any mentoring relationship.

Limited Time Studies have found that finding the time and energy for mentoring pairs to get together is a great obstacle. Take advantage of email, fax, telephone, etc., as ways of staying in touch. Email especially allows for relatively short but more frequent contact between the participants.

Project/Task Control It is important to remember that the role of the mentor is to guide and advise the mentee. However it is all too easy for mentors to take control of a project because of their high level of expertise and previous experiences. While mentees needs to develop the ability to take the mentors advice on board, it is also important that they have the confidence to discuss alternative strategies.

Lack of Knowledge/Skills After a mentor has accepted the role, he or she may discover that there is not really the common ground between the two that was expected or that the mentee wants assistance in an area in which the mentor does not feel particularly competent to advise. In this situation, the mentor can either contact someone else or assist you in locating others whose expertise may be more helpful for a specific need. Be open to finding another person yourself to get another point-of-view in a particular area.

Over-dependence Over-dependence can go in either direction in a mentoring relationship. However, it is not wise for a junior person to become over-dependent on his/her mentor. It is helpful for mentors to encourage their junior colleagues to have other mentors and to eventually anticipate the end of the formal mentoring relationship. It should be everyone’s goal to eventually become full-fledged colleagues, although it’s always nice to have someone to go to, who knows you, for advice at any time in the future.

It is important that both mentees and mentors always consider whether a mentoring match may have served its useful purpose. It is better to part company on amicable terms than to struggle with a relationship without a firm foundation.

The EAT Mentoring Coordinator is available throughout the process to discuss progress.

Source: American Physiological Society, Guide for Mentors