Mentoring is a powerful personal development and empowerment tool. It is an effective way of helping people to progress in their careers and is becoming increasing popular as its potential is realised. It is a partnership between two people (mentor and mentee) normally working in a similar field or sharing similar experiences. It is a helpful relationship based upon mutual trust and respect.
“Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.” Eric Parsloe, The Oxford School of Coaching & Mentoring.
A mentor is a guide who can help the mentee to find the right direction and who can help them to develop solutions to career issues. Mentors rely upon having had similar experiences to gain an empathy with the mentee and an understanding of their issues. Mentoring provides the mentee with an opportunity to think about career options and progress.
A mentor should help the mentee to believe in herself and boost her confidence. A mentor should ask questions and challenge, while providing guidance and encouragement. Mentoring allows the mentee to explore new ideas in confidence. It is a chance to look more closely at yourself, your issues, opportunities and what you want in life. Mentoring is about becoming more self aware, taking responsibility for your life and directing your life in the direction you decide, rather than leaving it to chance.
Types of mentoring
Within the context of Cambridge University, we identify these types of mentoring:
Why have a mentor?
Research has proven the value of mentoring for improving your work experience, and this is recognised by having a University and Company mentoring policy for newly appointed staff, and by offering mentoring to all members of staff. Mentor can:
- Act as an impartial sounding board. They create valuable space and time for you to “stand back” and review where you are now, where you want to get to, and how best to get there
- Contribute viewpoints, advice, and information from their own knowledge, experience and expertise
- Assist you to achieve changes and goals to enhance your professional and personal life