Human Resources

Introduction to mentoring

How we define mentoring, aims of mentoring, how a partnership may work and typical time commitment

What is mentoring?

If you would like to seek support from someone over an extended period of time in relation to your career progress and aspirations, you may consider mentoring.

Your mentor would normally be a senior colleague. They may have followed a career pathway that interests you, or have faced similar challenges you are, or may be, facing. They support you by drawing on their professional and personal experience, listening to you, and providing information and encouragement where appropriate.

What is the aim of mentoring?

Mentoring may help to:

  • Provide support and motivation in the key areas of career planning and development
  • Provide opportunities for a confidential review of options, strategies and decisions
  • Help staff to become self-reliant and take responsibility for their career management
  • Ensure staff are supported whilst developing confidence, additional skills and experience
  • Help to build cross institutional relationships and knowledge

What is Mentorning Connections?

The Mentoring Connections programme is available for all staff irrelevant of grade or career background.  It is designed to enable Mentees and Mentors to connect with each other with the Mentor offering support and guidance to the Mentee.

Some mentoring relationships can be mutually beneficial i.e. peer mentoring, where both parties are learning from and supporting each other.

Mentors do not need to have any particular qualifications, rather the key skills required are:

  • listening and questioning
  • challenging your mentee to consider their learning and what they’re going to do with it
  • providing insights into ‘the way things are done around here’
  • guidance and advice on the sector and career progression
  • being a positive role model
  • being curious and encouraging your mentee to be curious
  • encouragement and to facilitate networking and building supportive connections
  • challenging negative/limiting beliefs

The Mentoring Connections programme is run by University HR Services - Learning and Development and the Institute for Academic Development.

Time commitment

It is up to the mentor and the mentee how often they meet and for how long. At the outset, the mentor and the mentee must be explicit about how much time they are prepared to give and agree the frequency of meetings.

It may be useful to diary in time to meet every 4-6 weeks at the beginning of the relationship, after which timescales would be a flexible arrangement between the 2 parties.

As a member of the Mentoring Connections programme, we would expect the duration of relationship to be around 6 to 12 months. However there is no limit if there is mutual consent to continue the relationship.

If you are looking for (or would like to offer support) which has less of a time commitment, or may not be face to face, this can be done informally if you wish rather than through the formal Mentoring Connections programme.

Next steps