Human Resources

Information for mentees

Topics you may want to discuss in a mentoring partnership and potential benefits of mentoring

What should you and your mentor talk about?

Mentoring conversations are completely confidential and can cover a broad range of topics. Some examples include:

  • exploring career options
  • planning for promotion
  • discipline-specific issues
  • balancing a research career with a family 
  • understanding the University structure and culture

What do you want to gain from mentoring?

To get the most out of mentoring, you need to be clear on what you want to gain from it. This also makes it easier to identify potential mentors who may be able to help.

Things to consider include:

  • What do you need from a mentor?
  • What would be a good outcome from mentoring?
  • What timescales would you like to achieve this within?

You may find it useful to review the following:


Previous mentees found the mentoring partnership to be valuable and enjoyable, and described the positive impact of talking about career issues with someone independent.

Other benefits include:

  • Help with specific research skills
  • Ideas for managing work loads
  • Identification of training opportunities
  • Overcoming feelings of isolation
  • Help with networking
  • Increased motivation
  • Support, encouragement and increased confidence
  • Help with setting and achieving goals

To achieve this you must come to each session ready to:

  • Work towards achieving your goals or objectives.
  • Receive, accept and action feedback.
  • Be questioned, challenged and encouraged.
  • Listen actively to what your mentor is saying.
  • Be honest with your mentor and yourself (e.g. about your strengths and weaknesses).
  • Agree realistic actions.
  • Think carefully about how you can apply learning outcomes from the sessions back on the job.
  • Discuss the outcomes of the actions from the previous session. Making notes of any progress made, as well as problems or issues that you would like to discuss further.
  • Provide feedback to the mentor on how useful you are finding the sessions.

What Mentoring is not

Please be aware that the Mentoring Connections programme is not designed to help staff gain promotions or to be seen as a sign of favouritism.  Your Mentor will not act as a “Sponsor” for you.

Your Mentor is also not there to provide counselling or emotional support on personal issues.  They will also not take on the responsibilities of your line manager.

Find out more