Mentorship -- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Mentoring is about supporting people to develop more effectively. It is a relationship based on trust, designed to build confidence and help a mentee to take increasing initiative for career development. Mentoring occurs when two individuals decide to work together to achieve specific objectives for skills growth and development. One individual has the skill, knowledge and experience that the other individual needs to acquire.
Mentoring helps students prepare for life after university by facilitating individual goal setting and achievement. It creates an environment to develop and practice important skills needed for the workplace. It contributes to a collaborative learning culture. It facilitates the possible identification of career choices and allows the student to get a practical and realistic picture of the working world. It enhances their skills and increases their network of contacts with individuals in their area of interest.
Ideal candidates for mentoring will be third- or fourth-year students who are interested in a mentoring relationship that allows them to commit time to self-assessment of their skills and career ambition. The mentoring relationship will allow them to create a plan of action to achieve their goals.
Possible mentoring activities include:
- Arrange a meeting for the student to be introduced to an important contact in the mentor's field -- make suggestions prior to this meeting regarding possible topics of conversation -- a debrief session is often helpful afterwards.
- Attend meetings of the mentor to see the mentor in action.
- Review the student's resume and give comments.
- Discuss the impact of the mentor's role model and mentors.
- Refer the student to some professional colleagues for informational interviews.
- Read books of interest to the student and discuss.
- Complete the Myers-Briggs Type indicator with the student and discuss.
- Pass on topical articles and books for comment.
- Arrange for the student to attend an in-house training session.
- Pass on copies of speeches or presentations that the mentor has delivered.
- Provide the student with advice concerning job applications and interviews.
- Debrief the student after interviews.
Benefits to the mentor include:
- Satisfaction of enhancing the student's understanding of the workplace;
- Heightened profile within their workplace;
- Coaching practice and leadership skills;
- Heightened self-awareness;
- Pleasure of giving back.
Benefits to the student include:
- Access to wisdom and expertise;
- Opportunities for self-assessment;
- A personalized career-development plan;
- Greater understanding of current business practices;
- Introduction to business networks and related supports;
- Exposure to the business environment;
- Job search strategies;
- Advice, moral support, encouragement.
- Influential professional or manager with advanced experience and knowledge;
- Respected in their field and organization;
- Proven leadership capabilities and personal effectiveness skills;
- Prepared to make a commitment to nurturing and supporting the student's development;
- Shares wisdom;
- Understands the current workplace issues and realities, and what employers look for;
- Skilled at listening and provides supportive guidance and constructive feedback;
- Available; keeps in contact;
- Prepared to spend time discussing the transition from student to employee, reading the student's resume and reviewing career plans;
- Understands how to build networks and is in a position to help establish a professional network for the student;
- Confidential; treats all dealings and discussions in confidence.
- Interest in and availability to work on own self-assessment, formulate plans for career development and set goals for achievement;
- Available to meet with mentor on a regular basis for the duration of the program;
- Interested in learning about current workplace issues and potential employers;
- Available; keeps in contact;
- Prepared to spend time discussing the transition from student to employee, working on own resume and discussing work of interest;
- Interested in building networks in chosen field;
- Confidential: treats all dealings and discussions in confidence.