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The University of Southampton
Centre for Higher Education Practice

Mentoring Handbook

Mentoring
Mentoring

Table of Contents

What is mentoring?

Definitions of mentoring

The different types of mentoring

Long-term formal mentoring

One-stop mentoring advice

Informal mentoring

Benefits of mentoring

What are the benefits of having a mentor?

What are the benefits for mentors?

What are the benefits for your Faculty and the University?

What is the role of the mentor?

What is the role of the mentee?

Getting the most from a mentoring relationship

Ethical guidelines for Mentoring pairs

Responsibility

Confidentiality

The identity of the person being mentored

Confidentiality of the mentoring conversation

Boundary management & roles

Competence

Contracting

Dealing with self-distractions

 

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a protected relationship which supports learning and experimentation and helps individuals develop their potential.

A mentoring relationship is one where both mentor and mentee recognise the need for personal development. Successful mentoring is based upon trust and confidentiality.

Definitions of mentoring

“Mentoring is for the mentee. Most of all, for the mind of the mentee. I think that Mentoring needs to focus on and develop the mentee’s finest independent thinking about their work, their career, their life, their dreams.The Mentor’s perspective is an important ingredient in this special relationship. But it feeds. It is not the feast” – (Kline 2009)

 

“to help and support people to manage their own learning in order to maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance, and become the person they want to be” – (Parsloe 1992)

 

“off-line help by one person to another in making significant transitions in knowledge, work or thinking” – (Megginson and Clutterbuck 1995)

 

“A learning relationship which helps people to take charge of their own development, to release their potential and to achieve results which they value” – (Connor and Pokora 2007)

The different types of mentoring

Mentors may enter a long term mentoring relationship or may be called upon to act as a one-step mentoring advice point for a specific topic. In all roles, the mentor will act as an independent source of career advice and support. Training is available for both mentors and mentees and is strongly advised prior to entering into any form of mentoring relationship.

If you are interested in training please contact Maxine Hart at ILIaDDev@soton.ac.uk

Long-term formal mentoring

Long term formal mentoring involves a number of meetings with the same mentor over a period of time. As either mentor and mentee you will be participating in a formal University of Southampton mentoring programme and you will both have agreed to a level of commitment to the programme. This gives you both the chance to get to know each other, and therefore the mentor can tailor how they share their experience and give encouragement.

One-stop mentoring advice

If you have a specific need you can select a mentor with experience in that specialist area to meet with once (or more if you wish!)

Informal mentoring

There are currently many informal mentoring relationships within the University. An important advantage of having undertaken mentoring training, even for informal mentoring relationships, is that there will be a shared understanding of the mentoring process for both mentor and mentee.

Benefits of mentoring

What are the benefits of having a mentor?

The specific benefits of being mentored include:

The Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) commissioned a literature review (Hawkes 2012) and study into Mentoring: progressing women’s careers in higher education (Quinn 2012) and found that mentoring has a number of benefits for mentees, mentors and HEIs alike.

From the study, Quinn identified the following as being generic benefits for mentees:

What are the benefits for mentors?

The specific benefits of being a mentor include:

Additionally Quinn identified the following as being generic benefits to mentors:

What are the benefits for your Faculty and the University?

Increasingly, funding bodies require research staff to have access to an active mentoring programme. We can only offer this if we have enthusiastic mentors on our database. An active and successful mentoring scheme brings benefits to your Faculty and the University by:

For more information from RCUK about benefits of mentoring for HEIs please click here

Additionally Quinn identified the following as being generic benefits to HEIs:

What is the role of the mentor?

A mentor is someone who has a genuine interest in overseeing and supporting the career and development of another person outside the normal supervision process.The role of a mentor includes that of guide, support, critical friend, sounding board, devils’ advocate, confidante, information giver, role model. Mentors may help in the following ways by:

Mentors may enter a long term mentoring relationship or may be called upon to act as a one-step mentoring advice point for a specific topic.

What is the role of the mentee?

As the mentee you are responsible for being proactive and you are expected to drive the mentoring relationship forward. This means selecting your mentor from the mentoring database and establishing and maintaining contact with your mentor and setting up meetings. The mentee is expected to set the agenda and for developing objectives for the programme.

Getting the most from a mentoring relationship

To get the most out of being either a mentor of a mentee, you should be prepared to:

Ethical guidelines for Mentoring pairs

The mentoring relationship, acting either as a mentor or a mentee, may present you with a number of issues or dilemmas. Often, there are no easy or obvious solutions and there may be no clear-cut sense of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

The aim of these simple Ethical Guidelines for Mentoring Pairs (available as a single-page Microsoft Word document) is to highlight a set of behaviours which might impact upon the mentoring relationship or, indeed, when using mentoring/coaching techniques in other situations.

Responsibility

Responsibility lies with both mentor and mentee to be aware that their behaviour has the potential to negatively affect the mentoring relationship.

Confidentiality

The identity of the person being mentored

Confidentiality involves preserving the name of those being mentored unless they have given active assent to disclosing them.

Confidentiality of the mentoring conversation

Both the mentor and the mentee have great responsibility to maintain and respect the confidentiality of all the information imparted during the mentoring relationship as they may hear sensitive and personal information. This applies both within and outside the University of Southampton unless specifically authorised by either the mentor or the mentee. However, if such information is dangerous or illegal, an appropriate approach for the mentor is to encourage the mentee to take appropriate action themselves.

Boundary management & roles

Those working in a mentoring relationship may develop friendships over time. It is important to have a clear mentoring relationship and not allow personal bias to influence professional actions. Stay mindful of maintaining confidentiality, objectivity and equal partnership.

Competence

Mentors need to be conscious of their own levels of mentoring competence and experience and to never overstate them. An appropriate approach for mentors to foster this consciousness might be to engage in reflective practice using a journal or similar approach.

When the mentoring conversation appears to stray away from mentoring (forward-looking, solution focused) towards counselling (typically talk is firmly rooted in problems in the past), an appropriate approach might be to suggest that further conversation of that particular topic might be better with those competent to assist (eg University of Southampton Counselling Services).

Contracting

Examples of clear contracting should include clarity over length and frequency of sessions; agreement on whether it is permissible or not to make email/telephone/text contact concerning mentoring issues between mentoring sessions; responsibility for finding a suitable location for the mentoring session etc

Dealing with self-distractions

Mentors need to recognise that bias, preconceived ideas, initial impressions, opinions and stereotypes can all influence the ability to pay full attention and be present and focused on those being mentored. If it is not possible to achieve this level of self-management, an appropriate approach might be for the mentor to either absent themselves temporarily or suggest that the mentee work with someone else. If mentors feel they need to ‘advise’ to give value to the mentee, they may need to step back to examine the relationship with those being mentored and their own understanding of mentoring.

Disclaimer: These guidelines are made available for your reference only as to the type of dilemmas and/or issues you may come across whilst engaging in a mentoring relationship. It does not constitute legal advice.

 

Further guidance may be found in the European Mentoring & Coaching Council’s Code of Ethics http://www.emccouncil.org/src/ultimo/models/Download/4.pdf

 

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