The Characteristics Of Mentoring Are?

“The Characteristics Of Mentoring Are?”

Following on from yesterday’s post today I look at the characteristics of mentoring.

  • Mentoring takes place outside of any other relationship with the mutual consent of both the mentor and the person being mentored.
  • It focuses on professional development that may be outside a mentored person’s normal area of work.
  • The relationship is personal – a mentor provides both professional and personal support. It may be initiated by a mentor or created through an invite by the mentored person. The relationship crosses all boundaries.
  • The relationship may last for a specific period of time (nine months to a year) in a formal program. On completion the pair may continue in an informal mentoring relationship.
  • Mentors must have the right skills and qualities to make the relationship work. They must be interested in being a mentor and actually want to do it.
  • Mentors must have available time – mentoring will require a time commitment so look at existing time commitments and truly evaluate whether the time can be spared.
  • Appropriate knowledge and skills – mentors should be involved in a similar field to that of the mentored person in order than you can provide guidance from an understanding of the area they are working.
  • Listening skills – mentors must able to actively listen to others, not interrupting but listening and reflecting back what the mentored person is saying.
  • Patient and supportive – as the relationship is led by the mentored person, mentors will need to be prepared to support them towards achieving their goals. Mentors need to let the mentored person reach conclusions at their own pace and not impose your views or suggestions.
  • Trustworthy – the issues discussed during mentoring sessions must be treated in the strictest of confidence and therefore the mentored person needs to believe that they can trust you.

There are two types of Mentoring, Informal and formal. Both differ from each other in their approaches and outcomes.

Informal mentoring:

  • Goals of the relationship are not specified.
  • Outcomes are not measured.
  • Access is limited and may be exclusive.
  • Mentors and mentored person self-select on the basis of personal chemistry.
  • Mentoring lasts a long time; sometimes a lifetime.

Formal Mentoring:

  • Goals are established from the beginning by the mentored person.
  • Outcomes are measured.
  • Access is open to all who meet program criteria.
  • Mentors and the mentored person are paired based on compatibility.
  • Training and support in mentoring is provided
  • Both mentor and mentored person benefit directly

Engaging in a mentoring relationship is beneficial for both the mentor and mentored person by:-

  • The broadening of their skills and knowledge.
  • The provision of a new dimension to current life situation.
  • Can increase personal and professional networks
  • Seeing others develop from your experience(s)

The 3 Stage Approach:

An effective mentoring relationship has been shown to move through 3 stages. Each stage builds on the learning from the previous and within each stage there are responsibilities for both the mentor and mentored person.

Stage 1 – Exploration:

During the first stage of the process your role as a mentor is to provide information, when requested by the mentored person, and to ask probing questions to help the mentored person make judgements. It is during this stage that the mentor needs to use their ‘active listening’ skills. Using good questioning techniques and then recapping, paraphrasing and summarising to try and get to the centre issue being raised. Remember the mentor is there to guide the mentored person, not to provide a solution or impose their point of view.

Stage 2 – New Understanding:

Having worked through the first stage, the likelihood is that some ‘new understanding’ will be reached about the issue being discussed. This may be a minor change in viewpoint or a major breakthrough in a persons thinking processes. Regardless of the size or significance of the breakthrough, the role as the mentor is to reflect back to the mentored person what they have learned. The mentor should then guide the mentored person through thinking about the implications of potential conclusions.

Stage 3 – Action:

If the mentor has successfully reached a new understanding the next stage is to agree what actions should be taken. Again this is not about the mentor telling the mentored person what to do. The mentor needs to guide the mentored person towards identifying actions they can implement. If actions are agreed they must ensure these are recorded and then monitored through regular review and feedback.


What Are The Benefits Of Mentoring? –
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