What does a mentor do?

“What does a mentor do?”

A mentor is viewed as the more experienced member who is willing and able to pass on the benefit of that experience. However the role is not simply to ‘tell’ the mentored what to do, the role of the mentor is to:

  • Be a role model, listen to both what is being said, how it is being said and provide non judge-mental support, motivation and guidance.
  • To develop a mutual trust and respect and maintain confidentiality by outlining the limits on confidentiality. State whether the contents of the meetings are to be kept confidential or can they be discussed with outside parties?
  • The mentor needs to agree with the mentored person how the relationship will work and this should ideally be done at the beginning of the first meeting. There is no need to formalise the arrangement by drawing up a contract, but there are key issues that need to be discussed and agreed at the outset.
  • Clarify the initial goals of mentored and help with the exploring of different paths to determine and set the goals of the program. Chooses the proper mentoring model by defining other critical components of the program.
  • Selects matched criteria for the mentored person based upon the interview. This is in relation to meetings, their frequency and length, where they take place and how, whether formally or informally?
  • Other criteria will be based upon who and how will the outcomes or action plans be recorded? How will communication outside of meetings be dealt with; method, turnaround, frequency etc.? Will there be any issues that will not be discussed?
  • The knowledge, advice, and resources a mentor shares will depend on the format and goals of a specific mentoring relationship.
  • Provide guidance on issues raised by passing on knowledge and experience. A mentor may share with the mentored person information about his or her own career path
  • The mentor’s role changes to the needs of the mentored person but to help the mentored person solve his or her own problem, rather than give direction. They evaluate results at the end of the pilot program and adjust accordingly.
  • Challenge the mentored person to move beyond his or her comfort zone, create a safe learning environment for taking risks, whilst focusing on the mentored person’s total development and resist the urge to produce a clone.
  • Teach the mentored person about a specific issue and guide the mentored on a particular skill and aid the mentored person’s growth by sharing contacts and identifying resources and networks.


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