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Mentoring Program

What is the purpose of mentoring programs?

Mentoring allows people to learn from one another, providing a path to knowledge transfer. In the workplace, for instance, someone established in their career can share knowledge and insights, as well as offer guidance, to someone with less experience. In academic institutions, students can explore education and career possibilities with a mentor, while a recent graduate can get insight into how to chart a career path and connections for future employment. Mentoring at its core is the opportunity for people to learn from one another. It enables knowledge transfer between two or more people for the benefit of all.

There’s a wide range of things a mentor can offer a mentee. Mentors can listen, share advice, ask thought-provoking questions, and more, including:

Provides a sounding board: Mentors can listen to their mentees’ concerns and brainstorm ideas and suggestions about their future career. Mentors can also share feedback and response that might help crystalize a person’s path forward in a particular situation or in regards to a career trajectory.

Gives advice: Mentors directly offer recommendations. They can suggest professional development priorities, help mentees establish goals, and identify resources. Mentors can also be helpful in the interview or promotion process, offering feedback on resumes and cover letters, as well as tips for acing an interview.

Shares inspiration and encouragement: Peeling back the steps someone took in their career can be illuminating. Mentors share knowledge on both a small scale (the nitty-gritty of workplace successes) and the large scale (how to build a successful, fulfilling career). Mentors can also offer encouragement, acting as a cheerleader for a mentee’s goals and dreams.

Offers networking opportunities: A mentor can make introductions to people who can be helpful in a mentee’s career, share opportunities, and recommend events and stretch assignments that will expose a mentee to important information and connections.

What is a Mentee?

The mentor-mentee relationship is a two-way street. Mentees can provide feedback and new perspectives to mentors, while helping them work on their leadership skills and growth.

As with mentors, a mentee’s role will vary, but some core actions on the part of a mentee include:

Taking and giving constructive feedback: Hearing about what you’re doing well is a lovely experience, but getting notes on what needs improvement or should be adjusted can be harder to take. Still, mentees should respond to feedback—both positive and negative—with openness, since this is ultimately useful information intended to help with growth and future success. Similarly, they should be prepared to give their mentors the same candid feedback. This assures that both parties are learning from each other.

Being mindful: By being on time, prepared for meetings, and professional, mentees can show they value the time and efforts mentors are providing.

Steering the relationship: Mentees should be clear on what they hope to get out of interactions, and drive conversations and interactions. Establish the meeting times and meeting modes, and come with questions, specific requests for advice and proposed topics of conversation.

Following through: After getting suggestions, recommendations, introductions, and so on, mentees should follow up with the appropriate actions, and be prepared to give updates at subsequent meetings. This helps validate the work and effort on the part of the mentor, and continues the good rapport within the mentoring relationship.

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