What does ‘mentoring’ mean?
Mentoring happens when one person assists another to grow, acquire new skills and insights, and develop his or her potential. The mentoring relationship builds confidence and helps the learner to take increasing responsibility for his/her own development.
Mentors do not need to be qualified trainers nor do they need to be highly skilled at the job the learner does or the area in which the learner wants to develop, but often they are.
People embark on mentoring for many different reasons: to support them personally, to help them in their career and/or to improve their effectiveness in their job. The essential quality of mentoring is that it supports learning and that development is a proactive, positive and generally enjoyable choice for both the mentor and learner.
Benefits to you, the mentor
Being a mentor is challenging and stimulating. You can develop coaching and counselling skills, many of which are transferable to other areas of life. You may acquire a greater understanding of issues through reflecting on them with your learner, which can revitalise your interest in work. Mentoring can form part of your own career development and be relevant to your appraisal.
Benefits to your learner
Many learners find their self-confidence and motivation increase through sharing experiences and receiving one-on one feedback. As a mentor, you act as a sounding board and a trusted ‘ally’ so your learner can explore strengths and development areas in an encouraging environment, with the opportunity to think through his/her direction in life. You also act as a role model, consciously or not, enabling the learner to see new ways of thinking and behaving.