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Guidance for Mentors
A mentor is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as an “experienced and trusted adviser”. This description reflects how we would like to see mentors work with their mentees. Your role as mentor will cover at least some of the following:
  • Listen
  • Ask questions to help develop your’s and the mentee’s understanding of a situation or problem
  • Provide information and knowledge and share informal networks
  • Provide advice on career development
  • Offer different perspectives
  • Provide support and encouragement
  • Provide an insight into your work and career
  • Offer guidance and advice in regards to qualifications
  • Be a sounding board
  • Be a critical friend
  • Encourage self reflection
  • Help mentees identify areas for development
As a mentor you will have the opportunity to use your experience and knowledge in a facilitative manner to support the development of the mentee. However, the responsibility for making things happen and putting plans into action lies primarily with the mentee - not with you.

Skills and experience required to be a Mentor

Self-Awareness – you should have a good understanding of your own strengths and development needs.

Credibility – you should have personal and professional credibility, this may include being a member of relevant organisations.

Accessibility – you should be willing and able to commit sufficient time to your mentee to offer support and guidance.

Communication – you need excellent communication skills and be able to understanding the ideas and feelings of others. You also need to be a great listener.

Ability to empower – you should be able to create an environment where it is safe for individuals to try out different things, allowing them to contribute in different ways.

A desire to help others develop – you should understand how individuals develop and have experience, either formally or informally, of developing others.

Inventiveness – be open to new ways of doing things and different ways of working.

Empathy – Ability to empathise with others.

Understanding –You should be prepared to try to understand different perspectives, approaches and possibly backgrounds of different mentees


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King William’s College
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