Definition of “Mentor”?1
There are many different definitions of the term “mentor”. For the purposes of this resource, we will use “an experienced and trusted adviser”,2 however, any relationship where there is an exchange of skills that operates on a two-way process could be considered to reflect a mentor – mentee relationship.
But what is a mentor?
In practical terms, this definition means that a mentor is someone who:
- is prepared to share their knowledge and skills;
- is willing to listen and support another individual, often from outside of their organisation;
- is able to support their mentee define their learning needs and skills gaps;
- is able to offer advice and guidance about how the mentee may fill these gaps;
- is able to reflect on their own working practice and learn from their mentee;
- can commit an agreed amount of time to support the mentee.
A mentoring partnership consists of two people, one who has specific experience, knowledge or skills to share, the mentor, and one who wishes to learn more about those specific skills, knowledge or experience, the mentee (explained later in section B). The partnership provides an opportunity for:
- A sustained, timed, one-on-one relationship to grow between two individuals;
Involves the sharing of skills, knowledge, or experience from one person (mentor) to another (mentee);
- An increased opportunities for the mentee to develop their skills and understanding to better perform in the chosen sector;
- Non-judgemental support and guidance as the partnership usually takes place away from the workplace;
- An opportunity for reciprocal learning as the mentor draws knowledge and understanding from the perspective of the mentee;
- Someone to help and support.
So becoming a mentor is a brilliant way to support the growth of the sector and ensure sustained, quality professional development opportunities at low cost with high results.