In most educational institutions today, each new student will be assigned an advisor or mentor who is normally an academic faculty that will help in advising and guiding them on matters pertaining to academic programs through out their stay at college or university.
Similarly in big organizations, a more experienced worker (the mentor) may help the new and less experienced colleague (the mentee) to
- Become more skilled at his/her work
- And/or become more knowledgeable about the organization
- And/or become more effective in setting appropriate career goals.
Sometimes, especially in big corporations, such assistance is formally planned, organized, and supported by the employing company. But more often it takes place on an informal basis.
Regardless of the degree of formality, mentoring almost always involves a more experienced employee (mentor) helping a less experienced employee (mentee) to develop. The relationship between the two workers is a helping relationship and involves the playing of various roles between them.
If you are going to be a mentor, you may prefer to play any one or all of the following mentoring roles. You may assume these as guidelines :
AS AN ADVISOR
Help mentee set and achieve career goals. How ?
Help mentee clarify career interests, competencies and values.
Assist the mentee in setting specific career goals.
Jointly develop strategies for achieving career objectives.
AS A COACH
Help mentee meet job performance norms. How ?
Model exemplary work outputs.
Share effective and efficient performance practices.
Provide feedback regarding the mentee’s job performance
AS AN EXPLAINER
Provide mentee information on policies and procedures. How ?
Inform mentee on the nature of the organization’s culture.
Tutor mentee on how to get things done in the organization.
Assist mentee with routine paper work and procedures.
AS A PROTECTOR
Help mentee avoid costly career mistakes. How ?
Point out things that might reflect negatively on mentee.
Maintain good relationship with mentee and his/her immediate superior.
Agree to a no-fault and win-win conclusion of mentoring relationship.
AS A SPONSOR
Help mentee secure positions and assignments. How ?
Make introductions to influential people in the organization
Make recommendations for assignments and advancement.
Publicly praise the mentee’s accomplishments and abilities.
AS A VALIDATOR
Provide mentee psychological support during transition. How ?
Make mentee feel welcome and a part of the organization.
Serve as a confidant, offering reassurances and encouragement.
Assist the mentee in resolving crisis situations.
Conclusion : COMMON UNDERSTANDING IS IMPORTANT
Important to determine the congruence or similarity between the mentoring roles a mentor most prefer to perform, and the mentoring roles a mentee most prefers their mentor to perform. A common understanding on the expectations from both sides will ensure success and effectiveness of the program.