Frequently Asked Questions

So what do mentors do?

As a mentor your focus is the development of your mentee. You will be required to take on a number of challenging, yet rewarding roles.

Most mentees need help with their careers, so you need to take a strong interest in your mentee's working life. Creating opportunities for them to move into new jobs or learning situations underlines this interest. Always be looking to steer your mentee towards acquiring knowledge, new skills and understanding. Sharing your own experiences is often the best starting point.

Rather than dictating what should be done you will be looking for situations to empower your mentee; your role is to help them build up their confidence and abilities to take responsibility for themselves, their careers and their own development.

You will be expected to offer support, a sympathetic ear, a shoulder to cry on and always plenty of encouragement!

Most mentoring relationships involve a mixture of all of the above, with the emphasis shifting from time to time as new crises or opportunities open up, or as your mentee makes progress.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am not getting on with my mentor/mentee
My mentor/mentee is too busy to arrange meetings
My mentor/mentee arranges meetings but then cancels them
My manager is unhappy about my choice of mentor/mentee
My work is secret or market sensitive
I have been asked to mentor or be mentee to someone who is unsuitable
My mentee/mentor has made an improper advance

1. I am not getting on with my mentor/mentee.

If the partnership is not useful to both parties it needs to be discussed before relations deteriorate. If the mentee and mentor can not resolve issues in an amicable way, the partnership should be dissolved.

2. My mentor/mentee is too busy to arrange meetings.

Making time for each other is an essential part of the partnership. Initially refer back to your agreement and see how often you agreed to meet. It may be that you are demanding too much. If the agreement is not being kept to then you need to either renegotiate it and set meetings at a frequency that suits both of you, or dissolve the partnership and start again.

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3. My mentor/mentee arranges meetings but then cancels them at the last minute.

If this is happening only occasionally it may be that the mentor/mentee is currently experiencing a high workload and simply hasn't them time to interact with you. In this case you need to decide whether to put the partnership on hold while this busy period passes, or dissolve the partnership. This situation should not be allowed to happen regularly as the other partner could feel disheartened and undervalued.

4. My manager is unhappy about my choice of mentor/mentee.

The blunt answer is that this is none of his/her business, unless you are allowing your career development activities to interfere with your work responsibilities. If your manager fears a breach in confidentiality or is unhappy about your productivity you should discuss this with him/her and attempt to assuage their doubts.

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5. My work is secret or market sensitive.

In this case you may find it easier to find a mentor within your own company, although your mentor should never be your own line manager as this may lead to a conflict of interest. It will be difficult to discuss your career without ever mentioning what it is you actually do.

6. I have been asked to mentor or be mentee to someone who is unsuitable.

In this case honesty is the best policy. If you enter into a partnership to be polite it is doomed to fail from the beginning.

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7. My mentee/mentor has made an improper advance during a meeting.

This is a highly unprofessional act and should be reported to the Professional Standards Manager of their professional association, and to us at Business Mentors ,immediately. Mentees or mentors found to be acting unprofessionally will be ejected from Business Mentors.

To protect against false allegations, mentees and mentors should ensure meetings take place in suitable surroundings, where some privacy is ensured to facilitate privacy, but not in complete isolation from other people. Meetings should never take place in the mentee or mentor's home, although a place such as a pub may be ideal for some partnerships.

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