<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> APEGGA Mentoring Handbook




The mentors in any organization are those who can help integrate others into the organization. This usually means that the mentors have experience and are willing and able to spend time and effort to develop talent in others. As a part of their mission, mentors give advice, but it is not the role of the handbook to tell you how to give advice. What is important is how the mentor can act as a catalyst with the protégé.

The purpose of this section is to distinguish and dramatize the skills of the mentors – the probes, the challenges, the inquiries and the provocative questions that will inspire thought, stimulate reflection, tap discovery and generate new aptitudes in a protégé.


A mentor is any individual who provides less experienced people with support, counsel, friendship, reinforcement, and constructive example. Mentors are good listeners, people who care, people who want to help others bring out the strengths that are already there.

As a mentor, you can help aspiring young professionals find their way in the world they live in. Being a mentor provides an opportunity to give back through a form of community service within APEGGA.


“There are two ways of exerting one’s strengths. One is pushing down,
the other is pulling up.”

Booker T. Washington (1856 –1915) Up from Slavery.

The reason most given by individuals who become mentors is that they wish to give something back to their community. Another common reason is that mentors feel that they are contributing to the future of our society. Mentoring less experienced persons provides them with many benefits from improved work habits to enhanced self-image. Research shows that Mentoring really helps both parties.

Mentoring provides significant benefits to the mentor as well. Experienced mentors report that they actually feel that they get more out of the relationship than they give. While the benefits of mentoring are as diverse as the people who mentor, here are some of the themes heard from mentors. As a mentor you will be:

  • Making a difference in someone’s life
  • Learning about yourself
  • Giving back
  • Having fun

Few bonds in life are more influential than those between mentors and protégés. Mentors provide support, counsel, friendship, reinforcement, and constructive example. As a mentor you may help your protégé:

  • Plan a first project
  • Explore topics of mutual interest
  • Set some career goals and take steps to reach them
  • Learn more about your community and how to help others by volunteering
  • Strengthen communication skills and ability to relate well to all kinds of people
  • Make healthy choices about day-to-day life

“Hide not your talents, they for use were made, what’s a sun-dial in the shade!”
Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) Poor Richards Almanack.


You don’t have to be brilliant or particularly successful to be a good mentor. If you want to be a good mentor, take the time to learn about your role and you will be successful. Some of the qualities of great mentors include:

  • Having a sincere desire to be involved with a less experienced person
  • Respect for the less experienced person. Mentors should not have preconceived ideas that the less experienced person needs to be rescued, because APEGGA protégés are professionals as well
  • An ability to listen actively – it is relatively easy to give advice or express opinions. It is much harder to suspend your own judgments and really listen
  • Empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand at a very deep level what the other person is going through – even without having had the same experience
  • Seeing solutions and opportunities. Good mentors balance a realistic respect for the real and serious problems faced by their protégés. They are able to make sense of a seeming jumble of issues and point out sensible alternatives
  • Flexibility and openness. Good mentors recognize relationships take time to develop and that communication is a two way street. They are willing to take time to get to know their protégés


You may be wondering what role you should play as a mentor. Defining roles can be challenging, so start with something with which you are familiar. In discussing roles, you may start by discussing something you are both familiar with, for example, a supervisor. Most of us have had a supervisor – a boss – at some time in our lives. First think about the job of a supervisor.

What are the hats a supervisor must wear in his relationship to his/her employees? A supervisor may be:

  • Delegator
  • Role model
  • Cheerleader
  • Coach
  • Enforcer of Policy
  • Spokesperson to senior management
  • Liaison between staff and organization
  • The person directly responsible for future promotion

Comparing this to a Mentor

Social Worker
Cool Peer
A banking machine
Parole officer
Role Model


When asked, most protégés say they want the mentor to help in three areas: advice, access and advocacy. Be sure to ask your protégé what he wants from you. Early in the relationship the protégé may not have a good answer to the question. Try again after several meetings to see if he has developed an answer. By the same token, it is important for the mentor to realize what he wants from the protégé. Remember every good mentor is a good listener.

“It is with advice as with taxation: we can endure very little of either, if they come
to us in a very direct way.”
Sir Arthur Helps (1817 – 1875)


• Appreciate any signs of growth
• Listen carefully to what your protégé says
• Ask good questions
• Share your thoughts and feelings
• Always be on time
• Try your best to be a good role model
• Learn any special rules that are part of your program
• Show that you recognize the protégé’s values and lifestyle
• Strive for mutual respect
• Be honest

• Think you are going to change the world over night
• Jump to conclusions
• Be judgmental
• Forget that communicating means listening too
• Forget how important you are to your protégé
• Talk about things that are off limits
• Try to be a parent
• Try to inflict your beliefs and values rather than demonstrating them
• Use rudeness or foul language
• Be insincere



Before proceeding with any mentoring relationship, you should consider the following points. It is appropriate to visit this list during your mentoring relationship to review your commitment.

I am committed to drawing on my own experience (successes and failures), and learning to provide insights that I believe could assist the protégé.
I am committed to improving upon my skills as a mentor.
I am committed to being available to my protégé for the time/frequency agreed upon in the mentoring plan.
I am open to learning and receiving feedback from my protégé.
I am interested in learning from someone whose background and experiences are different from my own.
  If you have concluded that you have skills and abilities that may be useful if you passed them on to a younger person and have checked off all of the above boxes, it is time for you to become a mentor.

There are several ways in which you can get involved in a mentoring relationship. APEGGA has developed a mentoring program which will be valuable for Members in Training (MIT’s) and other members who want to enhance their soft skills in the business world. Consult the APEGGA web site to determine if there is a role for you. Alternatively, if there is a young person you know, either in your own company, or perhaps the child of a friend or a member of your own family who you feel could benefit from your experience, suggest a mentoring relationship with them. Be certain to explain that the nature of the relationship requires a lot of work by the protégé. The next section will provide you with a step-by-step process for starting your relationship.


The previous sections describe what mentors are, the purpose of mentoring, and the kinds of skills that are necessary for you to develop as a mentor. This section will take you through the mentoring process itself. The APEGGA Mentoring Program emphasizes the need for the protégé to be in charge of the process. However, there are times when the mentor can take the lead if no potential protégé has approached him/her about acting as a mentor. Even though the protégé is to be responsible for scheduling of the relationship, the mentor has a major role in preparing for meetings. It is important to remember that as a mentor you should not work harder on the relationship than the protégé does.

“Let no man say that he is a follower of Gandhi. It is enough that I should be my own follower. I know what an inadequate follower I am myself, for I cannot live up to the convictions I stand for. You are no followers but fellow students, fellow pilgrims, fellow seekers and fellow workers.”
Mohandas K Gandhi (1869 –1948)

WORKSHEET: Mentor’s Personal Evaluation


During the important first meeting there are many things that can be discussed if the meeting is planned properly. If not, you may find yourself in the uncomfortable position of being unable to control the discussion and have the meeting fail to meet your objectives and those of your protégé. Remember the protégé should lead the meeting, but if he is unable to do so, you need to be ready to help. Here are some questions you may ask yourself in preparation for the important first meeting:

  • What career experiences have helped me most in my own professional development?
  • What were the most important lessons learned from those experiences?
  • What “truths” would I want to pass on from those lessons?
  • If I were to contribute one quotation to my own book about succeeding in my profession, what would that quote be?
  • What have mentors done for me and for my development? What kinds of mentoring experiences have been most helpful to me?
  • If I were able, what would I change about any of the mentors I have had?
  • How relevant do I believe my experiences and professional learning will be to the development of my protégé?
  • As a mentor, how would I like to be remembered?
  • What can I offer someone I mentor?
  • What are my major strengths and talents?
  • How much time, effort and enthusiasm can I realistically devote to working with someone like this?
  • What do I think my protégé should contribute to the effort?

Getting To Know Each Other – There are many topics of conversation that can lead to a comfortable environment. Good mentors always listen more than they talk. Some topics might include

  • What are the most important things you should be accomplishing on your job?
  • Do you feel successful at your job at this time? If not, what is preventing you from succeeding?
  • What do you like best about your job?
  • If you could add variety, autonomy, and importance to your job, what would you do?
  • What are your career goals?
  • What have been the most significant learning experiences in your career?
  • Do you feel you would benefit from any particular type of training?
  • What do you think most hinders your success?
  • How do you learn best?
  • What knowledge, skills and abilities do you feel I possess that would most benefit you?
  • What kinds of special learning or improvement opportunities do you feel I should provide or help you get?
  • What do you want to know from me?
  • What do you want most from me?
  • What information do you have for me on how I can best help you or better understand what you need?
  • What do you think we need to do to make this mentorship work?
  • What do you need right now – today?
  • What is the best way to give you feedback?
  • What scares you?
  • What makes you want to learn more?
  • What talent do you feel you lack?
  • What is the toughest stretch for you?
  • What is your most satisfying success?

Mentors should leaf through the protégé’s section of this handbook to get an overview of their expectations. Many of the exercises for mentors are repeated in the protégé section; however, there are a number of exercises that you should know about. The guidelines for setting a personal vision and for determining objectives will be valuable to you. The Protégé’s Checklist of Tasks will give you an overview of the process they will embark upon and will give you a good idea of what to expect.

Although the protégé is expected to lead the mentoring process, if they fail to do so, it is important for the mentor to step in and provide guidance. As the protégé becomes stronger, the mentor can step back and let the protégé lead.

WORKSHEET: Planning the First Meeting


The “10-60-90” principal instructs people so they will learn and grow to their greatest potential in the least amount of time. When you tell an adult how to do something, 10 per cent of what you say will be remembered. If you show an adult how to do something, 60 per cent of what you show will be remembered. If you do something with that same person, 90 per cent or more will be remembered. There are three steps to make this statement extremely effective as a mentoring tool. Firstly, make your protégé successful; secondly, show him the success, and, thirdly, make sure he understands why he is successful.


One of the important roles of a mentor is to introduce the protégé to other individuals who may be able to help develop his skills and meet his goals. In choosing who is a likely candidate for an introduction, it is important to assess your own strengths and weaknesses and choose a person who has specific skills that will enhance yours. The purpose is not to lighten your load as a mentor, but to broaden the knowledge base available to your protégé.

Opening your Rolodex to your protégé is not advisable until your relationship has developed and you know your protégé well. It is wise to maintain your relationship on a professional basis without visits to your home – unless there is a particular skill your protégé might gain from the experience. Business lunches, on the other hand, are an excellent way to provide casual exposure to your peers for your protégé.

Enjoy your role as a mentor and guide for your protégé.

“The basic rules of mountaineering are: push yourself all the way to the limit and then leave a margin for safety. There is a kind of mixture of boldness and prudence in that. It breeds self-discipline. And the next rule is: No whining.”
John Muir, Mountaineer

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Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta. All rights reserved