mentoring program is, what is is not...
and Functions of an Effective Mentor...
The Mentoring Contract
trusting nature of a good mentoring relationship brings with it a number
of important issues. Simply being aware of these issues is often sufficient
to ensure that they do not evolve into problems. Some of the most common
mentor - protégé issues are summarized here.
mentoring relationship promotes trust and open, honest, meaningful communication.
The danger is that this relationship may be interpreted as a more intimate
one by either of the participants or an outside observer. This can lead
to spousal jealousy, office gossip or hurt feelings. It is important
to be aware of these possible pitfalls and guard against them.
relationships between men and women can be subject to some unique complications.
Men tend to value hierarchical relationships, where as women tend to
emphasize co-operative efforts. Men and women often communicate with
different speech patterns that can be an impediment to mentor - protégé
communication. Either of the participants may be unsure of what is appropriate
behaviour with the opposite sex, and there is always the possibility
of office gossip. All of these issues are manageable if addressed early
in the mentoring relationship.
Differences in Culture
While this often refers to differences in personal culture, it can also
be applied to differences in professional or corporate culture. The
mentor and protégé must both be aware of these differences
and respect them. Differences in corporate culture are especially important
when the mentor and protégé do not work for the same employer.
In that situation, the mentor must be sure to take into account those
differences when dispensing advice.
In order for a mentoring relationship to succeed, it must be completely
confidential. This is especially important when the participants work
for different organizations. Any information that either the mentor
or protégé receives about the other organization must
be kept confidential, and not relayed to their co-workers or exploited
for personal gain. Before a cross-organizational mentoring relationship
is established, both participants should fully disclose their intentions
to their respective employers. It is important to remember that a mentoring
relationship does not exist for technical reasons. Its purpose is to
aid the protégé in developing other soft skills such as
communication skills, management skills and an understanding of the
societal impact of practicing the professions. Any technical content
should be at the most, a very minor component of the relationship.
When a mentoring relationship exists in the same organization or same
department of a larger organization, the potential for favoritism exists.
For this reason, mentoring relationships inside the same organizational
unit are not recommended. If a mentoring relationship is established
inside the same organizational unit, the mentor must guard against inequity.
This inequity could either favour or disfavour their protégé.
of a mentoring relationship is for the mentor to facilitate the protégé's
development by means of the mentor's greater experience. It is not for
the mentor to mold their protégé into a duplicate of themselves. Each
protégé must be allowed to develop in his/her own way. A mentor can
make suggestions on what might best be accomplished but the final decision
must be left to the protégé.
issue needs to be discussed early in a mentoring relationship. How will
the participants know when the relationship has reached its conclusion
and should be ended? How will the relationship be ended? Clear, early
definition of this issue will ensure that there are no guilty or hurt
feelings on either part when the relationship does end.