Attributes of a
involved in a mentoring relationship is not effortless. Anyone considering
looking to improve their skills through the aid of a mentor should consider
Willingness to Learn
A successful protégé must have a desire and willingness
to learn from their chosen mentor. A mentoring relationship is interactive
and requires that you be committed to setting and working towards specific
Willingness and Ability to Self Evaluate
The protégé needs to be able to assess his/her relative
skills objectively and evaluate potential opportunities for self-development.
This self-evaluation is required for the protégé to identify
potential mentors and set objectives within the mentoring relationship.
people learn new ideas and concepts differently. For example, some people
learn through verbalization, others through reflection. Since mentoring
is a tool for learning, it is important to understand how you learn
so you can evaluate whether mentoring is an effective learning tool
Building a mentoring relationship takes time. A good protégé
recognizes that a mentor's time is valuable, and ensures that he/she
adequately prepares for each face-to-face meeting. It is recommended
that the protégé be prepared to commit a minimum of two
hours every other week for mentoring activities, including preparation
You must be committed to achieving the objectives of a mentoring relationship.
This will require commitment and persistence.
Much of the onus for initiating a mentoring relationship is, and should
be, on the protégé. A protégé needs to have
the self-confidence to approach potential mentors and effectively present
the merits of potential mentoring relationships.
mentor will expect, and the Association demands, that the details and
particulars you discuss with your mentor be kept in confidence. However,
any situation involving a risk to the public would override this expectation.
Assessing Whether You Need a Mentor
Much is demanded of the protégé in the mentoring relationship.
A protégé must realize that before approaching a potential
mentor, he/she must:
clearly defined skill requirements,
well defined goals and expectations for the mentoring relationship,
committed to working towards achieving the goals and expectations
with the mentor,
prepared to provide open, timely feedback to the mentor.
have completed a skills/competencies assessment and clearly identified
the skill/competency for which I require mentoring.
have discussed my mentoring need with my employer.
am committed to working towards establishing goals and timelines with
am committed to being available to my mentor for the time/frequency
agreed upon in the mentoring contract.
Finding/Approaching a Mentor
First and foremost: discuss your plans with your supervisor!
Mentoring is a tool that can be used to complement your career development
process. You should already have established a coaching relationship
with your direct supervisor. A mentor can help you develop skills and
competencies that your supervisor may not be expert in, or may not have
you own your continuous learning objectives and career development plan,
it is appropriate to share your mentoring needs with your supervisor.
He/she may be able to help you identify a potential mentor.
to consider when choosing a mentor
interested is your potential mentor in developing his/her mentoring
mush time does your potential mentor have available? Is the person
already involved in other mentoring relationships?
How similar is the potential mentor's personal style to your own?
Does the potential mentor have a similar professional or academic
background to yours? Has your potential mentor had a career path (or
even life path) that you would like to learn from?
a potential mentor
your potential mentor with a well-developed plan for the mentoring relationship.
The mentor needs to be able to assess if he/she will be able to help
you acquire the skills or competencies that you want to develop.
that your potential mentor may not feel he/she is an appropriate mentor
for you. He/she may already be involved in other mentoring relationships
and may not have the time to commit to another protégé.
What to look for in a mentor
roles or responsibilities
willing to share special projects and credit
in technical and professional societies (has a network of associates)
it is important not to go looking for someone exactly like yourself.
Try to learn new approaches and develop your creativity by seeking
out people with different learning, problem solving, and people management