APEGGA Brings in
New Mentorship Guideline
The second in a series of three articles on the M.I.T. Program.
In March 2000, APEGGA released an important new guideline on mentorship
A Guideline for Members-in-Training and Professional Members. The
rationale for this guideline is to provide M.I.T.s and professional members
with introductory information about the purpose and practice of mentoring.
The Association recognizes the benefit of mentoring to society, and how
it enables the transfer of knowledge, succession management and continued
learning and development for those involved. All members of the Association
are encouraged to be actively involved in mentoring activities, either
as mentors or protégés. Interested members are encouraged
to review a wide range of sources on mentorship, and not to rely on the
guideline as their only source of information. Several excellent books,
periodicals and websites are referenced in the back of the guideline.
As well, the Association has created an accompanying Mentoring Seminar,
which will be available in both Calgary and Edmonton in Fall 2000. Look
for further details in the July issue of The PEGG.
Mentoring has a long and reputable history beginning with the trade and
craft guilds of ancient Greece, through to the apprenticeship systems
of the Middle Ages and finally to the less-structured approaches of modern
industry. Essentially, the purpose of mentoring has always been to facilitate
the transfer of knowledge from a more experienced individual to one who
Today, the aims of mentorship can include: assisting recent graduates
in the transition from school to work; orienting new hires to corporate
culture; assisting the protégé in the development of communication
skills, management skills and understanding the societal implication of
practicing the professions; and managing succession in industry, business
and technical societies. However, the protégé is not the
only one to benefit from a mentoring relationship. Mentorship also provides
a number of benefits to the mentor including revitalizing the mentor's
career; exposing the mentor to new ideas; and helping the mentor to develop
coaching, evaluating and leadership skills.
Mentoring is a means of providing career guidance to a junior or less
experienced member of the Association, such as an M.I.T. It provides a
learning opportunity for both the mentor and the protégé.
Mentoring is also an excellent way of establishing a relationship between
an M.I.T. and a referee (the mentor) who can later support the M.I.T.'s
application for professional status.
Mentoring Is Not
Mentoring is not a supplement or replacement for the APEGGA Board of Examiners.
It should not be viewed as a fast track or used as a crutch. Mentoring
relationships should not be used as an alternative to developing an effective
professional relationship with one's supervisor. It cannot entirely replace
formal learning tools or sound technical training, and should not be used
as a platform for formal performance evaluations.
of Mentoring to the Protégé
The benefits of mentoring to the protégé include: increased
confidence, improved interview skills, effective work styles, efficiency
in making the most of the time available, motivation, opportunities to
practice new skills, safe feedback and low-risk reviews, networking, and
access to new information.
of Mentoring to the Mentor
The benefits of mentoring to the mentor include: enhanced career profile,
increased pride and satisfaction, access to valuable information and cutting
edge ideas, increased competency and confidence, enhanced challenges,
developing management, coaching and feedback skills, and keeping connected
with lower levels of the organization.
A positive and effective mentoring relationship is similar to any valued
human relationship. Both partners enter the mentoring relationship with
a desire to develop a defined skill or competency. There must be respect
for the values and expectation of the other person. Mentoring relationships
are evolutionary, meaning that they change as the protégé
and mentor acquire new knowledge, skills and standards of professional
There are several different forms of mentoring. Today, the most popular
forms of mentoring include casual, informal, non-facilitated, facilitated,
group and multiple mentoring styles.
Casual mentoring refers to a situation where a person uses another as
a role model or example in order to learn a new behaviour or skill. The
person acting as the role model may be unaware their actions and behaviours
are being emulated (as is the case when people use celebrities as role
Informal mentoring grows out of chance connections between individuals.
The relationship may proceed from professional to personal (i.e. lasting
friendship). While valuable, this type of mentoring lacks clearly defined
goals and objectives.
Non-facilitated mentoring relationships have formalized structure, such
as a mentoring contract, but they do not include coordinated assignment
of the mentor/protégé pairs. The individuals make the connection
on their own, but are assisted by guidelines, seminars and other supporting
materials. Although APEGGA's program is largely non-facilitated, M.I.T.s
who are in need of a mentor may contact their local APEGGA branch for
Facilitated mentoring involves an autonomous third party assigning individuals
into mentor/protégé pairs based on skills, needs or other
criteria. Some large corporations use facilitated mentoring programs as
part of new employee orientation practices, or as a succession management
strategy. Drawbacks to this type of mentoring include lack of choice and
problems due to inflexibility.
Group mentoring occurs when several mentors serve together as a resource
for a defined group of protégés. The protégés
may also serve to mentor each other. Everyone involved benefits from the
networking opportunities and the group can continue to meet and progress
in the absence of one or two individuals.
A protégé may wish to consider having a number of mentors,
in order to learn different skills. However, the relationship must benefit
both parties and the protégé must be certain to offer each
mentor something in return.
Skill and Functions of an Effective Mentor
Not everyone is suited to the role of mentor, and anyone considering offering
such support should carefully consider several issues. A successful mentor
must be interested and willing to help a protégé. (S)he
must have adequate time available for meeting and advising the protégé.
(S)he must be accessible and able to respond to the protégé's
requests in a timely manner, by providing balanced, objective advice.
A successful mentor must be willing to learn, be modest, patient, sensitive
to cultural and gender differences and able to maintain strict confidentiality.
A detailed checklist of desirable mentor attributes appears in the guideline
and can be used by potential mentors to assess their suitability for the
role and by protégés to assess potential mentors.
of a Receptive Protégé
Being involved in a mentoring relationship is not effortless. Anyone wanting
to improve one's skills through the aid of a mentor should consider several
issues. A successful protégé must be willing to learn. (S)he
must be able to objectively assess his/her skills and areas requiring
improvement. Good protégés appreciate that a mentor's time
is valuable and ensures that he/she is adequately prepared for all meetings.
As well, a successful protégé must be self-confident as
much of the onus for initiating the relationship rests with the protégé.
A detailed checklist of desirable protégé attributes appears
in the guideline and can be used by potential protégés to
assess their suitability for the role and by mentors to assess potential
A mentoring contract helps to provide both parties with a clear understanding
of their goals and objectives. It should include both long-term and short-term
action items such at dates and times of meetings, resources required,
skills to be achieved, evaluation techniques, communication methods (i.e.
via phone or in-person meetings), and level of confidentiality expected.
The contract should also clearly outline "off ramp" provisions
for how the relationship will be brought to a close should either party
feel that it is not successful. A sample contract appears in Appendix
3 of the guideline.
Being aware of the following issues may ensure a more productive mentoring
relationship. Be sure to discuss them early in the relationship and agree
upon how to handle any problems that may arise as a result of the following
A good mentoring relationship promotes trust and open, honest, meaningful
communication. The danger is that the relationship may be interpreted
as more intimate by either participant or outside observers. It is important
to be aware of possible pitfalls in this area and guard against them.
Mentoring relationships between men and women can be subject to unique
complications. Understanding gender differences and their effects on communication,
leadership, and behavioural styles can help smooth out any potential difficulties.
Maintaining appropriate professional behaviour will prevent potentially
There are many differences in personal, professional and corporate culture
that must be considered and respected. Differences in corporate culture
are especially important if the mentor and protégé work
for different employers. The mentor must carefully consider such differences
prior to dispensing advice to the protégé.
In order for a mentoring relationship to succeed, information shared between
the participants must be kept completely confidential. This is especially
important when the participants work for different organizations. In such
circumstances, participants should advise and seek guidance from their
employer prior to entering into inter-organizational mentoring relationships.
When a mentoring relationship exists in the same organization or department,
the potential for favouritism exists. For this reason, mentoring relationships
inside the same organizational unit are not recommended.
The purpose of mentoring is to develop the skills and confidence of the
protégé. The mentor must respect individual differences
and not attempt to create a carbon copy of himself or herself.
This important issue should be discussed early in the relationship. Participants
must define how and when the relationship will be terminated to avoid
misunderstandings or hurt feelings.
The preceding constitutes a summary of the new mentoring guideline. However,
you should consult the guideline for further details and clarification.
The guideline is available on APEGGA website at www.apegga.org
or free of charge from Calgary (403) 262-7714 and Edmonton 1-800-661-7020
or (780) 426-3990 offices.