June, 2000

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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 entitled Mentoring: 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 is less-experienced.

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.

What Mentoring Is

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.

What 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.

Benefits 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.

Benefits 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.

The Mentoring Relationship

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 competence.

Mentoring Styles

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 models).


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 help.


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

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.

Multiple Mentoring

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.

Attributes, 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.

Attributes 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 protégés.

The Mentoring Contract

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.

Important Issues

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 factors.


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 damaging gossip.

Differences in Culture

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.

Terminating the Relationship

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 or free of charge from Calgary (403) 262-7714 and Edmonton 1-800-661-7020 or (780) 426-3990 offices.







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