November 2001

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Those Receiving the Help Drive Mentoring Program

Editor's Note: Following is the the first of a series of APEGGA articles on mentoring, in light of a pilot program begun in Calgary.

The mentee, or the protégé as the recipient of mentoring is sometimes called, is often the younger person of lesser skill or experience in a mentoring pair. The mentee is also the reason for and the focus of our mentoring program. Mentoring is generally agreed to be a process that facilitates the personal, career and professional development of the mentee.

Mentoring is a process that connects a person, whether young or old, of lesser experience to a person of greater experience. It can cover the full range of APEGGA members, from students, to recent graduate, to immigrants, to more experienced people preparing for a role change. The APEGGA Mentoring Pilot Project will focus on the recent graduate and the young professional member. In the future, the program may be expanded to include university students and immigrants.

What will the mentee get from the mentoring program? The employer recognizes the value of the mentee and that personal development is important. The employer shows this by allocating time for the mentee and mentor to meet, and by providing the training resources required. The mentee also has the opportunity to discuss things of a sensitive or confidential nature with the trusted mentor. The mentor is also available to discuss some of the cultural issues that are often discovered in the transition into a new career.

There are skills required by both the mentor and the mentee to ensure a successful relationship. According to Dr. Linda Phillips Jones, from the mentee's perspective, you must:

1) listen well in order to demonstrate to your mentors that their concerns have been heard and understood
2) have a personal vision, specific career/life goals and a good grasp of current reality
3) be able to build the trust of the mentors in order to build the commitment of the mentors
4) encourage the mentors with recognition and positive feedback

In addition the mentee must possess some additional skills. You must:

5) learn quickly
6) show initiative
7) follow through on tasks and commitments
8) manage the relationship

There are several dos and don'ts that provide the framework within which the relationship will work. Here are some dos:

· Take time to identify your goals
· Be considerate of your mentor's time
· Listen attentively to all your mentors have to say
· Be complete and succinct in your comments and explanations
· Seriously consider all advice you receive
· Show evidence that you have used the help
· Show appreciation for every form of assistance given
· Make it easy for your mentor to give you corrective feedback
· Assume the relationships will be strictly professional
· Make only positive or neutral comments about your mentors to others
· Be prepared to move out of the relationship at the end of 12 months
· Keep the doors open to return to your mentors for advice
· Keep in touch

If you possess most of these skills and are prepared to do what is required you can be more assured that mentoring will have a positive influence on your career and life. APEGGA is building a mentoring support system that encompasses these principals. In the next addition of the PEGG we'll provide you with a check list of activities you can complete as you work with your mentor. Subsequent issues will provide some pointers for the mentors.

The APEGGA Mentoring Program, or AMP, is being developed in Calgary. If there is corporate support, it will be continued and in about 12 months, it will be available throughout Alberta. Phone Len Shrimpton, P.Eng. in the APEGGA office in Edmonton at 1-800-661-7020 or (780) 426-3990 for information about your company's participation in the program.

APEGGA has hired a consultant to help in the development of the mentoring program. Dr. Judith Lentin is available to make presentations to your company about the APEGGA Mentoring Program. She is available at (403) 264-0173 or by e-mail at

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