mentor Starter pack Dr Kay Guccione

This is a professional development resource to support mentors who have just completed their introductory mentor training, to put their new skills into practice. It assumes a shared understanding of mentoring as a specialist educational practice which involves more that the passing of advice from mentor to mentee. If you were hoping to find out how to choose and recruit a mentor, please see this resource.

Your reactions, reflections, cascading of the ideas shared here, is encouraged and please tag me on Twitter @kayguccione #MentorMode

1. building solid foundations

Below, find two short articles, and three videos that reiterate your orientation to mentoring practice.

2. setting clear expectations

Using a mentoring ‘agreement' or ‘contract’ is an essential professional and ethical competency. Don't be inclined to leave important details like the purpose of the mentoring partnership, the aims, and what will and won't be delivered, to chance or assumption. Failure to set out an agreement before starting the process, is a common cause of dissatisfaction in a mentoring partnership a major cause of disengagement from mentoring. Use the Mentoring Agreement:

  • to outline clearly the purpose of the relationship, and where any professional boundaries lay;
  • to specify what you as a mentor can offer;
  • to state explicitly what you and the mentee should expect of each other in terms of time and effort; and
  • to agree the focus the mentoring sessions will take.

3. feedback is key

Collaborate with your mentees to understand what works, and develop your understanding of the impact of your mentoring style and approach. Feedback from your mentee, requested in the spirit of learning, and reflected on with an open mind, is a core way of enhancing your practice.

Try using or adapting the following questions and think deeply about the answers you receive:

  • Their key learning from the mentoring session, and why you feel it added value.
  • What they have put into practice since meeting and how it went.
  • What they would like to focus on in the next mentoring session and anything they would like to move away from.

4. regular practice development

Keeping up your good standing as a mentor, adding new tools and ideas to your repertoire, and making sure your methods are still relevant is essential good practice. Once you have done some mentoring, reflect on these short video resources, that take a look at some of the commonly experienced tensions and challenges mentors face in supporting and developing their mentees. They offer ideas that you can try out in practice.

5. Practice Supervision and peer learning

'Supervision' is a conversation with an experienced other, that serves the dual purpose of professional learning, and debriefing to ensure mentor wellbeing. It supports you as the developing mentor to understand what you are doing well and what you might seek to understand more about. Supervision also enables you to explore your position and power and it provides space to talk through any ethical dilemmas and boundaries, to reorientate after an emotionally demanding experience.

Whilst professional supervision services are available to invest in, a mentor-to-mentor peer conversation, or small group supervision can provide a really enriching experience too. Why not bring two or three colleagues together for a conversation about the challenges you have seen in your mentoring work?

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Created By
Kay Guccione


Created with images by Jungwoo Hong - "Upwards arrows" • Cristian Newman - "untitled image" • Clark Tibbs - "Do Something Great"