Step 1: Do a little self-reflection
“Knowing what you want out of mentoring is critical to getting what you want”
Think about your motivation for the mentoring process. If you are clear yourself about what you want to achieve from it, this will make it easier for your mentor to be effective in their role. Reflect on any past experiences of mentoring you may have had – either as a mentor or a mentee. You will bring valuable learning from this to any new mentoring relationship.
Think about the kind of mentor you would like to have. Are you looking for someone to challenge you, test your assumptions, take on the role of a critical friend? Or would you prefer a mentor who will work with you to help you pinpoint strengths and weaknesses and assist you in clarifying what you want to achieve and why?
Start to consider areas such as trust, confidentiality and boundaries, as these are all intrinsic to the mentoring relationship. What are the skills you will need in this relationship? Are you prepared to be the one doing most of the talking, especially at the beginning?
Step 2: Attend training
Your mentee training will provide clarity on what you can expect from mentoring and will give you valuable resources for getting your relationship off to the best possible start. You can book your mentee training session here.
Step 3: Choose a mentor
When you are thinking about who to approach to be your mentor, return to the original question of your motivation for this process. Once you have worked out what you would like to achieve, this will make it easier for you to pinpoint who can possibly help you achieve it. A list of those mentors who have already been trained for the role can be viewed below, but we encourage you to reach out and approach someone who you feel may be a good fit, even though they may be new to mentoring. This ensures that the wider UCD community gains more trained mentors over time.
Choosing a mentor – some tips:
- Look beyond any line management or reporting relationships – mentoring is often described as ‘offline’ help.
- Look outside of your own School or Unit. This helps to ensure that the relationship keeps its developmental focus and avoids any potential conflict of interest or lack of objectivity on behalf of the mentor. It also gives you an opportunity to broaden your network and embrace new ideas and approaches.
- Consider who you admire; who has had the type of career progression you would like for yourself; someone who has successes or qualities that you respect. Ask for advice from people in your areas, discuss it with your manager and/or Head of School or Unit.
- Try not to choose someone who is too much like you.
Step 4: Arrange a ‘temperature check’ meeting
You may wish to suggest a meeting with your prospective mentor where you can chat about your motivation for seeking a mentor and your expectations for the process. If your mentor hasn’t attended training, this will be a good time to let them know about upcoming sessions available to them.
Step 5: Work with your mentor to establish a mentoring agreement
Once you have both been trained, the mentoring partnership can begin. The first important step is to draft a mentoring agreement together. You’ll be given lots of guidance on how to approach this at your training session.