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Mentoring Guide

Guide to the mentoring scheme

Back to Mentoring page

1. WHAT IS MENTORING AND E MENTORING?

The simplest definition of mentoring is:

“A one-to-one relationship in which a mentor offers ongoing support and development opportunities to a mentee”
The word mentor comes from Greek mythology when, in Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus goes to fight the Trojan War and leaves the care of his palace and son to Mentor.

The mentoring relationship can be a very powerful and positive experience. It can enable and develop a greater sense of confidence, enhancing the professional and personal skills of both the mentee and mentor. Even if you have not ever had a formal mentoring relationship you can probably think of people who have supported you in your career, taken an interest in your work and shared their experience with you. A mentoring relationship offers you a more formal opportunity to benefit from another person.

Nowadays a mentoring relationship can be developed electronically – an e-mentoring arrangement. This simply means that the mentor pairs do not need to have face-to-face meetings but communicate through e-mail and on the telephone. This negates any issues of geography and relaxes timing issues in the relationship.

2. WHAT ARE THE OBJECTIVES OF WOMEN IN LOGISTICS MENTORING SCHEME?

The scheme aims to:

  • Offer WIL members the opportunity to be involved in a mentoring relationship with another WIL member
  • Connect members with less experience in the sector with those with more experience
  • Enable the sharing of ideas, knowledge, skills and experience for the benefit of participating members
  • Identify senior role models within the sector
  • It also provides the opportunity for members to be involved in and experience a mentoring relationship which may not be available for them through their employment.

3. WHAT CAN MENTEES GET OUT OF A MENTORING RELATIONSHIP?

Each mentoring relationship will develop dependent upon the requirements of the mentee and these may include:

  • Career advice from a professional in the sector
  • Opportunities to develop and share ideas and thoughts on work issues
  • Access to a different perspective on work and the sector
  • An impartial ear to be a sounding board
  • Access to personal development guidance, including help with goal setting and action planning

4. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE MENTEE?

The role of the mentee is to become an active learner, working with the mentor on work and career development themes. A mentee may wish to:

  • Work on establishing high but achievable goals
  • Develop and implement realistic career development plans
  • Monitor progress over a set period of time
  • Develop a range of personal skills, such as motivation and reflection

5. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE MENTOR?

Mentors should be experienced managers in the sector who can provide support for the mentee. The role of the mentor can cover a wide range of roles, such as to:

  • Listen
  • Question
  • Provide and signpost information
  • Offer advice on career development
  • Offer different perspectives
  • Offer support and encouragement
  • Draw on own experience when appropriate
  • Confront and discuss current issues
  • Mentors should accept that mentees should set their own objectives for the relationship.

6. GETTING STARTED

To apply to join the WIL mentoring scheme you will need to complete two forms: initally the mentoring application form and, when your application has been accepted, the mentoring scheme survey. Please note the information about liability on these forms. You will then be, where possible, allocated a partner in the scheme to work with.

The best way to start your relationship is to spend a bit of time finding out about each other, for example by sharing CVs. You will then need to discuss your mentoring relationship and agree parameters such as:

  • How often you will communicate
  • How you will communicate
  • If you will have specified times of communication
  • If you will agree turn around times for reply
  • The importance of informing each other of ’absences’ or times when you will be unable to get in touch

7. THE MENTORING LIFECYCLE

Most mentoring relationships follow a lifecycle which has a sequence of phases as follows:

  • Initiation phase – building rapport and getting to know each other
  • Goal setting phase – setting goals and making plans on how these will be achieved
  • Developmental learning phase – working together towards achieving goals
  • Winding down phase – review of outcomes and evaluation of the process
  • Dissolving the mentoring relationship – ending the mentoring relationship, although a professional friendship may continue

8. AVOIDING PROBLEMS IN MENTORING RELATIONSHIPS

There are some key aspects of mentoring relationships which should be observed:

  • Confidentiality: both parties must work confidentially, not only of the mentor and mentee, but also of third parties unless specifically agreed otherwise
  • Emotions: take care to observe personal and professional boundaries
  • Unexplained absences: not getting in touch with each other for a number of weeks can spoil an e mentoring relationship
  • Over-dependence on the mentor: mentees should always take responsibility for themselves throughout the relationship

9. TWO POINTS TO REMEMBER

  • Firstly, a point of safety. This scheme is based on e-mentoring so there should be no requirement for face-to-face meetings. However, if you decide to meet up, then we advise you to meet in a public place and tell someone where you are going.
  • Secondly, a point of etiquette. Please remember that all WIL members are giving their time voluntarily to the scheme, so do not make unreasonable demands on the time or good nature of others.

10. FINALLY

We hope you have a positive e-mentoring experience! Please let us know how you get on so that we can continue to develop our scheme for the benefit of other members.

If you have any questions or queries regarding the scheme please contact Vanessa or Helen at mentor@womeninlogistics.org.uk