Module IV: What does it mean to be a Mentor in a mentoring process? – Roles and tasks

Being a Mentor means that you have a strong desire to help your Mentee(s) to make positive changes in their lives by giving constructive feedback. A Mentor helps them to make development plans, asks the right questions and shows different alternatives to solve the problem. By asking the Mentees what they wish to develop during the mentoring process and how to make it happen, the Mentor helps his/her Mentees to find answers by themselves. The Mentor gently evaluates the decisions made by the Mentees, helps to avoid beginner’s mistakes and helps them to build or increase self-confidence. The Mentor stimulates professional behaviour, teaches by examples and helps in career growth. The Mentor relays professional and experienced advice and stimulates the Mentees to reach determined goals.

The main areas where a Mentor should be active/supportive: A Mentor is a discussion partner. He/she is a good listener and adviser having excellent interactional skills and enough time and energy to devote. The Mentor is a good and reliable role model. Having great communication skills, he/she perceives the Mentee a partner in discussions. The Mentor has ability to pass on needed information, he/she is a constructor of bridges who shares networks and opens doors. The Mentor is also an inspirer who encourages and supports the self-esteem of the Mentees.

A good Mentor should be able to be self-critical and self-reflecting and reliable in complying with the obligations. He/she is able to receive and provide feedback, is interested in further self-development and is looking for new possibilities for learning and professional discussions. The Mentor reviews current trends in management of individuals and teams and is also flexible, creative in using a wide range of tools and identifying the needs of others.

A Mentor benefits from the mentoring process – A Mentor acquires an increased awareness of the issues the representatives of target groups are facing. He/she has a chance to help the Mentees to succeed. By being a Mentor, he/she receives also positive publicity and image and new contacts. Very often, the Mentor’s self-awareness increases and there is a possibility for his/her own personal growth, he/she will get new ideas and learn methods as well.

Relationship between Mentor and Mentee(s)

The relationship between the Mentor and the Mentee(s) during the mentoring process is based on mutual inspiration and learning from each other. Mentoring is voluntary but it has its rules which are e.g. mutual respect of time and duties of each other and a proactive attitude where the Mentor challenges and supports and the Mentee(s) address their areas of development. Mentoring is never one-sided or defined by superiority and subordination. It is also very important that both the Mentor and the Mentee respect the mentoring process and that the relationship will be not misused in any way.

Blended mentoring on employment-related issues can last 6–12 months. During that period, the Mentor will meet the Mentees according to a schedule agreed on in advance.

The starting and ending dates of the mentoring process are defined before the project starts by the Manager of the project. However, all the dates and times of synchronous regular mentoring sessions are agreed in advance by the Mentor and his/her Mentee(s). In that way, the mentoring process will most presumably be effective from start to end.

The basic idea of mentoring is that the Mentee(s) develop the goals they/he/she wish to achieve. Each mentoring relationship (pair or group mentoring) is a different kind and this is why the Mentor has a considerable role while structuring the mentoring process. Especially at the beginning of mentoring, the Mentees are usually very eager to hear and learn the instructions concerning the process.

It is recommended that the Mentor makes clear rules e.g. concerning the interaction between him/her and the Mentee(s) during e-Mentoring sessions. The Mentor encourages the Mentee(s) to take responsibility for their own actions/goals and reminds them that the role of the Mentor is to support, guide, encourage, ask questions and open networks. It is also important that the Mentor highlights the importance of the Mentee having to attend each e-Mentoring session.


Role of Mentor in setting Mentees’ goals

During the first mentoring meetings, the Mentees will set their goals. For group mentoring, the Mentees first set their individual goals for the mentoring process and fill them in a special form on the e-platform or in their folders. This depends on the form of mentoring selected. The Mentees also formulate the objectives – small steps needed to be done in order to reach the aim. Then, the group will set a common goal they all wish to achieve as a group, formulate the objectives and fill the goal in a special form which will be placed on the e-Learning platform or in their folders.

Being a Mentor, you facilitate the process of setting goals and ask your Mentees what they would like to achieve during the mentoring process and by what date. A well-formed goal is positive and precise. A few examples of well-formed goals could be: “I want to get employed by company X by__ (exact date)” or “I’ll have my own consultation business running successfully in the city centre by__ (exact date)”. Keep in mind that the goals have to be completely formulated by the Mentee, not by the Mentor.

In mentoring on employment-related issues, the Mentor can use the developed learning tools - Open Educational Resources (OERs) on employability and entrepreneurship (see modules VII and VIII for more information, or OERs on employability and OERs on entrepreneurship in website The aims and objectives defined in these OERs could be used to facilitate the process of setting the Mentee’s goals. The goals can be connected to six defined themes on employability (if the Mentee is seeking employment) and three defined themes on entrepreneurship (if the Mentee is aiming at establishing his/her own business and/or being self-employed).

The themes on employability, which can be reflected in the Mentee’s goals for mentoring on employment-related issues, are the following:

  • Self-evaluation for my willingness/motivation to work
  • Job suitable for me
  • Active job seeking skills
  • Successful job interview
  • Successful adaptation in a new work place
  • Career and professional development

Thus, in case the Mentee is looking for employment within a company, the Mentor can facilitate the process of setting up the goals by providing the choice to develop the Mentee’s goals in accordance with the aims and learning results of the above themes (If the Mentee wishes to start his/her own business, the Mentor can suggest tying his/her goals with the aims of the following supporting themes on entrepreneurship):

  • Understanding entrepreneurship;
  • Entry strategies and new business opportunities;
  • Skills and competencies for starting-up a business.

In accordance with the themes described above we suggest the mentor to facilitate the process of personal goals establishment by using the developed special managing tool for setting the personal goals and objectives of the mentees: “Personal goals and objectives”. This managing tool could be found here. Using this tool a mentee can choose all the goals and objectives he/she would like to reach and also there is the possibility to add some additional goals and objectives too.

After having set the individual goals, the mentor should facilitate the common group goals setting. It is recommended for the mentor to pay attention to all the personal goals of the mentees and to facilitate the discussion within the group. The aim of this discussion is to include as many goals as possible into the list of group goals prepared using the special form  “Group goals and objectives” and following the method of filling in the personal goals. However, it is suggested to encourage the group to limit the number of the common goals up to 4-5. It is also important to emphasize the possibility to update the goals and objectives during the mentoring process. 

The mentor will be responsible for uploading the goals set by the mentees on the e-platform.


Communication types, rules and ethics

On the e-Mentoring platform, the communication between the Mentor and the Mentees can be either synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous communication is used during the regular meetings which the Mentor and the Mentee(s) agree on in advance. During such meetings, the common chat and forums or e.g. Skype is used for communication between the Mentor and the Mentee(s). Between regular meetings, the Mentor and the Mentee(s) can use the tools of asynchronous communication (forums, e-mail etc).

It is very important for the Mentor to agree with his/her group of Mentees on the rules of communication in order to help the group to work smoothly together in seeking individual and group goals. If individual mentoring is selected, the Mentor shall also agree on communication rules with his/her Mentee. The rules of communication are the rules of ethics which will be agreed on in the first mentoring meeting and which will be complied with during the whole mentoring process. It is suggested that the Mentor will facilitate the creation of the “Code of Ethics” during the first mentoring meeting. You can ask the Mentee(s) to discuss the issues which can be added to this code and coordinate in drafting the “Code of Ethics”. For instance, the following key issues can be discussed and included:

  • respect the time of all group members;
  • keep all the information received confidential during and after the mentoring process;
  • respect the opinions of others;
  • think before saying/writing something;
  • be honest;
  • be open;
  • attend all regular meetings as established in the mentoring schedule;
  • if a Mentee is not able to attend a regular meeting, he/she is responsible for informing others (e.g. Manager, Mentor) and for finding a solution how he/she can follow the mentoring process;
  • if the Mentor is not able to attend a regular meeting, he/she has to inform all Mentees in advance, at least two days before, and find some other time suitable for the whole team for the next regular meeting.

Mentor  shall facilitate the discussions on various topics related to the goals the Mentee(s) wish to achieve. The Mentor ensures the structure of the learning session and ensures also that each Mentee has an equal opportunity to speak or chat. The Mentor can also encourage the Mentee(s) to co-facilitate some of the e-Mentoring sessions. The Mentor has to organise the process that each Mentee in turn/on rotation basis will write a brief report (“Diary for blended Mentoring on employment related issues”) of the regular e-Mentoring sessions to be placed on the e-Learning platform of the e-Mentoring project or some other place agreed on in advance. The Mentor should also make a short overall comment in the diary after each regular meeting (face-to-face or on-line).

Confidentiality in e-Mentoring process

The 3M-Actors (Manager, Mentor and Mentees) attending the e-Mentoring process will sign a Contract where it will be agreed on that all the information between the actors of the process is confidential. The example of the “Contract of blended mentoring on employment related issues” can be downloaded here. Any information received during the mentoring process remains between the Mentor, the Mentees and the Manager. The confidentiality also continues after the mentoring process. The Mentor is not even allowed to reveal the Mentee’s identity to anybody since he/she has agreed on to keep the relationship confidential.