Module II: What is mentoring on employment related issues?

Mentoring – from the educational point of view mentoring is a developmental partnership through which one person shares knowledge, skills, information and perspective to foster the personal and professional growth of someone else. There are two types of mentoring: pair and group. Mentoring may also have many forms: e.g. face-to-face, e-Mentoring and blended mentoring. Mentors support, courage and open their own networks for Mentees. During mentoring on employment-related issues, Mentors help Mentees to get employed or to start an enterprise.

Primary aim of mentoring on employment-related issues (ERI)

The primary aim of mentoring on employment-related issues is to encourage, promote and support the Mentee’s professional and personal development towards getting employed or starting his/her own business. The mentoring process also increases the Mentee’s knowledge, capability and self-esteem. Discussions taking place during the mentoring relationship should be relevant to this basic aim and the Mentee should focus on the employment/entrepreneurial plan and issues which affect this. However, there may be some additional discussions not directly related to the basic aim but still have an impact on personal and professional growth.

Pair mentoring: a Mentor communicates with one Mentee; they become acquainted with each other and begin to build a relationship. Pair mentoring is suitable for a Mentee who feels more comfortable to develop his/her abilities by directly interacting with his/her own Mentor. The Mentor can totally concentrate on the employment-related issues of one Mentee.

Group mentoring: a Mentor works with a group of 4–5 Mentees. Sometimes, it may take more time for the Mentees and the Mentor to get acquainted with each other and begin to build a strong working relationship. However, in group mentoring an individual Mentee usually acquires many new ideas because everyone is sharing his/her knowledge to others. In addition, Mentees in group mentoring often become peer mentors to each other. They also build networks for future purposes in the group: they can find suitable jobs more easily or, if they start as entrepreneurs, they can gain more customers by benefiting from the mentoring network.

Face-to-face mentoring: a Mentor regularly meets his/her Mentees and communicates with them during face-to-face individual or group meetings.

e-Mentoring: ICT tools and e-Learning are used. The Internet is the main area where e-Mentoring takes place. e-Mentoring requires Mentors and Mentees who stick to a secure web environment to be able to communicate with each other on a variety of employment-related issues.

Blended mentoring: face-to-face mentoring and e-Mentoring. A Mentor communicates with his/her Mentee(s) by using the e-Mentoring web environment and by meeting them face-to-face a few times during the mentoring process. It is recommended to conduct at least three face-to-face sessions with the Mentor during the e-Mentoring process – one at the beginning, one in the middle and one at the end of the process.

 Main actors in mentoring process

The main actors participating in the mentoring process are 3M actors – Manager, Mentor and Mentee. Each actor has a different role and different responsibilities in the mentoring process.

Manager is a person experienced in management who organizes the whole mentoring process from the selection of Mentees and Mentors to the collecting of feedback after the process has ended. The Manager supports the Mentors and Mentees throughout the mentoring process. The Manager may be a person responsible for human resources development in his/her company or a person working within the educational system aiming to support different target groups like students or adult learners by using innovative methods.

Mentor is a skilled, experienced and esteemed person who is willing to support and advise a less experienced person. The main reason for becoming a Mentor is the genuine desire to help Mentees to succeed in their lives. In the mentoring process, the age of the Mentor is not crucial but his/her experience is. In mentoring on employment-related issues, Mentors are employers, employees or experienced entrepreneurs. The Mentor gives constructive feedback to the Mentee(s) in order to help them with their development plan and does this by asking appropriate questions, offering different alternatives and solutions to solve problems and overcome barriers. The Mentor facilitates the self-evaluation of decisions made by the Mentee and offers feedback where appropriate. The Mentor does this in order to protect the Mentee from a wide range of beginner’s mistakes. The Mentor helps to build or increase the self-confidence of the Mentee; stimulates professional behaviour; teaches by example; confronts negative behaviour and attitudes; helps in career growth; gives professional and experienced advice; and ultimately empowers and enables the Mentee to reach determined goals.

Mentee is in general a person with a strong desire to develop personally and professionally by setting targets/goals for him/herself and by developing action plans to work towards these goals. This is done in cooperation with the Mentor. The Mentee can also be a person who needs improvement for acting in particular situations and develop solutions and coping strategies through the guidance and support of his/her Mentor. The Mentee should have a genuine desire to get guidance and support from the Mentor. In mentoring on employment-related issues, the Mentees can be last-year students or adult learners who wish to get employed or start an enterprise.

This course is dedicated to the Manager but if you would like to learn more about the role of the Mentee, please click here or, if you would like to learn more about the role of the Mentor, please click here.

Importance of mentoring

Mentoring is important for all involved actors.

For the Mentee it is a process offering excellent opportunities for personal and professional development. Supported by the Mentor, the Mentee can develop his/her employment-related skills and competences. The Mentee learns how to set goals, his/her self-esteem and motivation raises and new networks can be created. Very often mentoring also raises understanding between generations, cultures and different kinds of people. Mentoring is a good method of learning and development and, for the Mentee, it gives courage to meet eventual conflicts and to take risks if needed. The mentoring process can be said to add a ‘helicopter perspective’ to the life of a Mentee. During mentoring, the Mentee acquires know-how on considering the area he/she is developing through mentoring both generally and in detail.

Mentoring is useful for the Mentors as well, because they also develop themselves during the mentoring process. Their interaction skills improve, their networks usually grow and they will get new and fresh ideas from their Mentees.

For the Manager the motivation to implement mentoring at his/her organisation may have different good reasons. As an employer or HR Manager he/she can use mentoring as a successful tool for human resources development, e.g. for the preparation of junior staff members for a higher position. Within the educational system, no matter if it is High Education, Vocational Education and Training or Adult Education, he/she can use mentoring as a method to support the target group in reaching specific aims, e.g. the transition from the educational system to the labour market.