What is Mentoring (archive)

What is a Mentor?

A mentor is a trusted and experienced advisor who trains and counsels newer, younger or less experienced people. They offer advice or guidance to someone, understanding when to listen and let someone work through their own difficulties and overcome the barriers that a mentee faces on their journey.

What are the benefits of Mentoring?

Mentoring is shown to develop individuals within a company at senior and low levels.  It increases employee motivation, job performance and retention rates.  For managers it multiplies the impact of any change and also prepares the new leaders for the complexity of the challenges they will face.

How is it different from coaching?

Mentoring is support that is based on the experience of having already travelled a similar journey.  There are two types of mentoring:

  • Technical mentoring – the process of supporting someone to learn the skills for the task they are going to perform (for example, how to do their job).
  • Pastoral mentoring – the process of providing the ‘whole-picture’ holistic support that a mentee needs.

A mentoring session will often focus on whatever the issue or barrier that the mentee is experiencing at that particular, so is very much based in the present.

There are a number of coaching techniques out there.  They do not necessarily rely on the coach having experienced the journey the coachee is on, they believe the person holds the answer within them and use questioning techniques to help them discover that answer.  Coaching may involve preparing someone for a future event, such as an exam, a journey, transition or even a game.

Can Mentors coach people?

Mentoring is about using your experience to support someone less experienced (a mentee). Coaching involves the use of questioning techniques to help someone self-discover the answer.  Mentors may make a choice to use this as a technique as part of their support if they believe the mentee knows the answer but is ignoring or avoiding it.