What is mentoring?
'Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximize their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.'
Eric Parsloe, Oxford School of Coaching and Mentoring
‘A mentoring session is a safe and privileged time in which my mentee has permission to concentrate on and talk about herself.'
Dr Francis Lannon, Principal, Lady Margaret Hall and Oxford AD Feminam mentor
Through The Kate Scheme, we hope to encourage the creation of a productive and personal partnership which offers bespoke guidance and inspiration for our young women – a partnership that benefits both mentee and mentor.
The mentor role
When you join The Kate Scheme, both you, as mentors, and the mentees, will complete a brief profile, which will help to create the ideal mentoring partnership. The matching process is coordinated by the career mentoring team at St Helen’s. Pupils read through the anonymised mentor profiles collated from the website and select a number of mentors, whose industry experience perhaps matches their career choices at this time. You will be asked how many mentees you would be willing to work with, we suggest no more than three.
Once you’ve been matched, we will arrange a training event for you and your mentees, which will allow for an initial meeting and introductions. Together with your mentee you will arrange further one-to-one sessions and agree a programme for the year, with opportunities to meet, review, refine and develop an action plan.
The key focus for you as a mentor is to help your mentee to establish career goals and offer advice, information and opportunities to further themselves. You are under no obligation at all to offer tangible experience like work placements or work shadowing, but if it is appropriate, and you have the opportunity to do this, then that would be wonderful.
You and your mentee can decide how you move forward in terms of meetings – with a programme designed around your time commitments and which meets the needs and interests of your mentee. It may be useful to agree on a minimum number of interactions within the first year. We suggest that no fewer than 4 interactions take place in order to ensure an effective partnership, interactions could be:
- Event or workplace visit
- Networking experience CV
- Dissertation topic discussion
- Interview practice and career plan draft
- An issue that the mentee suggests, such as presentation help or practical knowledge about the industry
This is by no means an exhaustive list. The partnership is unique to both mentor and the mentee so can be tailored to individual needs and requirements. It is the responsibility of the mentee to maintain the relationship by making contact with the mentor (this is made clear to our girls). To help with this, mentors take some time at the first meeting to agree some guidelines for future communications, including how often a mentee should contact their mentor, what method of communication is preferred and agree a realistic time limit for response to communications.
You won’t be expected to counsel students or agree to a commitment you cannot sustain and our Career Mentoring Team will be on hand to provide you with any support you need, especially if you are uncertain of a situation or the support your mentee needs.
The mentee role
A mentee is expected to take responsibility for her development and maintain her relationship with her mentor by initiating contact. They will be expected to agree with their mentor their preferred method and frequency of contact and adhere to this. They will not share the details of their mentor with anyone else such as a friend or colleague.
A mentee should be prepared to be challenged by their mentor and maintain a professional relationship with them, such as being punctual, respecting agreed ground rules and talking openly and honestly with their mentor.