Friendship With a Purpose
The UD Women’s Center's Mentoring Program is designed to involve faculty and staff mentors and mentees in formal mentoring relationships. It provides a basic structure for these relationships and a support system for the participants involved. There are no guidelines set as to when and how many times each mentor/mentee dyad is expected to meet; this is left to the discretion of the participants depending on their needs and objectives.
Being a mentor is a volunteer opportunity. Whether you are faculty or staff, you'll find that mentoring can be one of the most satisfying and rewarding experiences you can have. All it takes to become a mentor is a caring nature, commitment, responsibility, and good listening skills. Mentors should be able to assist mentees in mastering additional skills and/or gaining knowledge or abilities in specific areas, thereby enhancing the mentees’ prospects for success.
Remember, mentoring not only helps the mentee, but it gives the mentor valuable experience too. Volunteering as a mentor requires a commitment of time and energy, but it is often a new and interesting experience with the added benefit of helping others.
Being a mentee is a valuable opportunity. A sense of direction, confidence and knowledge can be obtained through a person who serves as a role model, coach, guide, sponsor, friend, and advisor. Whether faculty or staff, if a UD woman wants to gain access to a greater network, develop skills, build self-confidence, enhance her professional career or have an opportunity to grow with guidance, mentoring can help her achieve it.
Volunteering as a mentee requires a significant commitment of time and energy, and it involves a mentor’s time too. But it is often a new and enriching experience for both, with the added benefit of gaining something difficult to achieve in other ways.
Reasonable Expectations for Participants
Mentors and mentees typically enter their relationships with assumed expectations of each other. Expectations that aren't met or even discussed can lead to irritation and disappointment. In many cases, these expectations are similar or the same. A mentoring relationship is a partnership, with both people showing respect and support for each other.
Expectations for both mentees and mentors:
- Accept the relationship on a temporary basis, for approximately 12 months or until one or both of you decides to end it.
- Meet as often as your schedules permit (at least two hours per month recommended).
- Keep any commitments made.
- Keep confidences with mentee/mentor.
Provide help, serve as a learning broker, and be a sounding board for issues relating to the mentee’s career goals and development.
Provide suggestions and advice on goals activities, and progress.
Provide the mentee with personal introductions to other people unless they’re comfortable doing so.
Spend more time on the relationship than he or she is willing or able to give.
Take the lead in the relationship, setting up all meetings and driving the mentee’s career development.
Evaluate the relationship at various points (at least mid-point and ending) within the agreed-upon time period.
Take initiative to drive the relationship and be responsible for your own career development and planning.
Remember that you own your development, your mentor doesn't. It’s up to you to identify objectives as well as keep the relationship focused and moving forward.
Use active listening skills in discussions with your mentor.
Be prepared to ask for specific advice on your skill set, ideas, plans, and goals. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for your mentor to respond.
Be complete yet succinct in your comments and explanations.
Make it easy for your mentor to give you honest, specific feedback. Ask for it early in your relationship.