The mentoring relationship

Mentoring is a unique opportunity that allows you to receive advice and guidance from a professional in the area you are interested in.

Careers Network have a range of mentors, most of whom are Birmingham graduates, who have all volunteered their time to offer their expertise and help you succeed beyond graduation.

All mentees are supported throughout their mentoring relationship, including an induction training session and online course that helps you make the most of the opportunity. 

Mentoring relationship video case studies

Hear first-hand from previous mentors and mentees across our mentoring schemes:

Video case studies transcript

00:06

The Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme is a scheme open to undergraduates in their penultimate year.

00:11

It’s an amazing and unique scheme where you can apply to be mentored by Birmingham Alumni who are experts in their respective fields.

00:20

The meaning of mentoring to me is about sharing experiences with accomplished people in their field.

00:25

I think mentoring is about learning from someone else’s experience.

00:29

I can honestly say that without my mentor I wouldn’t be where I am now.

00:32

I think a piece of advice that I took from my mentor is that feedback is the breakfast of champions.

00:38

Where to be truly successful you should be looking to always get feedback from others about how you are working and about yourself.

00:46

The more you put into this definitely the more you get out. It’s complete professional help, which is completely bespoke to how you wanted.

00:55

You are being given an objective view by somebody, it’s a fresh view of you and what you are doing and it gives you a chance to think through what you are really about and how you can convince people that you are good.

English (United Kingdom)

In order for the experience to be successful, it is important to take the time to build that rapport with a mentor and making the effort to show your commitment to the scheme.

How to have a successful mentoring experience

Below are some of the characteristics and behaviours that contribute to bringing a more successful mentoring experience for all.

A successful mentoring relationship

To develop a successful mentoring partnership, the relationship needs key attributes from both the mentor and mentee:

  • Trust and respect
  • Commitment
  • Ongoing and effective communication

A successful mentoring relationship is a process of two-way learning that is ‘student-centred’ and steered by the mentee.

A mentor offers support, has relevant knowledge and challenges the mentee. A mentee takes responsibility, demonstrates good time management, prepares for meetings and keeps up the momentum, keeps relationship on track to achieve their goals, shares any concerns or expectations openly and shows enthusiasm and is proactive. Both mentor and mentee trust and respect, commitment, on-going and effective communication, two-way learning, develop skills and understanding, share ideas and feedback, problem solving and find the experience rewarding.

Being an effective mentee

Characteristics of a mentee include: 

  • Proactive
  • Good time management 
  • Honest
  • Willing to learn
  • Focussed on furthering personal and professional development
  • Comfortable being challenged
  • Flexible and open-minded
  • Willing to move out of their 'comfort zone'
  • Professionalism 

It will be the mentee's responsibility to arrange meetings, understand what they hope to achieve and keeping their mentor informed about how the mentoring relationship is progressing. 

Also, communication is key so keeping on top of your emails and attending meetings on time will help to let the relationship flow. But if you are trying to work on this, let your mentor know this as early on as possible.

Being an effective mentor

It is useful to understand the mentor's perspective as it is a two way process and relationship. Your mentor wants to also gain something too. 

Characteristics of a mentor:

  • Supportive
  • Encouraging 
  • Motivating
  • Empowering
  • Knowledgeable
  • Active listener
  • Good communicator
  • Challenges the mentee

Mentors are there to offer insight into their career but you will need to determine how often the meetings are and what are the preferred communication methods.

Your mentor will be willing to share their knowledge but please remember mentors may not have all the answers. It's crucial to be prepared for all interactions, as mentors will have a lot to share but it is up to you to ask effective questions to gain these answers.

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