• Be considered successful in their careers;
• Be knowledgeable and experienced in their organisation and understand its culture;
• Have sufficient time available to work with the mentee;
• Have the endorsement of their Aurora champion;
• Have sufficient general higher education experience to be able to offer advice and support;
• Be a good listener;
• Have a genuine interest in helping women to develop their careers and particularly support his/her mentee;
• Have a supportive or ‘coaching style’ of communication.
Setting up a mentoring scheme
Institutions may already have a mentoring scheme in place that could be extended to include Aurora participants. If mentoring is new to the institution, here are a few points to consider:
• Mentoring is a process of developing a working relationship between two people, where one of the pair is an experienced person working with a less experienced person to help that individual to develop expertise, knowledge and confidence;
• A mentor will help another person to learn and to change;
• An experienced mentor will help a mentee identify their strengths and potential and act as sounding board;
• When a mentoring relationship goes well, the mentor will equally benefit from the process of mentoring by developing their own motivating and empowering skills;
• The mentee will benefit from having one-to-one time with an experienced colleague who is willing to give some of their time to provide guidance and advice and, importantly, to ask open questions to develop the mentee’s self-reflection, self-reliance and problem solving skills;
• Mentoring arrangements may be formal or informal;
• They should be for a fixed period of time, although this will vary with individuals;
• Given the fixed term nature, thought and planning should be given to the start of the relationship, the main processes of the mentoring relationship and, importantly, the ending of the mentoring relationship.
Other points to note about mentoring:
• In general, line managers should not mentor their own staff but should be supportive of the process;
• Mentoring relationships work best when the ‘contract’ between mentor and mentee is personally agreed in order to meet the needs of both individuals;
• Mentors should have good listening skills and also be able to provide objective, constructive feedback;
• Mentors should be honest and non-judgemental.
If you would like to set up a mentoring scheme in your institution and are not sure how to do this, we can help. We can provide you with some guidance or case studies or direct you to another champion for advice. There is a wealth of information and guidance on mentoring on the internet. Included is a useful open source link providing a range of advice and resources around mentoring www.coachingnetwork.org.uk.