Guide to Mentoring
Most people achieve better levels of professional success if
they have the guidance and help of a mentor, someone with whom they
can discuss in confidence their career plans, who is willing and
able to provide help and guidance to enable the person being
mentored to recognise their own development potential and encourage
them to realise it.
IGEM offers a mentoring service to members wishing to gain
registration with the Engineering Council and is constantly seeking
further volunteers who would like to share their knowledge and
experience to help new members progress and develop.
What is a Mentor?
A mentor is a member of IGEM who assists another to grow,
acquire new skills and insights, and develop his/her potential. The
mentoring relationship builds confidence and helps the mentee to
take increasing responsibility for his/her own development.
A successful mentor is someone who:
- Volunteers time to take personal interests in others
- Listens 'actively'
- Questions and finds out what is important to the mentee,
exploring their skills and aspirations
- Creates an open and candid relationship, to encourage the
growth of trust and confidence, which assists the learning
- Regards all that the mentee says as confidential
- Avoids mentoring those in a direct reporting line and may
influence, but not 'step on toes' of line managers
- Is fully aware of their own limitations and is able to overcome
them as well as those of the mentee
- Has appropriate training and experience for the role, including
knowledge of the UK standard for Professional Engineering
Benefits frequently reported by Mentors for themselves
- Satisfaction from helping others and seeing them progress
- Deeper broader knowledge of their own and other
- Opportunity to practice and develop management skills
- Job enrichment and the chance to build wider networks
- Increased self confidence and higher visibility within an
We are always pleased to hear from our members who would like to
assist with the assessment of engineers looking to become members
of the Institution. For further information on supporting this
process please contact Membership Services.
Key skills and responsibilities of a Mentor
You will need a range of interpersonal skills including:
- Listening attentively and non-judgementally
- Giving and receiving feedback
- Questioning skills to encourage a mentee to talk and think
- The ability to challenge constructively
Before you start mentoring, consider the amount of time you are
willing to give. Is it the level of commitment that a mentee
expects? Can you give time on the telephone?
Being flexible means that you respond appropriately to a
mentee's changing needs and are open to new ideas and different
ways of doing things. Flexibility comes with increased awareness of
your own behaviour and attitudes and those of others.
You will need to think beforehand about what you want from the
mentoring relationship. For instance, who will be responsible for
the practical aspects of the process, who will organise when and
where to meet and who will initiate reviews of the
The role of the Mentee
The success of a mentoring relationship depends on the attitude
and commitment of the individual being mentored (mentee).
The mentee should understand the role of the mentor is to
challenge and encourage but not to provide answers. He/She
- Guard against becoming dependant on the mentor
- Approach each meeting fully prepared
- Be open to ideas, suggestions and different perspectives
- Be open and honest about what works and what does not
Benefits of having a Mentor
Most of us benefit from having someone with whom we can discuss
our hopes, plans and problems.
A mentor can offer:
- A different perspective
- Challenges based on experience
- Help getting motivated when the going is tough
- Help with setting ogals and defining how to achieve them
Members that have used mentors in the past have found that the
- Enhanced their training and career development
- Significantly influenced their attitudes and professional
- Guided them round major procedural obstacles and pitfalls
- Improved their results by challenging their
The mentoring relationship
Relationships that start with a clear 'learning contract' are
generally the most rewarding.
Conflicts of interest must be avoided, so it is usually
considered inappropriate for a mentoring relationship to exist
between manager and subordinate, or other colleagues.
It is important that ground-rules are established at the
beginning of the relationship, to avoid misunderstanding later on.
These may include the timings and format of the meetings, the
expected length of the commitment and methods of
Responsibilities and expected outcomes may be discussed at an
early stage. For instance, it is important to state any specific
results the mentee hopes to gain from the relationship and how they
will be measured.
Guidance for meetings
Guidelines for the first meeting
- Ensure that expectations of the relationship are discussed and
you are both clear on what the mentee's goal is - i.e Engineering
Council registration? What level?
- Jointly establish the gap between the mentee's capabilities and
the requirements for registration
- The mentor needs to consider how confident they are that the
mentee is registrable
- Agree guidelines on how you will work with each other. For
instance, how often you both think you need to meet and for how
long, do you want to set agendas for each meeting, whose
responsibility will they be and where will you meet?
- The mentee should establish what their expectations are for
Guidelines for future Meetings
- Establish in what areas the mentee needs the most help,
together create a development plan to monitor progress
- The mentor must be aware of the requirements for registration
at the appropriate level and be able to demonstrate relevant
competencies as required by the UKSPEC
- Briefly summarise the notes of the previous meeting (mentor or
- Update status of any actions that were agreed in previous
- The mentor should build on the mentee's own ideas, share their
thoughts and ideas but don't give advice
- The mentee should be encouraged to take notes
- Agree a date and time for the next meeting
Guidelines for between meetings
- Send a brief note to summarise actions (mentor or mentee)
- Do anything that you have promised to do promptly
- Keep in touch
What to do if the relationship is not
Although IGEM will endeavour to match mentors with the
appropriate mentees, there will be occasions (for whatever reason)
when the relationship does not work.
IGEM will monitor your progress and you will be asked to provide
feedback at different stages of the relationship. If at any time
you feel that the relationship is not progressing as it should, you
can contact membership services to discuss your concerns and the
possibility that a different mentor/mentee may be more