During your mentoring relationship

Once you and your mentee have got to know each other, it’s time to really start working towards their goals. This factsheet aims to help you support your mentee to do this.

Keep on track of mentee goals

Set goals – You might find that using management tools, like a Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations and Results (SOAR) audit, can help your mentee consider how they can develop their skills to meet their goals. Or you could also use an approach like GROW (see below) to set goals for each of your sessions.

Break down goals into small steps – Help your mentee get to where they want to be by identifying actions and steps they can take to get to their ultimate goal.

Be clear

Keep in touch – If you can’t continue to mentor for whatever reason, for example, if you’re suddenly very busy, let your mentee know as soon as possible. Let CharityComms know too. And get in touch with us if you have trouble contacting your mentee.

Plan ahead – Always try to have a few dates in the diary for your next few meetings.

Review regularly

Encourage self-reflection – Suggest your mentee keeps a work diary. This can help them organise their thoughts, recognise their skills and notice if the same issues come up. Ask them to report back on what they’re doing differently if they decide they want to change anything.

Ask for feedback – At the end, ask your mentee how they found each session. This will prompt them to think about what was helpful and other support they might want. It can also help you both keep track of mentee goals.

Get support for you – Talk to CharityComms if you need help with anything, or if it feels like boundaries have blurred, for whatever reason.

“Things change so mentors and mentees need to review their work together to see if they’re both getting what they need from the relationship. I did this with my mentees at every session by asking them if the information I provided, or my responses to their questions, was helpful. Feedback can help you know the best approach to take.”

Kellie Stewart
head of communications and public affairs,
Brain Research UK

What mentoring isn’t…

Counselling – Like counsellors, mentors act as a sounding board when mentees are solving a problem or making difficult decisions. They also help mentees clarify issues so they can see the larger picture. But unlike counselling, mentoring is not about supporting someone through personal emotional issues.

Coaching – Mentees learn from the experience of mentors, often someone further ahead on their chosen career path. Coaching is more fundamentally about how a person thinks, feels and acts in situations. And a coach is a trained professional who will not necessarily have the same career experience as the person they support.

Mentoring skills

Listening – A key skill in mentoring. It’s so important not to go into ‘solution mode’ but to listen to your mentee which will help them feel heard, valued and understood.

Reflecting – Offer your mentee’s thought or idea back to them using their, or your own, words. Rather than you telling them what to do, encourage your mentee to come up with their own solutions. This can help them grow in confidence and improve their problem solving skills.

“Listen 80% talk 20%. A lot of the time people will have their mind made up already, they just need to talk it through with someone to realise what it is.”

Branislava Milosevic
Digital Leadership Ltd

Read more top tips and guidance about being a mentor in our resources section.