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Mentoring Program Frequently Asked Questions

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How many mentees can each mentor have?
The final decision on this is dependent on the mentor.  Various factors may affect this, such as the time and energy they can commit to the role, their workload and other commitments. 

How many mentors can each mentee have?
It is recommended that a mentee has a single mentor at any one time and that entering into a mentoring partnership has been approved by the mentee's supervisor.

How do I get the most from the mentoring partnership? 
A successful mentoring partnership is a career development experience. It provides great value to the mentor and mentee and is to be enjoyed by both participants. The mentoring relationship is based on trust, honesty, and mutual respect. It is therefore expected that the mentee and mentor behave in a professional manner and that information shared within the relationship remains confidential.

To get the most out of a mentoring relationship, both mentees and mentors should read the guidance on Qualities, Roles, and Responsibilities on the Resources page.  In essence, both mentors and mentees should be:

  • enthusiastic, motivated and committed
  • aware of and willing to discuss expectations, strengths, and areas for improvement
  • able to listen, and be open to new ideas
  • good with time management and self-management
  • respectful, engaging, and challenging, with good communication and interpersonal skills
  • assertive, realistic and discreet
  • knowledgeable or able to get information
  • challenging and analytical
  • able to change/accept change.

Additionally, mentors must be:

  • motivating and able to demonstrate leadership
  • honest and able to give constructive advice
  • willing and able to act as a role model

Does the level of experience of a mentor matter?
Not necessarily, but mentees are likely to benefit from a mentor who has more experience and knowledge – either in a general or specific area. Typically, mentors will be members, senior members, or Fellows of the AESS.  Student members can only participate as mentees in this program.

What are my options if approached to be a mentor? 
If approached to be a mentor, there are a number of options you can consider.  In joining the program, you are under no obligation to participate in a mentoring partnership that you deem unsuitable.  As the mentor, you have the discretion to be available for mentoring partnerships that you deem appropriate and workable.  However, before committing to a mentoring partnership, please familiarize yourself with "Mentor Qualities, Roles and Responsibilities" in the Resources section and ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Do I have the time to invest and make the commitment to a mentoring partnership?
  • Do I have knowledge/experience I am willing to share and that could be useful to another person?
  • Can I use this as a personal and/or professional development opportunity?
  • What type or style of mentoring would I be interested in?
  • Would I be open to being mentored myself?
  • Am I motivated to maintain a positive relationship with my mentee?
  • Would I be pleased to provide impartial advice and opportunites for them?
  • Am I willing to learn from the relationship and listen to any feedback the mentee may have?
  • Do I have or am I able to develop the required listening and feedback skills?

How long does a mentoring relationship last?
There is no set time for how long a mentor and mentee will work together. Some find that they have a handful of sessions within a few months; others will interact many times over much longer periods of time. The length of the relationship is completely up to the mentor and mentee to decide. Generally, six months is a good length of time for a mentoring relationship to develop. Mentors and mentees are strongly encouraged to specify an intended date to review progress and to discuss the opportunity to continue or conclude the mentoring partnership.  
What can I do to maintain a positive working relationship?

  • Meet regularly – fortnightly or a least monthly to allow the relationship to develop. 
  • Agree on expectations of each other and the partnership itself.
  • Establish an agreement about expectations of each other and the relationship itself.
  • Contact each other even when you don’t need something.
  • Respect each other’s time.
  • Keep your conversations confidential – unless you agree otherwise.
  • Ask questions of each other and share information about yourself.
  • Keep commitments to each other.
  • Know when to call it quits – maintain respect when it is time to conclude the arrangement.

What if my mentoring relationship isn’t working?
The responsibility for concluding a mentoring relationship sits with either mentor or mentee who should conclude it respectfully through a discussion with the other person.  If there are any issues, you should contact the AESS Mentoring Coordinator. 

What support is available?
If you have any questions or issues, please contact the AESS Mentoring Coordinator.

What types of meetings are available?
In person: is feasible if the mentor and mentee are located in close proximity or are able to meet at conferences or other events.  In-person meetings are the best way to get to know each other and build the mentoring relationship.
Web Conference/Skype:  Using Web-based video/audio conferencing applications is a convenient, reliable and effective way to engage interactively when in-person meetings are not feasible.
Teleconference:  Teleconferences represent another useful communication method that is best used once you have developed the mentoring relationship, as face-to-face contact will be important at first. 
E-Mail:  Written communication is best to provide brief updates and for sharing detailed information or documents, but is not (by itself) a replacement for in-person, web conference, or telephone contact.
Social Media:  Using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are fast and easy methods of providing updates as a means to further develop the mentoring partnership.

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