Mentoring principles

Susan Buglass

Susan Buglass

May 06 — 2 mins read
Collaboration is key<br />Photo by <a href="" target="_blank">Takahiro Sakamoto</a> on <a href="" target="_blank">Unsplash</a>

Collaboration is key
Photo by Takahiro Sakamoto on Unsplash

There are many different types of mentoring, both formal and informal, which may address different needs for different people. But in our experience, there are some basic underpinning principles which will help to make sure that mentoring partnerships are effective and productive.


If people are compelled to participate in a mentoring partnership, where's the motivation? Where's the intrinsic desire to make the relationship work? Where's the goodwill? The most effective mentoring partnerships and mentoring schemes happen when participants take part because they want to! This ensures the goodwill and the desire to make the partnership work.

Defined duration

Without a defined end date, mentoring partnerships can drift. Specifying the duration of the partnership, with an end date clearly defined at the outset, helps to ensure that the partnership is focused, productive and moves forward towards the agreed goals.

Outside of line management

A mentor who has the right background, the right kind of knowledge and experience to help the mentee achieve his or her goals is critical, but someone who has some distance from the mentee (in terms of organisation or even geographically) can help to provide a different perspective, remove barriers of potential vested interests and help to ensure confidentiality, trust and an open exchange. That's not to say a line manager can't adopt a mentor approach with an employee, but to be truly effective, a mentor should be outside of the mentee's line management or immediate work group.


Mentoring relationships are collaborative. Both partners are working together to move the mentee towards their goals.


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