Mentoring Roles

Susan Buglass

Susan Buglass

Apr 20 — 2 mins read
Anticipate change during the life cycle of a partnership<br />Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@chrislawton" target="_blank">Chris Lawton</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com" target="_blank">Unsplash</a>

Anticipate change during the life cycle of a partnership
Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

The mentoring partnership

Once established, the mentoring partnership will mature and develop over time. As the partnership progresses, the needs of the mentee may change. If the mentee is successfully working towards the agreed goals and is achieving the objectives set, the the kind of support needed may change.

A dynamic environment

It's important to remember that the partnership exists within a dynamic environment and things outside the partnership may change, and may impact on what takes place within the partnership. For example, the circumstances of the mentee, in life and work, may take a new direction - new opportunities may come along. The needs of the mentee will change and the mentor will need to respond appropriately.

Objective advice

It's not unusual for a mentee pursuing career development goals to find an exciting new employment opportunity. They can discuss this with their mentor, who at this point can be a useful sounding board and can also give objective advice about the suitability of the post and the opportunities it may provide for longer term career development. And maybe the mentee will decide not to apply (or even to accept a job offer), based on the discussion with the mentor. On the other hand, the mentor can provide advice and guidance about how to frame their CV and applications, and help them to prepare for interview.

Change of direction and flexibility

All of this may be a completely new direction for the mentoring partnership and outside the agreed goals of the partnership. But when a new issue crops up and the mentee needs support, the mentor responds. Mentoring is a flexible, adaptable arrangement, the purpose of which is to support the mentee. The kind of support they need, may well change during the life of the partnership and as such, the approaches employed by the mentor will also need to change in response.

So the roles that a mentor may fulfil during a mentoring meeting and during the life cycle of a partnership may include:


  • Coach
  • Adviser
  • Teacher
  • Networker
  • Supporter
  • Critical friend
  • Sounding board
mentor mentoring

This post was originally published on sumacmentoring.co.uk

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