Lesson 2. The Role and Responsibilities of Mentor
- WHAT ARE THE ROLES OF A MENTOR?
Mentors have some significant roles and responsibilities to create a healthy and fruitful mentoring relationship. They help the mentee to find the right direction through asking questions, providing guidance and encouragement. They also allow the mentee to explore new ideas and opportunities, thus becoming more self-aware, rather than leaving it to chance.
Roles of a Mentor
- Teacher: A mentor teaches the mentee the technical skills unique to their field of research.
- Sponsor: As sponsor, the mentor introduces the mentee to a new social world and shares a network that can help the mentee to plan their career development.
- Advisor: The mentor serves as advisor and counselor. The mentee needs a sounding board and reality check to help refine ideas and gain clarity of thought.
- Agent: The mentor acts as an agent and removes obstacles, but only after the mentee has made their own convincing attempt. The mentor should be careful to avoid spoonfeeding, which stunts the development of independence.
- Role Model: The mentee views the mentor as a role model and wants to emulate his or her approach to their career. Mentees do not learn values from having them preached at them, but from seeing values enacted in the routine of daily life. Values are best transmitted through deeds, not words.
- Confidante: The mentor serves as a confidante: someone the mentee can talk to, knowing the discussions are kept in strict confidence, as mentoring is a two way relationship based on trust.
Responsibilities of a Mentor
- Prioritize the mentoring session
- Share resources and experiences
- Set aside time and space
- Communicate through active listening
- Give full attention to the mentee
- Provide honest feedback
- Maintain a professional relationship
- Respect the mentee’s limits
- WHAT ARE NOT THE ROLES OF A MENTOR?
Mentors are life-long learners, and they should realize that, while they are experts, they cannot possibly know everything. Good mentors will be excited to share their knowledge and be willing to explore the possibility that the mentee may have answers that they do not have. It is also necessary for them to see the boundaries of their roles.
These are not the roles of a mentor:
- Offer jobs or internships to the mentee.
- Have all the answers
- Initiate all contact with the mentee
- Dictate personal truth or beliefs
- Provide support out of their profession
- Care about personal benefit