A Mentoring Charter

This resource sets out the matters you may like to consider when starting a mentoring relationship.

 

"A mentor is a more experienced individual willing to share knowledge with someone less experienced in a relationship of mutual trust" - David Clutterbuck

There are a variety of models for mentoring and some overlap with coaching. I have defined mentoring as a relationship between a mentor and one or more mentees where the mentor is seeking to help the mentee(s) develop in areas of their professional or personal life. The initiative is with the mentee to determine the areas to be covered, whilst the mentor will draw on her/his experience to provide guidance, advice, strategies, tools, exercises and resources to assist this development.

 

Ahead of a first meeting it’s helpful for a mentor to provide:

  • Some introductory information about themselves and their experience.

  • Topics which they would be willing to cover, based on their experience.

  • An outline of what they would normally cover in an introductory meeting.

  • Some guidelines for regular meetings.

  • Information on practical matters.

  • Contact details eg mobile and email address.

 

The introductory meeting is an opportunity to:

  • Make introductions and provide information on each other’s relevant background

  • Express hopes and expectations of both parties for the arrangement

  • Identify initial topics the mentee might like to cover

  • Discuss the practical factors of how the arrangement could operate e.g. frequency, duration, review, confidentiality and venue. See further below.

  • Agree whether there is a good fit for pursuing the arrangement and if so fix a follow up meeting or agree to reflect on it over the coming week before reaching a decision.

 

Regular meetings

  • I suggest that the mentee confirms/communicates the topics to cover, ideally at least 48 hours before each meeting. Often they will have been flagged at the end of the previous meeting. This allows the mentor to prepare and in some cases bring resources which may be helpful.

  • Towards the end of the session it may be helpful to agree tasks to be undertaken before the next session (but no pressure!) as well as topics to cover next time and any other actions agreed.

 

Practical Matters

  • Frequency: agree how often to meet. This might for example be every 4, 6, 8 or 12 weeks.

  • Duration: I normally allow up to 2 hours for an introductory meeting and 1 hour 30 minutes for subsequent meetings. Agree what seems appropriate for your situation.

  • Review: It’s good to agree at the introductory meeting how frequently the arrangement will be reviewed. Typically after 3 or 6 meetings. However, either party should feel free to flag any issues as soon as possible.

  • Confidentiality and mutual trust is critical. Both parties should agree that nothing is discussed with anyone else unless there is prior agreement by both.

  • Venue: It needs to be comfortable, fairly quiet and where the conversation cannot be overheard. You could meet in a café or a hotel lounge where these criteria are met. The mentee’s office premises may have a suitable meeting room. Once the mentoring relationship is established you may feel comfortable to meet by phone or Skype or Zoom.

  • Costs: Clarify whether the mentor is charging for their time and travel expenses or operating on a pro bono basis. If not the mentee may like to take responsibility for buying the coffees and may wish to give a gift voucher or alternative thank you on an annual basis or at the end of the mentoring relationship.

  • Prayer: I will usually ask if there are things the mentee would like me to pray for between our meetings. That is down to the mentor and mentee to consider.

 

Author and copyright: Helen Calder 2019