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News & Blog > Mentoring & Advice > What is mentoring? > What is Mentoring?

What is Mentoring?

Some guidance on what it is and some of the benefits from mentoring, for both mentors and mentees

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a voluntary relationship between two people in which an experienced individual (Mentor) helps another person (Mentee) develop his or her goals and skills through a series of time-limited, confidential, one-on-one conversations and other learning activities. Mentors become trusted advisors and role models – people who have navigated successfully through similar challenges. From the start the mentoring relationship should be based on mutual respect, trust, and confidence.

It’s about motivating and empowering and helping the other person understand themselves and their aims – and how they can get there. It's also about helping each other resolve issues, whether directly or more often through advice and sharing experiences. It is not an offer of employment or work experience, nor will the mentor do the work for you, it is up to the mentee to drive the relationship.

Perhaps the most valuable quality a mentor can offer is an alternative point of view. A mentor will listen carefully to a mentee and then put the situation in a new light, bring an alternative perspective, offer feedback, serve as a sounding board, and identify others or activities that may help the mentee achieve their goals.

For example mentors can help mentees by: - 

  • Giving valuable advice, providing valuable insights based on own experiences, and helping decide on the best course of action
  • Helping find own solution to challenges, while sharing own experiences and giving guidance
  • Developing skills, either by teaching what they know or where to go to get the information needed
  • Learning new perspectives, mentees can learn new ways of thinking as well as mentors
  • Building a network, offering the opportunity to connect with other professionals

Benefits of mentoring for mentees

  • Access information and advice from an experienced professional in a job or sector you are pursuing
  • Discover your strengths and develop new skills
  • Explore what you do and don’t want/like - discover what you do and don't need to be happy in your career
  • Increase your knowledge and confidence to have a clearer career direction and reach your aspirations
  • Gain key skills such as understanding how to communicate, or how to lead
  • Build your professional network, which will help you make informed decisions

Benefits of mentoring for mentors

  • Gain a new perspective and ideas from a recent IDS graduate or student
  • Have a rewarding experience knowing that your advice has helped a new IDS graduate or student progress, and help shape the future leaders of global development
  • Have the opportunity to build your leadership skills, developing your ability to motivate and encourage others.

What is Mentoring: Role of mentor and mentee

What is Mentoring: Guiding Principles for the IDS Alumni Network Mentoring & Advice Programme

What is Mentoring: The IDS Alumni Network Mentoring & Advice Programme

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