Springboard mentors information

Guidelines for mentors

These guidelines have been developed by the mentor group to provide a framework for the Springboard Mentoring Scheme. They are advisory and are not intended to be prescriptive. Mentors can get additional guidance either generally or on specific issues by using the mentors' email list. Jane Allen's book 'The Art of Mentoring' and your Springboard mentoring folder are also useful sources of guidance.

What is Springboard mentoring?

There are many different forms of mentoring. Some, such as mentoring of a newly appointed academic by a more senior person from his or her department, already operate within the University. Springboard mentoring does not depend on a mentor with seniority 'opening doors' for a more junior mentee.  Instead it is mentoring by a peer, who may be more senior or more junior than the mentee, but who shares her experience of the Springboard programme. The Springboard mentor's aim is to encourage the mentee's personal development by taking approaches and using techniques, which enable the mentee to act for herself.

Groundrules

Our agreed groundrules are covered in your mentoring folder under 'Roles and Actions of a Mentor'.

Finding a mentee

  • Potential mentees will contact you via e-mail using the Springboard website. It is up to you whether you mentor more than one woman at any one time. 
  • Mentees will be asked to specify when they contact you the circumstances that have led them to seek mentoring and what they wish to achieve. You will need to decide whether or not you agree that you are an appropriate mentor for a woman who contacts you.
  • If you think that you will not be a suitable mentor for someone please (but only with her agreement) email her request to the group asking whether another mentor could help. Remember that your rejection of her may be hurtful so stress that the aim is to provide the mentee with appropriate support.

Practical arrangements

You will need to agree with the mentee how often, when, and where you will meet.

  • Meeting for an hour once a month is thought to be a suitable norm but you are free to agree a timetable with your mentee and to change it by agreement when that is appropriate.
  • Your meeting place will usually need to be away from the mentee's workplace. It could be your own office (providing that this is neutral for the mentee), a quiet corner of the University Club, a café or bar, or even outdoors in good weather.  The mentee may have somewhere in mind. You will need to consider comfort and confidentiality for both of you.
  • It will not usually be possible to hold mentoring meetings in working time and your commitments and those of the mentee will therefore, influence timing. Lunch times may be appropriate for most meetings. Others could be just before or just after work. 

The mentoring relationship

  • You will want to agree at the outset the expected length of your mentoring relationship. This is likely to depend on what the mentee wants to achieve. Of course this can be varied later by agreement. Generally a Springboard mentoring relationship would not continue for more than a year and would not last less than three months. It might be helpful to aim for six months.
  • When setting your ground rules for working together it might be helpful to agree your expectations of each other. For example, if punctuality is important to you your mentee needs to know this.
  • You will want to prepare briefly for each meeting so that you both get best use of your time. Jane Allen in 'the Art of Mentoring' has some good ideas about organising a mentoring session.
  • Review progress at suitable intervals. Are the practical arrangements working well? Is the mentee able to identify progress as a result of your mentoring? Ask her for feedback on your style and approach. 
  • It will be important to have an 'exit strategy' so that the relationship ends at an appropriate point and in an appropriate way. Jane Allen has a helpful chapter on 'endings'. If you need for any reason to end a relationship before the mentee is ready to agree the end please explain your reasons for doing so and try to refer her to an alternative source of support.

Resources

We have mentioned some resources in these guidelines. Others within the University that might be particularly helpful for mentors are:

Support for mentors

If a mentor feels she needs any additional support in relation to a mentoring relationship or any difficulties she’s experiencing/has experienced, please get in touch with Hannah Boschen, Springboard Programme Manager and Trainer in the first instance who will be able to direct you to an appropriate person.