What is mentoring?
Mentoring involves one person providing support and guidance to another, in order to help them manage their own learning and development. More specifically, The European Mentoring Centre defines mentoring as 'offline help by one person to another in making significant transitions in knowledge, work or thinking'. In this context, ‘off-line’ relates to the relationship between mentor and mentee - mentoring usually takes place where there are no lines of authority, or line management relationship, to avoid any potential conflict of roles.
You may find it useful to read the University's Mentoring Guidance notes if you are considering becoming involved in mentoring.
When could mentoring be helpful to me?
People find mentoring useful to support them in a whole range of different ways. For example, mentoring might be useful when making the transition to a new role or grade within the University. New members of staff who have little or no experience of higher education may benefit from a mentor to guide them through the intricacies of working within a large and complex organisation. Another instance when mentoring may prove fruitful would be when an individual is starting to lead and manage staff for the first time.
What is the difference between mentoring and coaching?
A mentor will use many of the same skills as a coach, but the focus of the relationship is different. Mentoring focuses on developing the whole person rather than just one aspect of their work, and is therefore often a longer-term relationship, lasting between 6 months and 2 years on average. Coaching tends to focus on developing a specific task or skill - it concentrates on a specific area of competence, related closely to the learner's job, and is therefore more often short-term.
What is the process for finding a mentor at the University of Leeds?
There isn’t a formal University-wide mentoring scheme at Leeds, although Staff and Departmental Development Unit (SDDU), in partnership with Human Resources, can help to find mentors for individuals (see Finding a Mentor on the left menu). Those staff undertaking formal learning programmes are particularly encouraged to find mentors. In addition, some schools/services have set up their own mentoring schemes (see below), plus mentoring support is in place for research staff (see http://www.sddu.leeds.ac.uk/sddu-good-practice-in-research-mentoring.html).
Localised mentoring schemes