Working as a Mentor

By ACS Distance Education on January 31, 2019 in Careers, Jobs Success & Psychology | comments
Mentors can work with children, teenagers and adults. A mentor is someone who is experienced in a particular field and offers support to a client on how to improve in that field. They may work with individuals or small groups, encouraging the person to improve and develop in a particular area.

Scope of Work

A mentor:

  • Shares knowledge, advice specific to specialist area and client needs.
  • Provides guidance, emotional support and motivation.
  • Is a good role model and may discuss their own career experiences but focuses on the client’s development not your own business successes.
  • Explores career options with the client - business possibilities or opportunities.
  • Sets goals - helps develop realistic expectations.
  • Facilitates networking - helps develop contacts and networking.

Mentors may work for government agencies, privately, or in corporations. Some offer mentoring over the phone or internet (e.g. Skype).

Coaches work may also involve:

  • Administration - record keeping, financial management, marketing
  • Professional Development - networking, PD study, travel, conferences
  • Communications - writing reports, work in media, public speaking

What You Need to Learn

  • Mentoring skills – act as trusted adviser to clients under your guidance, ensure safety &  welfare, be responsible to client's family, monitor their wellbeing, offer support for problems?
  • Communication - verbal, non-verbal, interviewing, educating clients/patients, interpersonal skills, great listening skills
  • Coaching skills - rapport building, goal setting, offer guidance rather than assert your own will
  • Problem solving skills - find solutions, enable clients to problem solve
  • Planning skills - giving instructions, demonstrations, planning schedules
  • Motivation skills - advising, leadership, facilitation, incentives

 Personal skills - commitment, self-discipline, patience, enthusiasm, flexibility, innovation, warmth, empathy

Starting a Career

Mentors van work formally or informally. There are formal mentoring schemes in some professions; sometimes operated by government bodies, industry associations, charities or employment services.

These schemes are often organised well, with guidelines to follow; and insurance coverage for mentors working under the scheme.

Working under such schemes is the best way to manage risks to both the mentor and client.

Some schemes may pay the mentor, others require mentors to be voluntary.
Start by finding and joining a mentoring scheme.
Work within professional development or education industries

Progressing a Career

  • Mentoring is a personally rewarding career but also offers you the opportunity to engage in your own professional development. Recruiters look favourable on people who take part in activities outside of the scope of their job.  
  • Mentors can move from mentoring within a workplace to setting up their own business.
  • Mentors engage actively in networking – this opens further opportunities for paid mentoring work as well as new job opportunities.
  • Mentors can move from mentoring to business coaching or visa-versa or offer both.
  • To progress in their careers - Mentors may manage their profile using networking, website, blogs etc.