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Below are some extracts from our Mentoring manual.

Mentoring Skills



What are the benefits of mentoring?

Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying, 'Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn. “

Learning through experience, from our own or others, is by far one of the most effective ways to learn new skills and affect positive change.


Below we have highlighted just some of the benefits:

Mentees benefit from Mentors

  • Provide information and knowledge
  • Find new ways to stimulate personal and professional growth
  • Sounding boards to bounce ideas off them for an unfiltered opinion
  • Help them to not make the same mistakes
  • See improvements when we sometimes cannot
  • Create necessary boundaries that we cannot (or will not) set for ourselves
  • Trusted advisors
  • Great connectors to other people in the organisation or industry


  • Better relationships lead to better communication
  • Improved decision making
  • Faster people development – knowledge, skills and experience
  • A shorter learning curve that means staff can do their jobs more effectively
  • We don’t keep making the same mistakes – improved best practice


  • Achieve personal career gains
  • Enhance leadership skills
  • Help shape the leaders of tomorrow
  • Gain the intrinsic rewards of helping others


Mentoring Relationship Process

Stage 1 Getting to Know Each Other

You may already know the person you are going to mentor, they may be a colleague, team member or even a direct report. So do we need to think about the relationship? The simple answer is yes. Even if we have an existing relationship it’s essential to enter into the mentoring relationship with a clear view and understanding of the expectations from all parties.

What do we need to do at this stage?

Establish the expectations of the relationship

Be supportive and create a comfortable and reassuring environment

What actions should we take at this stage?

Get to know each other personally

Identify the mentees learning needs for their career and professional development


Stage 2 Goal Setting

At this stage we need to begin setting the expectations of learning. The Mentoring Contract mentioned earlier will help define specific goals and the approach to meetings and communication.
What do we need to do at this stage?

Establish the expectations of learning

Help identify learning opportunities at work that will work towards technical or theoretical knowledge

Suggest learning that relates to their development or the profession (this could be outside of the organisation), useful contacts, reference materials, websites

Encourage the mentee to come up with lots of ideas

What actions should we take at this stage?

Set SMART objectives:





Time bound

Check that the Mentor Contract is still relevant and no changes need to be made.


Mentoring Skills

In this section we’ll explore what skills are required to get the best from the relationship.

Facilitative Vs. Directive Mentoring

Knowing when to challenge and when to instruct to get the best results.


Demonstrate methods and techniques

Give clear and specific instructions

Help the mentee make fewer mistakes


When could this approach be used?

Mentee new to the role, organisation or industry

Time constraints

What are then benefits/ drawbacks of using this style?

Benefits – Mentee learns specific things faster, learn from mentor’s mistakes

Drawbacks – Mentee not learning from their own experience, learning may not stick in the long run


Listen more, talk less

Help them make connections

Do not do the work for them

Share ideas and opinions

When could this approach be used?

At any point

What are then benefits/ drawbacks of using this style?

Benefits – Mentee learns from their own experience and mistakes, the learning sticks

Drawbacks – Requires more time and skill to ensure the full benefits are realised

Asking Questions

Different types of questions will get different effects.

It should come as no surprise that asking great questions illicit a great response. Here’s the Dummies Guide to Ten Tips For Asking Good Questions (read more here )

No one says everything you want to hear in the exact order, depth, and detail that you prefer. That’s why the chief tool of a good listener is a good question. Well-crafted questions can stimulate, draw out, and guide discussion.

  1. Plan your questions. Before your meeting, outline your information goals and a sequence of related questions to help you follow the conversation and cue your notes.
  2. Know your purpose. Every question you ask should help you gather either facts or an opinion. Know which kind of information you need and frame your questions accordingly.
  3. Open conversation. Unlike simple yes-or-no questions, open-ended questions invite the respondent to talk — and enable you to gather much more information. “What do you like best about this company?” is likely to generate more valuable information than “Do you like this company?”
  4. Speak your listener’s language. Relate questions to the listener’s frame of Use neutral wording. Asking leading questions, such as “How’d you like the terrific amenities at the office here?” is unproductive. Because the question expresses a glowing opinion of the venue, the other person isn’t likely to say anything negative about it, even if he hated the place. He hasn’t altered his feelings; he just hasn’t expressed them, and you’ve lost an opportunity to influence him. A neutral question that elicits accurate information or an honest opinion — such as “How did you like it?” — is much more helpful.
  5. Follow general questions with specific ones. Build a hierarchy of questions that begins with the big picture and gradually drills down into specifics with follow-up questions.
  6. Focus your questions so they ask one thing at a time. To get more complete answers, craft short questions, each of which covers a single point. If you really want to know two different things, ask two different questions.
  7. Ask only essential questions. If you don’t really care about the information that’s likely to come, don’t ask the question. Respect the other person’s time and attention to avoid appearing resistant to closing the deal.
  8. Don’t interrupt. Listen to the full answer to your question. The art of good questioning lies in truly wanting the information that would be in the answer.
  9. Transition naturally. Use something in the answer to frame your next question. Even if this takes you off your planned path for a while, it shows that you’re listening, not just hammering through your agenda, and it ensures that the conversation flows naturally.


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