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Mentoring Tips and Tricks

Have a glance at the Mentoring tips and tricks below. Who knows? It may provide a new perspective to your mentoring approach!


Preparation and Goals

  • What do they want to achieve?: Check at every session; “What would they like to get out of the session?” and at the end “What (things) will you take away from today’s session?”
  • Meeting Structure: Apply some form of structure to the initial sessions by asking the mentee to summarise the session and what has been discussed - which can also help them with goal setting for the next session!
  • Prepare for meetings: Prepare notes in advance of the session, and during the session to show your engagement.


  • Balancing small talk at the beginning: Whilst this helps, avoid falling into the trap of small talk that could take up the session.
  • Lost contact with mentee: Check in occasionally with a light-touch email to make the mentee feel comfortable getting in contact if they have decided to take a break from mentoring for a while. Former mentees have shared that this can make them feel its ok to re-establish contact.


  • Silent Mentoring Exercise: Ask the mentee to go away and write down all the things that they want from their dream job and matters to them, as sometimes what the mentee says they want and actually want are two different things. This can enlighten the mentee and can offer the mentor the opportunity to help clarify their goals.
  • Empty Chair Exercise: When the mentee is going through a difficult situation in their career, ask them to sit across from their imaginary 'interviewer' or 'colleague' and have a conversation. Afterwards, get them to stand up and observe the situation as an outsider, and then imagine the perspective of the colleague/interviewer. This can help the mentee with problem solving and breaking down barriers.


  • Internalising: Avoid internalising the mentee issues or allow those to affect your wellbeing – set boundaries, use the frameworks/guidelines from WBS. It is ok to say to your mentee, that you’re not an expert in ‘x’ and if appropriate signpost.
  • Earning Trust: Be patient in earning the trust of the mentee and giving them your trust so that you can foster a good relationship, and understand that both you and the mentee should be open to the mentoring relationship.
  • Celebrate Successes: Remember to celebrate your mentee’s achievements and successes. Sometimes, recognising their achievements rather than pointing out their weaknesses will help build confidence (and trust).


Getting Organised

  • Mentoring notebook: Dedicate a notebook, or online space, to mentoring. Jot things down in-between meetings, as they happen, to help build the issues, challenges or areas you’d like to discuss.
  • Reflections: Take a moment to reflect after the session. Jot down any thoughts, or subsequent areas you’re uncertain or the light bulb moments.
  • What’s worked: Share with your mentor what has helped since you last met. For example: "… you really made me think about ‘x’." The issue may still be there and you may wish to explore it further – if so, let your mentor know or it may have given you want you need to move forward. This can provide direction to your mentoring sessions.


  • Own the Process: Remember that you own the process, as the purpose of mentoring is to help you achieve your goals. You are in charge of the mentoring sessions, as they should be tailored around your preferences and goals.
  • Keep track: Keeping a diary log of what you have done during sessions/setting goals can be used to keep track of progress!
  • Stay focused: Help yourself to stay focused by setting some short-term goals which are stepping stones to your overall goal - this will improve your motivation as you pass each milestone.
  • Contact: If you realise that having mentoring sessions at the moment is not productive to your goals or you have too much going on, take a pause in sessions but also understand you can reach back out at any time. This does not mean that you are not trying to reach your goals, and your mentor will understand. Just ensure that you have both agreed when to get in contact/how you can get back in contact.


  • Gratitude: Thanking your mentor and showing gratitude for them helping you is important in maintaining a positive relationship. For example, it could be a simple acknowledgement that the session has helped or made you feel better about a situation or helped to confirm your thinking.
  • Show weaknesses: Allow yourself to be vulnerable to the mentor so they can help you to improve your weaknesses. It can be intimidating when you first meet your mentor, as they are in the position you aspire to be in, or have more work experience. However, putting up a wall or putting on bravado won't help you, even if it feels safe.
  • Understand you are not being judged: Your mentor is there to provide a comfortable, non-judgmental space. They may gently challenge you at times, but this will be in regards to your goals and whether they align with your beliefs and ideals.
  • Achievements: Sharing successes as well as disappointments/things to work on is a great way to motivate both you and your mentor.