The Roles and Responsibilities of a Mentor

In this article, we will be explaining what the roles and responsibilities of a mentor are and what they aren't.

Mentoring« Back to Articles

Mentoring, simply put, is the act of an individual supporting and guiding another individual to help them reach their goals. Mentoring can be used for many reasons such as career progression or learning new skills. When it comes to mentoring, it is typically done between two individuals known as the mentor and mentee. The mentor is typically a more experienced professional who provides guidance and support to their mentee.

A mentor and mentee relationship is easily one of the most valuable and important relationships people can have, coming with a huge number of benefits. This collaborative relationship is built on mutual respect and trust, with each individual having their own roles and responsibilities to make the relationship successful.

One of the most common questions we see is ‘What is the role of a mentor?’. This is an important question because the better individuals understand the roles and responsibilities, the easier it will be for them to effectively navigate a mentor and mentee relationship.

In this article, we will be explaining what the roles and responsibilities of a mentor are and what they aren't.

The Roles and Responsibilities of a Mentor

Being a mentor comes with numerous roles and responsibilities that they need to do if they want to be the best mentor ever and provide their mentee with the best mentoring and learning experience possible. The role of a mentor is to effectively provide help and guidance to their mentee to assist their development. Some of the key roles and responsibilities include:

• Mentors provide encouragement and motivation: A good mentor provides encouragement and motivation to their mentee, even during the most challenging times and situations. Everyone faces challenges in their life where they may feel disengaged, whether this is in their professional or personal journey, which is where a mentor is there to act as a source of support and motivation.
• Mentors act as role models: One of the main responsibilities faced by a mentor is acting as a role model for their mentee to look up to. A mentor acts as a prime example of professionalism, integrity and positive values. Mentors need to showcase the behaviour they expect to see from their mentees and inspire the mentees by sharing their own successes and ability to overcome challenges they have faced.
• Mentors offer feedback: Whilst feedback must go two ways in a mentoring relationship, the mentor needs to provide their mentee with honest and effective feedback to help them achieve their goals and grow both personally and professionally. The feedback allows for the mentee to fully understand areas where they can improve which is fundamental to growth.
• Mentors provide career guidance: Mentorship is invaluable for individuals looking to progress and develop within their careers. Mentors provide industry knowledge and guidance to help the mentees go further in their professional lives. The advice given means the mentee won’t make the same mistakes as the mentor and understand how to handle any hurdles they face.
• Mentors help set goals: If individuals want to see success they need to set goals and track their progress. A good mentor helps their mentee build SMART goals, which gives them something to work towards. Not only does this give the mentoring sessions a focus but allows for the mentee to understand the areas they need to focus on if they want to see growth.
• Mentors accelerate growth: The role of a mentor is to accelerate and enhance the growth of their mentee. The responsibilities of a mentor include helping the mentee develop their personal and professional skills, which can be achieved through feedback, dedication and guidance from the mentor. Mentors also help their mentees become more productive and organised which helps the mentee achieve their goals.
• Mentors act as a connector: Apart from helping their mentee enhance their networking skills, they also act as a connector. Mentors are typically seasoned professionals with a large variety of connections in their industries. Due to this, mentors act as a connector for the mentee and create valuable networking opportunities to help enhance the mentee's career.
• Mentors actively listen: Mentors need to actively listen to their mentees. A good mentor makes their mentee feel comfortable and safe enough to express their goals, thoughts, ideas and concerns freely without fear of negative critique. A mentor needs to be able to effectively listen to their mentee to help them come up with solutions.
• Mentors identify resources: From e-books to the latest trending podcast in the industry, a mentor needs to be able to identify and seek resources that they can share with their mentee. By finding these resources, they can help the mentee learn, develop and grow as they now have the right tools and resources to move forward.

Things the Role of a Mentor Doesn’t Include

Whilst there are several responsibilities and roles the mentor needs to take, there are many things they typically shouldn’t do. These include:

• Mentors aren’t judgemental: Mentors need to provide their mentees with a secure atmosphere where they can freely express how they feel. The role of a mentor is to actively listen to the concerns of the mentee and offer them the right guidance and support to move forward. A good mentor never judges their mentee or causes them to feel awkward when sharing their thoughts.
• Mentors don’t make decisions: The role of the mentor doesn’t include making decisions. It’s never up to the mentor to make decisions on behalf of their mentee. Instead, the mentor needs to provide perspectives and advice to help the mentee make their own decisions based on the support and guidance provided by the mentor.
• Mentors aren’t therapists: Whilst a mentor is there to offer you support, both emotionally and professionally, mentors usually aren’t trained therapists. Whilst they do act as a trusted advisor, they aren’t qualified to provide psychological help to those they mentor. A good mentor, however, can refer mentees to trained professionals if deeper emotional issues arise.
• Mentors don’t overstep boundaries: The goal of a mentoring relationship is for it to be as trusting and engaging as it can be. Although the role of the mentor is to get to know their mentee, they should never overstep boundaries and maintain a strictly professional relationship with their mentee. The mentor should never make it their responsibility to learn more about the mentee past their professional mentoring relationship.
• Mentors shouldn’t lead the relationship: In a mentoring relationship, it is actually the mentee who drives the relationship and mentoring process. The role of the mentor should never include managing the relationship and taking charge of things such as arranging meetings. The mentor is there to help but the mentee needs to be the one accountable for their learning and development.

Final Thoughts

Overall, a mentor plays a vital role in supporting the mentee's personal and professional development, helping them grow and recognise their full potential. Remember, mentoring relationships are unique to each individual, but typically, the rules stay the same. We do however suggest that before entering a mentoring relationship the mentor and mentee cover the expectations of each individual, communicating their needs and wants.

If you’re looking for a mentor, mentee, or both, you can sign up for PushFar for free today. We have an open network of over 100,000 members all looking to support each other professionally and personally.

Welcome to PushFar, the world's largest mentoring platform. Whether you're looking to find a mentor or launch your own mentoring programs and schemes, we can help.
Looking for a mentor or to become a mentor?
Join Now Free Running your own mentoring programs?
Request a Demo

Explore more articles...

Similar mentoring, career progression and learning articles and resources by PushFar, you might like to read.

Go Further, with PushFar.

What are you looking for in your mentoring journey?
Individual Mentoring - Join Free
Organisation Solutions - Request a Demo