The Mentoring Life Cycle

It’s fitting that January, the month of resolutions and reflection, is also National Mentoring Month. Mentoring is a nurturing process; it involves teaching, encouraging and counselling a less experienced person to promote professional and personal development.

Many communities and organizations host mentoring programs. As a mentor, you will not only be encouraging future leaders to find success in their careers, but you will also be rewarded with your own personal growth through learning a new way of thinking.

Participating as a mentor never demands much time. The typical mentoring life cycle involves only a few stages.

Initial Period

In the beginning of a mentoring relationship, mentors and protégés follow an action plan. They meet regularly to discuss how learning has progressed. They may change their action plan to address learning objectives that arise as the relationship evolves.

In general, two things usually happen during this early part of the mentoring relationship:

  • Protégés realize they still have a lot to learn about their jobs. They usually defer to the mentor’s judgment and experience.
  • Mentors are motivated because they see that their help and advice are needed and appreciated.

Over Time

The relationship between mentors and protégés will undergo some changes. As skills and self-confidence develop, protégés become less and less dependent. This happens over time as the protégés master the basics and begin to explore the more advanced aspects of their work. Mentors may gradually find that it is harder to offer help, but that doesn’t mean the mentoring relationship is at an end. Rather, it’s an indication that the relationship has moved into another phase.

Mentors may have to take on a different role at this stage: they become less of an information-provider and more of a counselor. During this period, mentors may have to rely on their instincts to tell them when protégés need outside guidance. As protégés’ skills become more and more refined, discussions may turn to topics outside the mentors’ areas of expertise, such as:

  • Workplace conflicts that affect performance.
  • Personal issues that affect performance.
  • Need for more training or education.
  • Desire to move into a more demanding job.

When this happens, mentors need to know where to draw the line. They must be ready to refer their protégés to others who can provide them with the appropriate guidance.

In the End

Many relationships develop into a friendship that lasts for years. Ideally though, mentors strive to make themselves dispensable. After all, the goal of the mentoring relationship is to grow one’s abilities and one day have them take their rewarding experience and encourage future leaders through the same support and direction passed down to them.

If you or someone you know would like to become a biotech mentor, contact us via email, or by calling 613-235-1402 ext 234 today. Your experience can help build a career.