SGSSS Career Pathways Mentoring Scheme

Welcome Pack

This is a Welcome Pack to support participants in the SGSSS Career Pathways Mentoring Scheme who have completed their introductory training, to put their new skills into practice. It assumes a shared understanding of mentoring as a specialist educational practice which involves more than the passing of advice from mentor to mentee. The resources below are designed to be accessed in numerical order:

1. building solid foundations

Below, find the slides from the Mentoring Welcome Workshop

2. cementing your understanding

Here are two short blog articles, and three brief videos that add detail to your learning from the Mentoring Welcome Workshop, and can be accessed in preparation for meeting and any time you both would like a refresher.

3. setting clear expectations

Using a mentoring ‘agreement’ or ‘contract’ is an essential professional and ethical competency. Don’t be inclined to leave important details like the purpose of the mentoring partnership, the aims, and what will and won’t be delivered, to chance or assumption. Failure to set out an agreement before starting the mentoring process, is a common cause of dissatisfaction in a mentoring partnership a major cause of disengagement from mentoring. Download and use the SGSSS Mentoring Agreement in your first meeting to:

  • outline clearly the purpose of the relationship, and where any professional boundaries lay;
  • specify what mentoring can and cannot offer;
  • state explicitly what you should expect of each other in terms of time and effort; and
  • agree the broad focus the mentoring sessions will take.

The template also contains links signposting other key support structures for SGSSS PhD researchers.

4. GETTING STARTED IN working together

Whilst mentoring is about responding to the development focus of the mentee, it can sometimes help you both to get off to a good start, by having a loose structure in mind for what you’d like to cover.

Mentees may want to start the process off by emailing over some defined questions about the mentor’s area of work. For example the key responsibilities, a typical ‘week in the life’, the recruitment process, a typical career path, the workplace culture, equality and diversity commitment, or to ask about the mentor’s career decision-making or transition experiences post-PhD. This will help to set the agenda for the first mentoring discussion online.

Below is a linked document with further ideas for what you could usefully cover in the four meetings, over the next six months.

5. feedback is key

Collaborate together to understand what works, and increase the impact of your mentoring sessions. Feedback from the mentee, offered and taken in the spirit of learning, and reflected on with an open mind, is a core way of making the most of the opportunity.

Try using or adapting the following questions after each meeting and think deeply about the answers you give and receive:

  1. How useful was the meeting for you, and why?
  2. What would like to focus on in the next session? What would you like to move away from?
  3. Did you notice your thoughts changing positively/negatively during the session?
  4. What activated this? Are you doing/do you plan to try out doing anything differently in the future?