Mentoring is support and guidance by experienced professionals in a particular field to develop the professionalism of those less experienced. Mentoring partnerships are particularly beneficial when strong connections are built between individuals who share professional interests.
Those who can benefit are new graduates entering an engineering job, an engineer changing jobs or moving into a new technology, an engineer wanting to progress his/her career, an engineer having to deal with adversity, just to name a few examples.
Why become a Mentor? As an experienced professional, you can share your experience and help guide less experienced professionals who are either starting in a new professional field or just seeking advice from a more experienced.
Why have a Mentor? As a mentee, IEEE Members at any stage of their professional journey, especially when just getting started, can receive insights and guidance on how to best navigate their career for a specific technical pursuit or leadership positioning.
The IEEE Mentoring Program is an online program that facilitates the matching of IEEE members for the purpose of establishing a mentoring partnership. The IEEE Mentoring Program is accessible through IEEE Collabratec, which provides all members of IEEE the ability to establish a mentoring partnership in just a few easy steps. Please find instructions how to access the platform here. The platform allows mentees to search and identify mentors with the relevant professional experience.
Benefits of Mentoring
Mentoring can benefit both parties. As well as helping the mentee develop and advance through their career, the mentor can gain extra skills and understanding from the partnership.
- Mentoring helps both the mentee and the mentor recognize their abilities and limitations, thus highlighting areas for future development.
- It helps prompt thought about career development and come to a realistic conclusion about their career potential. It can help increase the motivation of both the mentee and the mentor. The mentee gains a new direction or perspective while the mentor feels a sense of achievement when their mentee succeeds.
- It will develop communication skills. As well as the obvious listening/questioning skills, you will gain experience of talking to a younger or older colleague. This could help you interact better with your own immediate colleagues at work or university.
- You will be grooming future allies. Within the same company, this could help with internal promotion prospects for both the mentee – gaining a senior supporter, and for the mentor – being seen as someone able to communicate with staff at any level and with an interest in developing future leaders within the company. In addition, the mentor or mentee may find themselves in a position where they are looking for a career change or new position. By developing contacts in other companies, you can find out early if there is a vacancy that would suit you.
- A mentor can provide guidance and support for carrier development
- A mentor can help to develop specific skills and competency
- A mentor can provide a welcome point of stability during a time of change
- A mentor can provide guidance on areas you are unfamiliar with, such as attending interviews or pitching to a client.
- A mentor will be an independent voice, outside your direct sphere of activity. You can bounce ideas off them without fear of comeback.
- Mentoring provides an opportunity to share knowledge and experiences
- Your mentee can provide a fascinating link to what is happening in the younger, less experienced part of industry or business.
- Your mentee can update you on current issues as they happen.
- By discussing issues with your mentee, you will be renewing and developing your communication skills.
- Mentors mentoring final year students may find it a useful way to talent spot for later recruitment. This would be especially true for SMEs where there may only be an intake of one graduate per year.
The benefits will depend on what you are looking for.
- An undergraduate could gain valuable advice on exam techniques from a PhD student.
- A final year BSc student could discuss job searching and career options with a recent graduate.
- A final year PhD student could benefit from discussing their options with a post-doc or an experienced business executive.
- By choosing a mentor within your own company, you can get a more senior handle on internal politics.
- A mentor from an external source would generally give you more freedom to discuss cultural issues concerning your department or hierarchy.
Members thinking about or taking a career break
- Both men and women take breaks at points during their careers.
- By choosing a mentor who has already taken a career break you will gain useful knowledge on how to tackle this.
- Members on a career break may find a mentor a useful way to stay in touch with the wider community, especially when thinking about returning to work.
Members experiencing redundancy
- A mentor can discuss strategies for re-entering employment.
- If the mentor has been through a similar experience, they will be able to advise you on any activities that will help you maintain your competence during your period away from work.
Members considering becoming or practicing as a consultant
- Becoming a consultant is not something that is done on a whim, so by choosing a mentor who has already done this, you will have access to valuable advice on the process you need to go through.
- A mentor with experience of employing consultants will be able to advise you on the average rates and give you advice on bidding for work from the client’s point of view.