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The Human Resources Institute of New Zealand

Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ) is the professional body for those involved in Human Resource Management and the development of people.

HRINZ represents the interests of 3,000+ individual members who make up around 45% of the known New Zealand HR market. Read More

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What is Mentoring?

There are many definitions for what mentoring is about. Mentoring in simple terms can be defined as a relationship or link established between someone who is experienced and someone who is not. The experienced mentor will share with the mentee their lessons learned and any relevant insights that the mentee may benefit from when confronting life or career issues.

The relationship is facilitated by a specific mentoring agenda comprising several mentoring processes (initiated usually by the mentor) with the goal being that the mentee achieves or at least moves toward achieving their personal goals and/or professional career goals.
Mentoring relationships can typically last 12 to 18 months and this will of course vary depending on the needs of both parties. Agreement will be entered into by both parties, agreeing on how regularly both parties will meet and what goals the mentee wishes to achieve.

All activities need to be monitored and assessed to see if they are heading in the right direction and achieving the right results. Mentoring is no exception.  Mentors and mentees should incorporate, within their discussion time, a periodic opportunity to review their relationship and ensure that everything is on track.

As mentioned earlier, mentoring relationships typically last 12 to 18 months and this will of course vary depending on the needs of both parties. The HRINZ programme does not have any hard and fast guidelines about the duration of the relationship, common sense should prevail. Mentoring relationships end for several reasons, some planned and some unplanned: When the objectives of the relationship have been achieved it is usually obvious that the relationship should wind up (in the case that the mentee has achieved targeted skill or career goals), or when the mentee is moving away from the area.

Role of the Mentor and Mentee?

The role of the Mentor and mentee should be clarified before an agreement is entered into, to ensure that the roles are understood to avoid crossing any boundaries. Clarification of these roles will provide a sturdy foundation and useful check point for the mentor and mentee:

Mentors are:

• Facilitators
• Respected as high achievers
• Promoters of "knowing the ropes" and can help you "learn the ropes"
• Discreet and good at maintaining confidentiality
• Supportive and encourage the growth of your career
• Enablers who help you achieve desired skill levels
• Partners who provide support where requested and don't drag you kicking and screaming towards self-improvement

Mentors are not:

• Counselors or psychologists
• A mentee's work horse
• A recruitment agent
• Your own personalised problem solver, doing it all for you
• Mind readers

Mentees are:

• Willing students/learners who actively participate in the mentoring relationship
• Keen to improve a level of skill and will willingly take advice from experienced others
• Wanting to keep their career on track

Mentees are not:

• Afraid to let go of a bit of their ego to learn something new or better
• A mentors work horse
• A new appendage to the mentors family or work life
• A candidate for jobs in the mentors workplace or sphere of influence

Face to face communication is the usual way to meet, however, geographical distance has not been a disadvantage for many years given the advances in technology and the variety that is available today, for example: telephone conference, video calling such as Skype, instant messaging email, etc.

Mentoring Programmes

HRINZ operates a Mentoring Programme which is free to all members and is a semi-formal partnership based around the principles and ground rules set out in this document and the HRINZ Mentoring Agreement. HRINZ programme does recommend that relationship last between twelve and eighteen months, or as common sense should prevail.

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Disclaimer: This information has been written for and submitted to HRINZ for publication and has been published in good faith for the general information of HRINZ Members of the Institute. HRINZ accepts no legal responsibility for the contents of the Knowledge Base and appropriate professional advice and assistance should be sought in particular cases.

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