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Informal Mentoring: A Guide for Mentees

Informal mentoring is a flexible form of mentoring, with the mentor and mentee determining the purpose, duration and goals of the relationship themselves. Read on to find out more about Trinity's informal mentoring program.

To participate in the informal mentoring program, join My Trinity Connect now.

How does informal mentoring work?

Usually it’s the mentee who makes contact with a potential mentor to request mentorship to assist with a particular need, task or situation. In this sense, it can be said that the relationship arises on an ‘as needed’ basis. The advantage of this is that you can more easily create a network of mentors to support you for different reasons at different stages in your life.

Why you need a mentor?

Mentoring is a powerful social tool for the simple reason that we humans need others to learn from and support us in finding our niche in the world.  Often in life we become stuck, paralysed by choice and unsure about how to grow or get moving again. This is where a mentor can come in handy. By consulting someone with more lived experience or expertise than us, we can see our options more clearly, learn from their stories and renew our motivation for action.

Whether it’s an unexpected challenge, a warning against potential potholes on a road they’ve already travelled down or unadulterated encouragement, a good mentoring experience can really help you navigate your way forward.

Tips for Mentees:
  • Understand your reasons for seeking a mentor –  this will help you in your search for the right person. Try to at least identify a broad theme. Common reasons include access to industry insights and knowledge; support and guidance when making career decisions; country specific advice and cultural knowledge; and constructive feedback.
  • Contact and logistics – the onus is on you to make contact with a potential mentor. When organising logistics, try to make it easy for your mentor. If you’re after a face-to-face meeting for example, offer to buy them a coffee at a time and place convenient to them.
  • Learn to be an active listener – it’s important to be open minded and give your mentor space to share their story, opinions or advice. You may not agree with what they say at the time, but you’ll learn the most if you really listen and explore their viewpoints thoroughly.
  • Follow up – mentors often like to be kept in the loop about how their advice and guidance has impacted on your decision-making or performance. For example, if you went to them for interviewing advice for a particular job, email them after you’ve been to the interview to let them know how you got on.
  • Thank your mentor – make sure your mentor knows you value their time and insights. The way you express it is up to you. Just make it heartfelt.
Read about the Trinity informal mentoring program here.

Category: Supporting