The NHS Leadership Academy states that “mentoring is different to coaching in terms of intent.” What this means in practice is that, whilst the relationship on the surface will appear very similar, (both encompassing confidential, protected space, listening, and commitment to development), the support and guidance of a mentee is often provided by someone with more experience and/or skill in the profession, service or specialty of the mentee.
The Standing Committee on Postgraduate Medical Education describes mentoring as “the process whereby a highly regarded person (mentor) guides another individual (mentee) in the development of his or her own ideas, learning, and personal and professional development.”
In Greek mythology, ‘Mentor’ is a character from Homer’s Odyssey; he was the wise and trusted friend and advisor of Odysseus and during the Trojan war, Mentor stayed behind in Ithaca to watch over his friends son.
You may seek out a mentor because they possess a particular quality you wish to develop. At its core, there is a belief that the mentor has more knowledge in a subject and is happy to impart this to the mentee. In this way, the relationship is fundamentally different from coaching. However, it is likely that the mentor, particularly if he or she has trained in mentorship, will deploy coaching skills, tools, and special questioning styles to help the mentee to develop
A trusted and respected mentor can be a source for
- Respected advice
- Introductions & networks
- Expert opinions
- Role Modelling behaviours
- Critical Friend
- Support during role transition