Just What is a Mentor, Anyway?

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IPEd National Mentoring Program update

Here is a quote from our program’s Guidance Notes:

In the context of this program, we are talking about one aspect of professional development, namely mentoring. A mentor is in a two-way mutually beneficial relationship with a mentee. A mentor aims to help the mentee to develop personally, provides advice, shares experiences and wisdom, guides the mentee to make his or her own decisions, but never does work for the mentee. A coach is engaged to provide strategies and to help the coachee to learn and develop skills for a very specific goal. A teacher imparts knowledge and skills to a student and sees that the student does the practice to develop those skills and assesses the results of the teaching at all stages.

In this program, we have used the words mentor and mentee. There may indeed be some specific goals set by the mentee and there may indeed be a need for the mentor to teach the mentee some new skills. Mentoring is often long-term, but can be arranged for short, very specific needs. There are some aspects of teaching, coaching and counselling in mentoring. However, the relationship is more that of a trusted friend and driven by the personal needs of the mentee not imposed on the mentee.

At the end of a mentorship, we ask the mentor to assess the mentee’s progress and make any necessary recommendations for further mentoring, training, or anything else that may be of benefit to the mentee. Editing is largely a skills-based activity, so some teaching or guidance in the development of advanced editing skills and subsequent assessment of personal development in these skills is inevitable in this mentoring program.

If you would like to read more about mentoring in general, please ask us. You could start by reading from Elizabeth Manning Murphy’s book, Working Words, published by the Canberra Society of Editors, 2011, Canberra (see page 8).

Write to us if you would like to receive a copy of the Guidance Notes. Or visit the National Mentoring Program on the IPEd website for more details.

Elizabeth Manning Murphy DE

Ted Briggs AE

Joint National Coordinators