What Does a Mentor Do?
A mentor works on two levels, both supporting the mentee in meeting essential academic requirements and in helping her envision and take steps toward the career she desires. A mentor combines instruction in professional behavior with affective support. A mentor may fulfill all or a combination of roles. A mentor:
- Advocates – Offers sponsorship, provides exposure and visibility within the organization
- Acquires resources – Brings critical readings, opportunities, or experiences to the attention of the mentee
- Acts as a role model – Offers insight on how he or she “made it” in the organization
- Advises – Shares institutional and professional wisdom, critiques performance, makes suggestions
- Coaches – Helps a mentee learn new skills and practice new behaviors
- Protects – Helps a mentee find new and challenging opportunities within the organization while protecting her from adverse forces and “dead-end” job assignments
- Supports – Listens with a sympathetic ear, explains unwritten rules, and acknowledges disappointments and triumphs.1
1.NCWIT Mentoring-in-a-Box. National Center for Women & Information Technology, 2006.