The ASU Faculty Mentorship Program is committed to facilitating the formation of effective mentoring relationships.
The guidelines on this website are designed to provide a map to mentorship for both mentors and protégés.
These guidelines, however, should not be seen as the only resource available. The program encourages
you to consult the print and electronic references available on the program web site. Colleagues in
other professional associations are also excellent sources of background material on mentoring.
The program guidelines provide best practices, advice and hands-on worksheets that will enable both mentors and protégés to
enter into mentoring relationships more confident of each party's expectations and what can be accomplished. You will find
that to work effectively, the relationship should be driven by the protégé whose goals you are trying to achieve. It is strongly
recommended that both protégé and mentor keep track of how their relationship is developing by keeping a logbook.
Start by working through the website and reading the sections that pertain to your role in the potential mentoring
relationship. Find and read some of the many references listed under the "Resources" tab, if you would like additional detailed information.
Each semester, several faculty mentorship sessions will be scheduled to guide both mentors and protégés in the formal process and to provide
a forum for discussing ideas and topics of interest to those participating in the program. To participate, register yourself as a mentor or
protégé (as appropriate) using the "Register" tab. Pre-tenure faculty members should search the database of potential mentors using any
of several descriptors, such as name, college, academic department and research interests. After identifying one or more potential mentors,
a protégé may choose to approach the potential mentor to discuss the possibility of creating a formal mentoring relationship before continuing
the process as outlined on this website.
CRITICAL MENTORING SKILLS
There are specific core skills that everyone should use in a mentoring relationship. They are listed below.
Most of us have never been trained in how to listen to other people. While we may think we are pretty good listeners, most people don't listen as well as
they could. Some common traps and tips to avoid them include:
Stay focused on what the speaker is saying until it is your turn to talk. Don't formulate your answer until the other speaker is finished. You'll miss the end of his or her
Confirm and Affirm.
Check out what you have heard. You do this by playing back or summarizing, in your own words, what you think the other person has said. You might say, "So
you think your boss doesn't like you. Is that right?" or "So you feel that I should take a course in Effective Technical Writing?" Or check to see if you
understand how the other person feels. You might say, "You sound really frustrated or hurt." or "You sound frustrated with me." If you have truly heard
each other, you will notice how relieved the other looks when you affirm what you hear or sense. People rarely feel that they have been listened to and
understood. Confirmation is a powerful thing.
If you think your partner has it wrong, don't be afraid to express your concerns.
Ask Open Questions
Most of us do not excel in asking questions because we tend to ask questions that solicit a Yes/No answer - THE CLOSED QUESTION. It is better to ask
questions that give the person a chance to expand on the subject or their opinion - THE OPEN QUESTION. An example of a closed question might be to say, "Do
you like your job?" To turn that into an open question you might say, "How do you feel about your job?" Learning to do so enables you to understand each
other better and to develop a major life skill.
Read Body Language
Sometimes body language says much more than words do. Some examples:
Looking away - avoiding eye contact may mean discomfort, upset, disagreement, embarrassment
Crossed arms - anger, defensiveness, closed to the other's opinion
Head in hands - fatigue, upset
Moving backwards, tilting chair back - feeling space invaded
Fidgeting, foot tapping - anxiety, boredom
Hands covering eyes or mouth - sadness, shame
Avoid Communications Roadblocks
Some styles tend to get in the way of good interaction, for example:
- telling someone what to do
Threatening - telling someone that there is only one course of action, i.e. "If you don't pay attention to this problem, I will stop seeing you."
Preaching - telling someone how to behave
Avoiding - trying to avoid an uncomfortable situation in the hope it will just go away
Pacifying - trying to make someone feel better without having solved the problem
Lecturing - giving someone unsolicited advice
The following suggestions may help you develop rapport and build trust:
Call just to talk
Pick a good place to meet away from your offices
Help each other prepare and offer suggestions
Be on time
Set a comfortable tone
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Not everyone is suited to being a mentor or a protégé. The Mentor and Protégé sections of these guidelines outline desirable attributes or competencies that
are specific to either mentor or protégé.
The protégé should manage and set the goals for the relationship. After all, it is the development of the protégé that is primarily at stake. That is not
to say that the mentor does not have any input, but the protégé must be the one who takes responsibility for the process and outcomes.
In the context of the ASU program, a mentoring relationship does not exist to develop the protégé's technical skills. Any technical content should, at
most, be a very minor component of the relationship. Coaching to assist with technical or field specific skills could be developed through
professional development (PD) workshops facilitated by the respective college/department administrator (Dean /Chair/ Director, etc.) as well as through
PD/research units such as ORTT, ITTC, Sponsored Programs, ABI, etc.
Good mentoring takes time - time spent in active discourse and time preparing for meetings. It is recommended that the mentor and protégé be prepared to
commit to a minimum of two hours per month for mentoring activities, including preparation and review.
: The protégé must be able to contact the mentor easily. Mentors must respond in a timely fashion. Protégés may need a few moments of their mentor's time
on short notice. An important component of professionalism is the respect for the time of others. Define reasonable limits and identify demands that are
excessive or unreasonable.
: A good mentoring relationship promotes trust and open, honest, meaningful communication. The danger is that this relationship may be interpreted as a
more intimate one by either of the participants or by an outside observer. This can lead to spousal jealousy, gossip or hurt feelings. It is important to
be aware of these potential pitfalls and guard against them.
: Be sensitive to cultural and gender differences. One of the goals of these guidelines is the acclimatization of a great variety of individuals into the
professional and technical culture of Jonesboro and the United States of America. This does not negate the rights of individuals to their gender or culture, however different from
your own. Some of the most effective protégé/mentor matches involve very different individuals.
: Mentoring relationships between men and women can be subject to some unique complications. Men tend to value hierarchical relationships, while women tend
to emphasize cooperative efforts. Men and women often communicate with different speech patterns that can be an impediment to mentor-protégé
communication. Either of the participants may be unsure of what is appropriate behavior with the opposite sex within a mentoring relationship and there is
always the possibility of gossip. These issues are manageable if addressed early in the mentoring relationship.
Differences in culture
: While this often refers to differences in personal culture, it can also be applied to differences in professional, ethnicity or national culture. The
mentor and protégé must both be aware of these differences and respect them. Differences in college/program/department culture are especially important
when the mentor and protégé do not work for the same college/program/department. In that situation, the mentor must be sure to take differences into
account when dispensing advice.
In order for a mentoring relationship to succeed, it must be completely confidential. This is especially important when the participants share
personal/professional information with each other which relates to their work in different colleges/units/programs/departments on the ASU campus. Any
information that either the mentor or protégé receives/learns about participants in the program must be kept confidential and not be relayed to
their co-workers or exploited for personal gain.
This is a risk in any professional relationship. A mentor who supervises a protégé who is also an employee must take particular care to avoid favoring that
person. It is recommended that mentor/protégé pairs not be established between a protégé and a direct supervisor to help avoid these situations. Mentors
must evaluate their own effort in the relationship.
The purpose of a mentoring relationship is for the mentor to facilitate the protégé's development based on the mentor's greater experience. It is not for
mentors to mold their protégés into duplicates of themselves. Protégés must be allowed to develop in their own ways. A mentor can make suggestions about
what might best be accomplished but the final decision must be left to the protégé.
Terminating the mentoring relationship:
This important issue needs to be discussed early in a mentoring relationship in order to avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations. How will
participants know when the relationship has reached its conclusion and should be ended? How will the relationship be ended? Clear, early definition of this
issue will ensure that no one will feel guilty or hurt when the relationship has ended.