AMP – About Mentoring

Mentoring is a system of semi-structured guidance whereby one person shares their knowledge, skills and experience to assist others to progress in their own lives and careers. Mentors need to be readily accessible and prepared to offer help as the need arises – within agreed bounds. It is more than ‘giving advice’, or passing on what your experience was in a particular area or situation. It’s about motivating and empowering the other person to identify their own issues and goals, and helping them to find ways of resolving or reaching them – not by doing it for them, or expecting them to ‘do it the way I did it’, but by understanding and respecting different ways of working.

  • Mentoring can be a short-term arrangement until the original reason for the partnership is fulfilled (or ceases), or it can last many years.
  • Mentoring is not counseling or therapy – though the mentor may help the mentee to access more specialised avenues of help if it becomes apparent that this would be the best way forward.

Mentors very often have their own mentors, and in turn their mentees might wish to ‘put something back’ and become mentors themselves – it’s a chain for ‘passing on’ good practice so that the benefits can be widely spread.

This may be the first occasion that you join an academic institution as an employee. It is possible that you are introduced to many academic and professional aspects of your life within a short period. This academic mentoring program has been designed to help you in your professional, personal and career related activities and for you to become a successful academic in your field and a successful employee in the Faculty of Medicine, Colombo.

Following your appointment, you are given the freedom to identify a mentor who will be more experienced and more qualified than what you are now. You are encouraged to make use of this opportunity during your probationary period. Following are some useful guidelines.

  1. Upon assumption of duties, you will identify a mentor of your choice within a period of 6 months, with the guidance of your HoD if necessary. You will then inform the AMP and AMP will register both of you in the program.
  2. Following this selection, it will be useful to meet your mentor in person, and as early as possible, preferably within 1 month of your AMP registration. It will also be beneficial to discuss with the HoD and develop a basic plan on what your future plans and your departmental considerations are, prior to your first mentoring session.
  3. You are expected to meet frequently (eg: every other month) during the first year and then less frequently (min. 4 times) if you wish, during subsequent years.
  4. You will participate at the mentorship facilitation activities held by the AMP on a periodic manner.
  5. You will be expected to submit annual reports to the AMP. This will include a self-evaluation and a check list together with an endorsement from your mentor.
  6. You will also submit a summary to the annual appraisal forms of the department.
  7. Some tips on making use of the program in an effective manner,
    1. Always make sure to arrange the time, venue and mode for your meetings, in consultation with the mentor. Meetings will be effective only when both of you are comfortable about the settings.
    2. It is worth spending some time prior to the sessions, thinking on what should be discussed. This will save time of both you and your mentor.
    3. Keep a pre-prepared check list of items for your mentoring sessions. This will allow you to utilize your time effectively. If possible let your mentor have the agenda prior to the meeting.
    4. Identify answers to key questions at early stages,
      1. What are your expectations?
      2. What are your academic interests?
      3. What kind of assistance do you expect from your mentor? (eg: advice, information, sharing knowledge, directions to resources, skills development, technical support, something else? )
    5. You are expected to take responsibility in decision making, action and the effects of your action.  ‘Quick fixes’ cannot be expected from a mentor.
    6. Be professional in your relationship with the mentor (being punctual, respecting the agreed ground rules and speaking the truth etc.).
    7. You can keep the discussion content confidential if you wish to do so, when necessary.
    8. In addition to the formal AMP that you will receive, you will understand that you will be receiving guidance, support and encouragement from your superiors, colleagues and even subordinates in a numerous way and at various occasions. These are ways of informal mentoring, which is no inferior neither useless. You should not refrain yourself from approaching any other means of improving yourself just because of the availability of this program.
  1. Mentor will be usually a person not involved in the routine administrative framework of the mentee.
  2. Mentor is normally a person not involved in mentees promotional procedures. However, in the event that a mentor is invited for such an activity he/she may disclose the fact that individual concerned is his/her mentee.
  3. Mentor is expected to assist and guide with regard to the requirements and expectations of the mentee and the department/unit concerned.
  4. Three parties may come to an agreement (mentor, mentee and the Heads of Department -HoD) on a common format for the procedure to be used during the program. For this, mentee can develop an individual career development plan as a base line reference for the mentoring sessions.
  5. Mentor’s main role will be to support a mentee’s professional, career and academic development.
  6. Mentor will not be supervising or managing mentees activities or be officially responsible for any output/act of the mentee.
  7. Mentors are requested to provide general support by being a critical friend and a source of advice and support in different roles expected from the mentee (teaching, research, administration and any other special tasks defined by the institution).
  8. First formal meeting is preferably conducted face to face and expected within 1 month following identification of a mentor, except for mentees who are overseas. They are encouraged to use other e-modes of communication.
  9. It is expected to hold frequent sessions while there is flexibility for the mentor and mentee to work out other modes of discussions.
  10. There will be facilitation programs conducted by the AMP from time to time. Mentors are encouraged to participate in these programs.
  11. In the event that the mentor is away for a long period of more than the interim period between their two regular mentoring sessions, mentors are expected to work out a practical plan for the interim period (eg; skype, e mentoring, introduce a temporary assistance, HoD to take over etc. the best way will be decided by the mentor, mentee and HoD).
  12. A mentor can introduce other personalities to a mentee if required (eg; Introduce a researcher who is working on a similar project where mentee is looking for technical advice).
  13. Mentor is expected to maintain confidentiality of the mentoring sessions and release reports accordingly in a constructive manner.
  14. Mentor may keep brief records of key mentoring sessions and maintain confidentiality when required.
  15. Mentorship program will be considered complete upon obtaining confirmation by the mentee. However, mentees are encouraged to continue for longer periods.
  1. Identify mentee’s long term goals and the institutional requirements expected from the mentee.
  2. Decide on the time, mode, venue and frequency of mentoring sessions together with the mentee in a mutual agreement in such a way that mentee will benefit and you will be comfortable to devote that time and effort for a mentoring session.
  3. Encourage your mentee to respect each other’s time and other responsibilities, ensuring that they do not impose beyond what is reasonable.
  4. Create an encouraging and a friendly environment so that mentee is comfortable to discuss the issues of concern.
  5. Framework of each discussion should be managed by the mentor and mentee. Educate that the mentee should take responsibility for the content.
  6. Listen actively and demonstrate enthusiasm in what mentee is going to say, but you should hold the focus on the agenda of the mentee.
  7. Decide on appropriate approaches for a mentee who is not adequately focused or progressing.
  8. Mentees are guided to make decision and take action while mentor does not act on behalf of the mentee. Mentors can reflect upon the consequences of such action.
  9. Guide and assist the mentee to understand the long term image of the career and the mentorship process, if the mentee is focused on day to day things only.
  10. Take an interest in the mentee’s progress.