1. What is mentoring?
2. What is the goal of CABE's Mentoring Program?
3. What are the features of a successful program?
4. How do I become a mentor?
5. How do I find a mentor?
6. What are mentors and who can get one?
7. Is mentoring really worth the time commitment?
8. What should I do if the mentoring relationship is not working? 
9. What would be expected of me as a mentor? 
10. What is the ideal mentoring relationship like? For example, what do the mentor and mentee discuss, and how long does the relationship last? 
11. What is the etiquette of mentoring?

1. What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a bona fide career development activity and should be recognized as such. For the purposes of this program, mentoring is broadly defined to include activities such as information sharing, informal teaching, and general career advice rather than job-specific coaching.

2. What is the goal of CABE's Mentoring Program?

The goal of the program is to enhance the career development of members by:

  • providing a better understanding of the different work practices of business economists in Canada;
  • offering avenues for support and advice;
  • increasing networks; and
  • opening the lines of communication between members.

Mentoring should be viewed as part of an overall strategy to encourage members to reach their full career potential. On its own, mentoring cannot meet all career-development needs.

3. What are the features of a successful program?

There a number of features that help to make a mentoring program successful. CABE has tried to take as many of these into account as possible. The literature suggests that the main features of a successful mentoring program are:

  • commitment from the mentors;
  • clear definitions of the roles of mentors, mentee, and liaison;
  • flexibility in design and structure;
  • good communication of the program; and
  • the understanding that mentoring provides long-term, rather than immediate, benefits.

The breadth of knowledge and experience within CABE is significant. In most mentoring programs, the shortage of mentors is a key and constant issue. Literature on mentoring, however, suggests that the mentors themselves were motivated by the experience; they felt that they were making a contribution, and that their expertise and experience were being well used.

4. How do I become a mentor?

Those interested in becoming mentors, should fill in the online application located on the CABE website. A Liaison may also contact a potential mentor. Mentors, under acceptable conditions, may be interestd in multiple-mentoring relationships.    

5. How do I find a mentor?

Complete the online application. Mentee candidates should identify their reasons for wanting a mentor and attach their curriculum vitae. Information that can assist the Liaisons include the following:

·          What particular goal(s) do you hope to achieve through the mentoring program?

·          What type of work, field, and/or industry would your ideal mentor be in?

·          Would you feel more comfortable dealing with a mentor of the same gender?

6. What are mentors and who can get one?

Mentors, in general, act as guides, advisers, and sounding boards. Mentors are people who wish to support other members and to help them in their career development. To do so, they draw largely on their own experience.                                                                                                    

If you want to enrich your work-life experience, discuss options with someone who will listen without judgment, and gain feedback from someone with a different perspective, mentoring offers an opportunity that should be given serious consideration.

Being a mentee means you are in the driver’s seat. You must initiate your participation in the mentoring program. Your comments enable a Liaison to assist you in finding a mentor. Once matched with a mentor, you have the freedom and responsibility to raise issues that are important to you. Open communication can result in a mutually satisfying relationship.

7. Is mentoring really worth the time commitment?

Mentoring takes very little time—usually one meeting per month.

The benefits of mentoring are far-reaching. By mentoring, you can develop a richer understanding of other individuals and their work environments and contribute to a workplace culture of openness, both of which lead to better work outcomes and a motivating environment in which to spend your workday.

Potential participants often have the perception that the activity will require too much of their time. In fact, this is generally not the case. The most important element is the quality (not the quantity) of time the mentee spends with the mentor.

8. What should I do if the mentoring relationship is not working?

First, review the agreement you had with your mentor/mentee and try to see why it is not working. Were the objectives of the relationship clearly laid out? Had you and your partner agreed on outcomes, the frequency of meetings, and the likely duration of the relationship? If not, asking these questions is a good starting point for isolating the problem. 

If you had a detailed agreement that simply derailed, you could initiate a conversation with your mentor/mentee about where and why this happened and try to come up with a mutually satisfactory go-forward plan. If the relationship still does not work, you may need to consider ending the relationship.

Keep in mind that mentoring relationships often move towards a point where most of the value has already been shared. The CABE mentoring program provides a yearly review, whereby participants should feel comfortable proposing that the relationship be ended.

If you need help or are unsure about how to proceed, please speak with your Chapter Liaison.

9. What would be expected of me as a mentor?

According to a study of seventeen mentoring programs, the most common responsibilities of mentors include:

  • acting as an adviser and Stand builder ;
  • establishing an atmosphere of trust;
  • facilitating the exploration of choices and possibilities;
  • providing information and instruction; and
  • acting as a role model.

Because of their work experience and knowledge, mentors can provide judicious and informed advice on career choices that can assist mentees meet their medium- and long-term objectives. Availability and openness are other qualities that make a good mentor.

10. What is the ideal mentoring relationship like? For example, what do the mentor and mentee discuss, and how long does the relationship last?

Since each mentoring relationship is unique, flexibility is key to the success of the relationship.

However, certain guidelines can be helpful. Generally, in an ideal mentoring relationship, mentors and mentees should:

  • establish well-defined objectives (such as "seek advice on career prospects," "gain a better understanding of a particular work environment");
  • discuss objectives and come to an agreement on what can be realistically achieved; and
  • commit to meeting regularly for a specified length of time.

The literature suggest that pairs usually meet, on average, for about an hour or two every month or so. Venues include, for example, offices, coffee shops, cafeterias, or restaurants. Exchanges also seem to be more fruitful when mentees suggest the topics to be discussed before a meeting, which allows mentors to prepare more adequately.

Mentoring pairs should occasionally review the state of their relationship and their progress in reaching their objectives. Mentoring relationships should have run their course after 12 months.

11. What is the etiquette of mentoring?

Since all mentors and mentees come to a relationship with different styles and expectations, one should be aware of the etiquette that exists in mentoring relationships. As with all interpersonal relationships, this means showing kindness, flexibility, and appreciation. More specifically, the following are some suggestions for successful mentoring partnerships.

Suggestions for Mentees:

  • take the initiative in the relationship (suggest topics to discuss and ask for advice)
  • be considerate of your mentor's time
  • listen attentively to all your mentor has to say, storing what seems irrelevant for some future use
  • be complete yet succinct in your comments and explanations
  • seriously consider all the advice you receive
  • show evidence that you've utilized the help; even if you used a different alternative, point out how the mentoring process helped you make your choice
  • show appreciation for every form of assistance your mentor gives you
  • make it easy for your mentor to give you constructive feedback (ask for it early)
  • assume that the relationship will be strictly professional
  • make only positive or neutral comments about your mentor to others
  • be prepared to move out of the relationship (at least the mentor-mentee aspect) after a period of time
  • keep the door open to return to your mentor at some point for advice or help
  • we encourage mentees to use the program for its intent and not as an opportunity to source a job.

 Suggestions for Mentors:

  • be proactive and engaged in the relationship (provide time to interact and suggest topics to discuss)
  • respect your mentee's time as much as your own
  • be explicit about your own needs and limits (e.g., time constraints, style of interacting)
  • expect mentees to move towards their (not your) goals
  • recognize and work through conflicts in caring ways
  • keep your relationship on a professional basis
  • make only positive or neutral comments about your mentee to others
  • be prepared to end the relationship (at least the mentor-mentee aspect) after a period of time
  • keep the doors open for your mentee to return in the future

Finally, being involved in a mentoring relationship is a privilege for both participants, so you should go out of your way to be gracious and thoughtful to each other.