Guidance for Advisors

RESPONSIBILITIES OF BEING A MENTOR

Initiate Contact. The Mentor initiates contact with his/her protege. During the first phone call or meeting, the mentor and protege should jointly discuss their expectations of the mentoring relationship. Together they should decide how often to meet, the normal length of each meeting, and the most convenient locations for these meetings.

Be Candid. Your responsibility to your protege is to provide an honest and objective look at their situation. In assessing their approach to a problem, give them your opinion of both the technical and personnel/political ramifications.

Share Your Professional Experiences. Describe your specific projects and responsibilities, including the technical and political aspects that you deal with on a day-to-day basis. Use personal experiences to enhance discussions of engineering career opportunities and advancement.

Guide Your Protege in Career Development. Help your protege identify and achieve appropriate career development milestones.

Be a Resource. Assist your protege in joining professional societies and organizations. Make introductions to contacts within your informal network. Help him/her to understand the OPDIV and “the system”.

Be Available. While it may not always be possible to meet your protege on a regular basis, the telephone and e-mail can help to keep the relationship going during hectic times. Other ways to keep in touch may include: have breakfast or coffee, attend a seminar or society meeting, tour your workplace or other facilities, and attend EPAC events.


BENEFITS OF BEING A MENTOR

Make a Positive Impact. Working with a protege allows mentors the opportunity to make a positive contribution to the professional development of less experienced employees. It’s a win/win situation that will enhance both the individuals involved and the organization to which they belong.

Shape the Future. By volunteering to serve as a mentor, you are helping to shape the future of the Public Health Service. Your suggestions and ideas will have a lasting and broad impact when shared with a protege.

Refine Interpersonal Skills. Mentors will be challenged to develop their own interpersonal skills while working with proteges. Skills such as communication, employee motivation, and human relations will be enhanced. Those with experience as a mentor will be more valuable to their organizations.

Set Goals. By helping another employee establish and achieve meaningful and challenging goals, mentors themselves will learn anew the skills and value of effective goal setting techniques.

Personal Contact. Mentors relate on a personal level in what is sometimes a large and impersonal organization. Mentors add valuable personal contributions that serve to enrich the work environment of their fellow employees.

Gain Career Perspective. Mentors will gain perspective on their own goals and performance. Mentors will also be able to measure their own achievements and contributions made to their organization.