A mentor can share with a mentee (or protégé) information about their own career path, as well as provide guidance, motivation, emotional support and role models. A mentor can help you explore careers, set goals, develop contacts, and identify resources. Mentoring is about building a relationship of trust. Mentors can serve as a sounding board in situations where the mentee is faced with a challenge or difficult decision.
Examples include the challenges of evaluating if a job is “right”, how to deal with a difficult boss, or managing work-life balance. In these environments, there are no “right answers”. Therefore, the role of the mentor is to accompany the learner on a path of discovery. In doing so, the mentor can also benefit from watching the colleague's growth and development.
Coaching is technical support focused on developing techniques that effective team members should know and be able to apply, while mentoring includes the broader context and the appropriate process for development to learn the technique and the professional and personal skills and concepts needed for success. Sponsorship can complement training and mentoring by helping the process of identifying and exploring new opportunities for the developing leader. In an organization that adopts a “coaching culture”, organizational leaders can and should encourage people at all levels to interact proactively with a coach, mentor, and sponsor. To facilitate this process, the sponsor (who can also be a current or former coach or mentor) should familiarize themselves with the colleague's aspirations and abilities.
The Coaching Certification Center offers a comprehensive mentor training program for accreditation. Sponsorship can cover a spectrum of different types of support, ranging from a private mentoring relationship to a more public promotion function. Mentoring is the comprehensive description of everything that is done to support the guidance and professional development of those protected. While some of this work can be done alone, the support of a coach, mentor, and sponsor can substantially improve the process.
In addition, coaching with mentors means that an applicant (mentee) is trained on their training skills rather than training them on practice development, life balance, or other topics unrelated to the development of the applicant's training skill. According to the International Federation of Coaches, “the ICF defines coaching with mentors as the provision of professional assistance to achieve and demonstrate the levels of training competence required by the desired level of credentials sought by a requesting coach (apprentice). Above all, the mentor must be a source of encouragement, especially in the difficult days of the COVID pandemic, when “the fatigue caused by COVID represents a continuous challenge that exhausts the energy and motivation of frontline public health workers.”.