Manchester Gold Mentees
Mentoring provides an invaluable opportunity to focus on your career development, supported by a more experienced University colleague. Previous mentees on the scheme have signed up for some of the following reasons:
- Develop managerial or supervisory skills
- Assist with specific goals, such as achieving academic promotion
- Help define future career goals more clearly
- Discuss ways of balancing research and teaching
- Learn more about the way the University functions, and possible career routes available
- Discuss experiences related to equality and inclusion
- Explore ways of increasing grant success
- Get a different perspective on a specific work-related problem
- Consider how to increase the number of research papers you write and get accepted
- Address work / life balance
- Expand networks
- Develop specific skills
Feedback from mentees on the 2022 programme:
- My Mentor provided me with excellent advice on how to rewrite my CV and plan my future. Gave me a lot of confidence in what I do'. ['Senior lecturer]
- 'Having had someone with such similar experiences as mine to talk to regularly has been incredibly rewarding and eye-opening. I really feel like it really has helped me develop in terms of the objectives I have set out to achieve at the beginning of the mentoring relationship. My mentor encouraged me to set SMART goals and take steps towards them, while offering unbiased advice and asking just the right, thought-provoking questions when I needed it. Above all, my mentor has helped me realise that I'm not the only one experiencing challenges like this and that sometimes being good is good enough'. [PS colleague]
- 'I have gained new perspective, tools, and insights on work-life balance and in achieving a better balance between my day-to-day administrative duties and my longer term research goals'. [Senior Lecturer]
- 'I feel more confident with the trajectory of my career. My mentor has given me many practical suggestions on next steps. I adopted some of her suggestions and have had some successes'. [Researcher]
- 'I really benefitted from the encouragement to push myself to try something new and not feel held back by lack of specific experiences for a new role but look at how my skills could be applied to other roles. I applied for a job that I felt was of interest to me and was successful. I wouldn't have done this without the extra encouragement and support'. [PS colleague]
- 'With the help of my mentor I have achieved many academic and professional goals. I have learned to say no to tasks that don’t serve my goals and that are not necessarily part of my job. I have been encouraged to start advocating for myself and make sure my line manager knows of my achievements and not shy away from spelling them out. My mentor encouraged me to be more goal oriented ... and to actively seek experience that helps me fulfil the requirements. I stopped being afraid of submitting my work to have it published as a result of being afraid of negative feedback and rejection'. [Teaching Associate]
If you have any queries or would like to discuss the programme further, please contact ManchesterGold@manchester.ac.uk.
Will mentoring meet my needs?
Before you apply to Manchester Gold for a mentor please consider whether coaching could meet your development needs.
If you are looking for an opportunity to:
- Improve self-awareness, confidence and self-esteem
- Identify clarity, focus and actions for development
- Develop a more positive mind-set and taking action to resolve problems, issues and develop work performance
- Reflect on practice, insights into new ways of working and identification of plans for improvement
- Manage personal change and development
- Increase job satisfaction
Then coaching may be more appropriate. A coach believes that the individual always has the answer to their own problems but understands that they may need help to find the answer. A coach is not considered the ‘expert’ but, instead is a facilitator of learning.
The University offers individual coaching from a pool of qualified coaches. You will find more information and details on applying here: Coaching
Mentee frequently asked questions
What commitment is involved?
Manchester Gold Staff will take up approximately 20 hours over a nine month period. This includes attendance at all events, attendance at some workshops, preparing for meetings and the face-to-face meetings themselves.
How do I know that I need a mentor ?
You could argue that everyone needs a mentor! Indeed, in some workplaces, it is standard practice for all members of staff to seek out a mentor within the organisation. Mentoring is seen as having far reaching benefits for individual staff members and for the organisation as a whole. People choose to take part in Manchester Gold for a whole variety of reasons: a desire for promotion, they want to perform better, to address specific issues, to get better at people management, to increase their confidence, to better understand how the University works, to network - the list is endless.
Can I be a mentee and a mentor at the same time?
Yes, each year we have a few people who act as a mentor and a mentee simultaneously. This works very effectively and is common practice in many organisations.
Online or in-person?
It can be either and this is for the mentor and mentee to decide. A mix of meeting types may work best. Virtual meetings do have a number of benefits including being easier to arrange and taking place more frequently.
Its important to remember that mentoring is always about the people, about the learning, and about the connection. That’s it. No matter what platform you use, whether it’s virtual or face-face, the work of mentoring relationships is always in the relationship. Please refer to the Mentee Information Pack for tips on how to get the best from a virtual mentoring relationship.
Will I get matched?
Although the Manchester Gold team will strive to match everyone who applies, each year, a greater number of mentees apply for the programme than there are available mentors. We also have cases where a mentee's specific needs cannot be met by any of our available mentors. In both cases, we will endeavour to recruit more mentors, but cannot always do so. In order to make sure that you stand the best chance of being matched, we recommend that you apply as early as possible.
How does the matching process work?
You will be matched according to your objectives and the areas of your career you want to develop as per the examples below:
Example one: a young and ambitious female academic who wishes to start a family and perhaps reduce her working hours, but is concerned about the impact this will have on her career might be matched with an experienced female academic who has experience of dealing with work/family balance and the perceptions of working reduced hours.
Example two: a new member of administrative staff at the University is struggling to understand the organisation and the possible career routes within it might be matched with a senior member of the administration.
What if I find out my mentor cannot really help me in the areas that I hoped?
Firstly, give it time and keep an open mind. It may be that you need generic help with managing staff, settling into a new role or improving confidence. If this is the case, you may be matched with someone from an unrelated school or faculty, who may be doing a job very different to your own, but can offer you support and advice where you most need it. Indeed, some of the most successful mentoring relationships have come from initially unlikely matches: i.e. a Senior Research Fellow mentoring a Postgraduate Admissions Secretary, a Senior Supervisor in Electrical Engineering mentoring a Manager from the Faculty of Medicine. Matching staff from different areas of the University often leads to greater possibilities for the exchange of perspectives and ideas as well as for networking.
Secondly, it is worth spending time in the first meeting focusing on your objectives to determine how your mentor can help you. Some mentors may want to concentrate on the areas they can best help, and this may mean working on only 3 out of 5 of your objectives.
Of course, very occasionally the match is wrong. If this is the case, and you really do not feel that your mentor can help you, then be open and honest with your mentor and let them know how you feel. Mentoring is a grown-up relationship with both parties looking for a "win-win" situation. In such cases, we will strive to match both with a more suitable match but we are not always in a position to do so.
What if I don't get on with my mentor?
Mentoring does depend to a certain degree on the two parties getting along, and occasionally a personality clash does occur. As ever, give the scheme time and remember that everyone has a different approach and working style: you may even be able to learn from a different style. Remember also, that the scheme is about career development which should give the meetings a focus - you do not have to see eye to eye on other issues. If things really aren't working, be honest with your mentor and let the Manchester Gold team know.
If I am experience problems contacting my mentor, what should I do?
At the initial meeting you should discuss preferred methods of communication, work schedules and availability and even set up the first meeting, which should help to avoid problems of this kind. If your mentor is not responding to your emails, try to contact them by phone or call the reception of their department to check they are in the office. Failing that you should contact the Manchester Gold Team ManchesterGold@manchester.ac.uk. Do remember that as the mentee the onus is on you to drive the relationship forward and that your mentor has volunteered and wants to help!
What should I do if I am worried about confidentiality?
The mentoring is strictly confidential. An optional agreement is included in your induction pack that covers confidentiality - you can use this document to approach this concern with your mentor, and you can both sign the commitment or verbally agree to commit to this.
When I started the programme I didn't think I would be so busy but now I am struggling to find time
The time commitment for Manchester Gold Staff is approximately 15 hours, which over 10 months, should not have a great impact on your workload. Indeed, one of the benefits of the programme is that it forces you to set aside time to focus on your own personal development. We appreciate that everyone is very busy, and if your mentor is setting aside time to meet with you, the effort should be reciprocated. Obviously, some times will be busier than others, but you will have discussed this with your mentor in the first meeting and will be able to fit mentor meetings around these times. We ask you to arrange a minimum of 4 face-to-face meetings within a ten month time period which is achievable for most.
What should I talk about with my mentor?
You could discuss your career, working at the University, obstacles, personal development, opportunities, your mentor's career to date, organisational and industry changes, skills and competencies needed, further qualifications, organisational culture, prospects, day-to-day working life, your CV, interview techniques, networking. You have lots to talk about!
What if I decide I don't want to continue with the programme?
Contact the Manchester Gold team and your mentor ASAP. Remember that your mentor has allocated time to commit to you that they may wish to use for other development activities. If it is early enough in the programme, we may be able to offer the opportunity to another member of staff.
Do you have any tips and advice about how to get the most from the programme?
- Be organised and committed
- Know what you want to get out of it
- Prepare for meetings
- Do your homework
- Be open and assertive
- Be punctual and re-schedule with plenty of warning
- Give the relationship time to gel
- Attend the workshops and events
- Make the most of the opportunity and network!