What is peer mentoring?

Mentoring circles will match three or four mentees with one more senior mentor. This mentoring circle format maximises the use of the mentor's time and is also an effective way of creating informal peer support networks.

It’s important as a mentor for a mentoring circle that you don’t try to run essentially three or four separate one-to-one mentoring relationships, but rather consider the benefits of sharing ideas and experiences in a group setting (whether that’s facilitating the space to talk or offering a structured activity such as a skills analysis).

Who can be a mentor?

Any member of staff who identifies as BME who has some experience in managing or mentoring.

What are the benefits of being a mentor?

While the focus of the mentoring relationship is primarily on the development needs and opportunities of the mentee there are also benefits for the mentor, including:

  • satisfaction of knowing that you can make a difference to someone else
  • sharing contacts and increased networking opportunities
  • increasing facilitation and communication skills, visibility, and reputation
  • having an opportunity to share experience and expertise.

How much time will mentoring take up?

Mentoring circles should run initially for a 12 month period (or for at least four meetings, whichever is sooner) but the relationship may continue by mutual consent. You should also be prepared to attend a mentoring briefing session in May.

Individual meetings will be available at your discretion; however, please note that you are not obliged to offer this to your mentees. Mentees in a circle are encouraged to meet more regularly without you and peer to peer mentoring can also take place between meetings via email to sustain the momentum of the meetings and enable mentees to support each other through any specific concerns. We will provide you and your mentees with resources to explore different development topics.

Where will the mentoring take place?

Sessions will be held at a mutually convenient location, which can be your office but need not be.

How will you match me with my mentees?

We want to ensure that the mentoring circle is a place where mentees feel safe to discuss any issues outside their normal department, so matching people from across departments is a priority. Beyond that, we’ll look to group mentees who state that they have similar aims and/or are at similar career stages and will look at your skills and experience to match you with the group that is the best fit. If we have more mentors than mentoring circles we will put your application on file and will try to match you when we launch the next cohort.

We will let you have the names of your mentees before letting them know you have been matched with them, and you should feel free to let us know if there is anyone in your proposed group who you would be unwilling to mentor.

Will there be any extra support?

Once you’ve been matched with a mentee, you will be expected to attend an initial compulsory workshop with all other participating mentors and mentees. This is an opportunity to consider the approach you might take as a mentor, understand the boundaries of the mentoring relationship and raise any issues. We’ll also provide you with some resources and further information that you may wish to use. There is also on-going support from Laura Hodsdon and Machilu Zimba if required.

Why use peer mentoring circles rather than 1:1 mentoring?

The perspectives that can be offered by a small group of peers, especially those that have experienced a different part of the University, can be extremely valuable. Your mentees will (wherever possible) not be from the same department as you and may not even be at the same career stage, but will provide a valuable sounding board for each other and their different experiences could be very valuable in offering an outside perspective.

What is the mentor’s role?

You should draw where appropriate on your own experience and provide some insights and thoughts, acting as a facilitator to the group. However, you are not expected to offer solutions nor to undertake work on your mentee’s behalf, but rather to facilitate the mentees in being proactive and in bringing their own ideas and self-reflections to generate actions.