Female academic mentoring pilot programme

What is the mentoring programme for female academics?

  The mentoring programme for female academics is a scheme that aims to address the under representation of women in senior academic roles. It will provide support and development for female leadership and career progression. Mentees will be assigned a more experienced colleague as their mentor. The mentor can provide encouragement, support and advice to help the mentee realise their potential and fulfil their career aspirations. Mentors will gain the satisfaction of both supporting a colleague and an opportunity for self-reflection

 

 

 

Why have you introduced this pilot scheme?

During the past year we have been working on the University’s Strategic Equality Plan which sets out our commitment to foster an inclusive working community which is free from discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and where all our staff are supported, feel respected and can realise their potential. 

This pilot programme forms part of our strategic action to address the under representation of women in senior academic roles, and to support and develop female leadership and career progression. ­

 

I am a male academic. Why can I not take part as a mentee in this scheme?

Male academics are able to take part in the pilot scheme as mentors. We have selected a female-only scheme for the pilot as it forms part of our strategic action to address gender representation and progression, but intend to extend the mentee role to more staff, regardless of gender and contract type, in the future. See also question ‘Why have you introduced this pilot scheme?’

Who is eligible to take part in this scheme?

All female academic members of AU staff can apply to take part in the scheme as mentees. There are no restrictions on academic job role or level – different people at different stages of their academic careers can benefit from mentoring.  We use an inclusive definition of ‘woman’ and ‘female’ and we welcome trans women and non-binary people to take part in this pilot.

All staff regardless of gender or contract type can take part as mentors. However, we do ask that mentors are at a grade 6 or above to match up with the grades of our academic mentees.

I work in professional services, can I take part as a mentee in the scheme?

This pilot scheme is for female academic members of AU staff only. We hope to widen mentee participation beyond female academics in future, hopefully after the successful implementation of this pilot programme.

All staff regardless of gender or contract type can take part as mentors. However, we do ask that mentors are at a grade 6 or above to match up with the grades of our academic mentees.

What is the difference between coaching and mentoring?

 Coaching focuses on specific skills and goals, although it may also have an impact on an individual’s personal attributes such as social interaction or confidence. The process typically lasts for a defined period of time or forms the basis of an on-going management style.

Here are some characteristics of coaching in organisations:

  • It is essentially a non-directive form of development.
  • It focuses on improving performance and developing an individual.
  • Personal factors may be included but the emphasis is on performance at work.
  • Coaching activities have both organisational and individual goals.
  • It provides people with the opportunity to better assess their strengths as well as their development areas.
  • It is a skilled activity, which should be delivered by people who are trained to do so. This can be line managers and others trained in coaching skills.

Mentoring in the workplace tends to describe a relationship in which a more experienced colleague shares their broad knowledge to support the development of a less experienced member of staff. It calls on the skills of questioning, listening, clarifying and reframing that are also associated with coaching.

One key distinction is that mentoring relationships tend to be longer term than coaching arrangements. In a succession planning scenario, for example, a regional finance director might be mentored by a group-level counterpart over a lengthy period to develop a sound approach to dealing with the board, presenting to analysts and challenging departmental budgets.

Mentoring relationships work best when they move beyond the directive approach of a senior colleague ‘telling it how it is’, to one where both colleagues learn from each other. An effective mentoring relationship is a learning opportunity for both parties, encouraging sharing and learning across generations and/or between roles.

What are the benefits of being a mentor?

The mentor can gain:

  • Satisfaction from contributing to the mentee's development
  • Enhanced self-esteem
  • Revitalised interest in work through an opportunity to examine one's own achievements and skills
  • Opportunities to test new ideas
  • Improved ability to share experience and knowledge

What are the benefits of becoming a mentee?

The mentee can gain:

  • A better understanding of the culture and structure of the organisation
  • Improved self-confidence
  • Increased skills and knowledge
  • A supportive environment in which successes and failures can be evaluated
  • Provision of necessary support and information
  • Potential for increased visibility and demonstration of their career focus
  • Individual attention from experienced senior colleagues

Where can I get further information about the programme?

For further information please contact Ruth Fowler (ruf@aber.ac.uk)