Staff can be involved in more than one mentoring scheme and should feel free to explore multiple and complementary avenues for mentorship, both formally and informally. There are several mentoring schemes available to BAHCM staff:
IBAHCM Mentoring Programme
Why should I enter the programme?
Working with a mentor provides you with access to an open ear and mind from a third party who is impartial, may offer a fresh perspective on things, has experience, knows how the University works, and has probably been through the same problems and somehow come out. A mentor is typically someone who has volunteered to help and is therefore happy to provide you with support and coaching, and time in which your issues are the only focus of attention. Engaging in a mentoring relationship is a very valuable opportunity to have access to a confidential space to talk through situations, sound things out and think out loud. More broadly, mentoring can make you feel heard, assured, respected, supported and understood, and gain confidence and self-esteem.
How do I enter the programme and find a mentor?
Everyone in BAHCM, including academic, professional and technical staff, should be informed about the mentoring scheme and given the opportunity to have a mentor(s) or proactively ‘opt-out'. New staff will meet with the Director of Institute where the scheme will be introduced to them. Access to the database containing the profiles of Institute mentors will be arranged. As a prospective mentee you will be encouraged to find your own mentor out with your immediate research group, either internally within BAHCM or externally. Finding your own mentor is best, especially when you meet an appropriate person, who understands your current position, career aspirations and work-life balance needs; you need to feel that the relationship will work - so when it happens more organically it can be more rewarding for both. Explore the resources for mentees for tips on how to identify a mentor, particularly this resource. It is always a good idea to choose at least two mentors to maximise chances that at least one of them will be available. When you approach them to ask them to mentor you, be prepared to discuss why you have chosen that particular person and what you are hoping to gain from the relationship, as this will create greater motivation for the mentor to agree to take on this role.
Why should my mentor be outside my own research group?
The mentor is distinct from your research host or line manager, because when mentor and mentee work together or have some work-related dependencies, the mentee might feel to be in a disadvantaged position. A mentoring relationship should enable you to benefit from a completely impartial perspective from someone who has no vested interest in your next steps, but who wants to support you in your personal and professional development. While you may feel that it could be difficult to identify someone impartial who also understands your field, looking for mentors outside your research group or even outside the Institute will give you more freedom and less inhibition about discussing specific issues.
How often should I meet with my mentor?
You should meet within three months to get to know each other and set expectations for the mentoring relationship. After the first meeting, you should aim to meet your mentor two to three times a year with potential ad hoc meetings as needed, although there are no set rules. The frequency of meeting is something you should discuss with your mentor the first time you meet.
Who should instigate meetings and manage the interaction?
As much as possible you should manage the mentor-mentee interaction in whatever way is most helpful to you. However, you should feel free to work directly with your mentor to define expectations and this template will help you do this, if you wish to use it. You should take responsibility for arranging meetings with your mentor. But you should do this without hesitation – remember that mentoring is a voluntary undertaking by someone who has agreed to dedicate some of their time to helping you out. This article explains how collaborative and effective mentoring is most enabled by mentees taking the lead in managing the relationship. However, it is not unusual of mentors to instigate a chat if they have not heard from you for a while.
What can I discuss with my mentor?
In a mentoring relationship you should be looking for a forum to discuss openly issues with your day-to-day work including how to achieve and maintain a work-life balance, immediate plans and goals, long-term perspectives, issues, challenges, concerns and “blocks”, direction, career or other decisions. To get the most out of the meetings, try to be prepared for them, i.e. define in advance what you want to discuss or issues you are trying to solve or making decision on. Although this is quite unusual, some mentors may be prepared to provide input on specific areas of your work, for example funding applications or papers. If this is the case, try to gain their “big-picture” perspectives on such topics rather than the type of feedback you would expect to receive from a collaborator or co-author.
How long should a mentoring relationship last for?
There is no specific recommendation as to how long the relationship should last for, but experiencing the perspectives of different mentors over time could broaden your horizons as a mentee. In order to facilitate changing your mentor for any reason, the initial pairing is time-bound to 12 months after which the mentee may change mentor or renew the existing arrangement as they wish. Of course, mentees may also withdraw from the programme at any point.
University of Glasgow’s Early Career Development Programme Mentoring scheme
Some new staff members are also enrolled in this. The BAHCM scheme is complementary to this programme, so a single mentor is fine for both.
Further information available -
Feedback on mentoring will be obtained as part of the annual P&DR to allow evaluation and revision.
Useful Links on Mentoring
Some scientist-focused information on mentors is available on the website of the journal Nature as well as a great resource of external links: