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Mentoring core competencies

Contents

Understanding self

The first core competence ‘understanding self’ is defined as follows: ‘Demonstrates awareness of own values, beliefs and behaviours; recognises how these affect their practice and uses this self-awareness to manage their effectiveness in meeting the mentee’s, and where relevant, the sponsor’s objectives’.

At Foundation level capability indicators include:

  • Behaves in a manner that facilitates the mentoring process
  • Manages issues of diversity in their mentoring practice
  • Communicates effectively own values, beliefs and attitudes that guide mentoring practice 
  • Behaves in alignment with their values and beliefs 

At Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Builds self-understanding based on an established model of human behaviour and rigorous reflection on practice
  • Identifies when their psychological processes are interfering with mentee work and adapts behaviour appropriately
  • Responds with empathy to mentee’s emotions without becoming personally involved 

At Senior Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Builds further self-understanding based on a range of theoretical models and structured input from external sources with rigorous reflection on experience and practice
  • Proactively manages own ‘state of being’ to suit the needs of the mentee

At Master Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Synthesises insights derived from extensive exploration of theoretical models and personal evidence
  • Reflects and has conscious access to every moment of their mentee interactions and mentoring
  • Critically reflects on practitioner paradigms and their impact on mentees and mentee systems 

Question for reflection:

  • Reflecting on the capability indicators above, what are your areas of strength and opportunities for further development?

Commitment to self-development

The second core competence ‘commitment to self-development’ is defined as follows: ‘Explores and improves the standard of their practice and maintains the reputation of the profession.’

At Foundation level capability indicators include:

  • Practises and evaluates mentoring skills 

At Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Demonstrates commitment to personal development through deliberate action and reflection
  • Participates in regular supervision to develop mentoring practice
  • Evaluates the effectiveness of supervision

At Senior Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Continuously reviews, reflects on and updates personal beliefs, attitudes and skills to improve mentoring practice
  • Proactively identifies gaps in skills, knowledge and attitudes and uses a structured process to meet learning needs
  • Selects relevant themes, ideas and models to explore and develop mentoring practice
  • Translates new learning into practice and evaluates goals and process with stakeholders
  • Invites feedback from peers by demonstrating mentoring practice  

At Master Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Keeps up to date with and evaluates research and thinking on mentoring

Question for reflection:

  • Reflecting on the capability indicators above, what are your areas of strength and opportunities for further development?

Managing the contract

The third core competence ‘managing the contract’ is defined as follows: ‘Establishes and maintains the expectations and boundaries of the mentoring contract with the mentee and, where appropriate, with sponsors.’

At Foundation level capability indicators include:

  • Explains their role in relation to the mentee and the benefits of mentoring, for the mentee and in relation to the mentee’s context
  • Agrees appropriate levels of both confidentiality and communication to others 
  • Manages the conclusion of the conversation so that the mentee is clear about the outcome of the session

At Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Abides by the EMCC professional code of ethics or an equivalent
  • Explains the difference between mentoring, coaching and other professions and its benefits both for the mentee and in relation to the mentee’s context
  • Establishes and manages a clear contract for the mentoring with the mentee and, where relevant, with other stakeholders
  • Agrees a framework for scheduling when, where and frequency of the sessions 
  • Describes own mentoring process and style to mentee so that mentee is empowered to make an informed decision to go ahead with mentoring
  • Recognises boundaries of own competence and advises the need to refer on and possibly conclude contract; recognises when the mentee is unable to engage in mentoring work and takes appropriate action
  • Works effectively with mentee preferences and, where relevant, policies and procedures of the sponsoring organisation
  • Manages the conclusion of the contract

At Senior Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Establishes an ethically based mentoring contract in ambiguous and/or conflicted circumstances with the mentee (and with sponsors where relevant) 
  • Identifies mentees who may have an emotional or therapeutic need which is beyond their professional capability to work with safely 

At Master Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Supports mentees in self-referring to specialised agencies/sources when needed
  • Recognises when mentees have a need outside of safe and contracted boundaries and takes appropriate action 

Question to consider:

  • Reflecting on the capability indicators above, what are your areas of strength and opportunities for further development?

Building the relationship

The fourth core competence ‘building the relationship’ is defined as follows: ‘Skilfully builds and maintains an effective relationship with the client, and where appropriate, with the sponsor.’

At Foundation level capability indicators include:

  • Explains how own behaviours can affect the mentoring process
  • Treats all people with respect and maintains mentee’s dignity
  • Describes and applies at least one method of building rapport
  • Uses language that the mentee can relate to (develops trust through keeping commitments and being non-judgemental with mentee)

At Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Demonstrates empathy and genuine support for the mentee
  • Ensures requisite level of trust has been established for effective mentoring
  • Recognises and works effectively with mentee’s emotional state(s)
  • Adapts language and behaviour to accommodate mentee’s style while maintaining sense of self
  • Ensures mentee’s non-dependence on the mentor

At Senior Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Attends to and works flexibly with the mentee’s emotions, moods, language, patterns, beliefs and physical expression
  • Demonstrates a high level of attentiveness and responsiveness to the mentee in the moment while mindful of mentee’s work towards outcomes

At Master Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Able to describe their tactics in response to the mentee’s sensory signals at every moment of a mentoring conversation 

Question for reflection:

  • Reflecting on the capability indicators above, what are your areas of strength and opportunities for further development?

Enabling insight and learning

The fifth core competence ‘enabling insight and learning’ is defined as follows: ‘Works with the mentee and sponsor to bring about insight and learning.’

At Foundation level capability indicators include:

  • Demonstrates in their mentoring their belief that others learn best for themselves
  • Checks for appropriate understanding of the key issues
  • Uses an active listening style and explains the principles of effective questioning
  • Offers feedback in a style that is useful, acceptable, and meaningful to the mentee
  • Offers own perspectives and ideas in a style that allows the mentee to choose whether to work with them or not 

At Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Explains potential blocks to effective listening and is alert to tone and modularity as well as to explicit content of communication
  • Identifies patterns of mentee thinking and actions; enables mentee to make connections between feelings, behaviours and their performance
  • Uses a range of questioning techniques to raise awareness
  • Enables mentee to create new ideas
  • Uses feedback and challenge to help mentee gain different perspectives, while maintaining rapport and responsibility for action
  • Remains impartial when encouraging the mentee to consider alternatives
  • Uses reviews to deepen understanding and commitment to action 

At Senior Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Uses a range of techniques to raise awareness, encourage exploration and deepen insight; uses feedback and challenge effectively to increase awareness, insight and responsibility for action
  • Responds to the full sensory range of mentee communication, in the moment, to infer possible areas for questioning; is flexible in applying a wide range of questions 
  • Uses language to help mentee reframe or challenge current thinking/understanding
  • Applies a holistic perspective to building understanding and insight
  • Recognises the uncertainties, possibilities and constraints of the mentee’s situational context and helps mentee to appreciate their impact

At Master Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Supports mentees effectively with their increasingly complex range of needs
  • Enables significant and fundamental shifts in thinking and behaviour
  • Adapts approach/technique in the moment in response to mentee information, while also holding a focus on outcomes

Question for reflection:

  • Reflecting on the capability indicators above, what are your areas of strength and opportunities for further development?

Outcome and action orientation 

The sixth core competence ‘outcome and action orientation’ is defined as follows: ‘Demonstrates approach, and uses the skills, in supporting the client to make desired changes.’

At Foundation level capability indicators include:

  • Assists mentee to clarify and review desired outcomes and to set appropriate goals
  • Ensures congruence between mentee’s goals and the context they are in
  • Engages the mentee to explore a range of options for achieving the goals
  • Ensures the mentee chooses solutions
  • Keeps appropriate notes to track and review progress with the mentee
  • Ensures the mentee leaves the session enabled to go further with their own development

At Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Assists mentees to effectively plan their actions including appropriate support, resourcing and contingencies
  • Helps mentee to develop and identify actions that best suit their personal preferences
  • Ensures mentee is taking responsibility for their own decisions, actions and learning approach
  • Helps mentee identify potential barriers to applying actions
  • Describes and applies at least one method of building commitment to outcomes, goals and actions
  • Reviews with the mentee progress and achievement of outcomes and goals and revises as appropriate 

At Senior Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Encourages mentee to explore wider context and impact of desired outcomes
  • Draws on a range of diverse techniques and methods to facilitate achievement of outcomes
  • Describes and applies a range of methods for building commitment to outcomes, goals and actions
  • Helps mentee explore their approach to change, promotes active experimentation and self-discovery
  • Works effectively with resistance to change 

At Master Practitioner level there are no additional capability indicators

Question for reflection:

  • Reflecting on the capability indicators above, what are your areas of strength and opportunities for further development?

Use of models and techniques

The seventh core competence ‘use of models and techniques’ is defined as follows: ‘Applies models and tools, techniques and ideas beyond the core communication skills in order to bring about insight and learning.’

At Foundation level capability indicators include:

  • Bases approach on a model or framework of mentoring

At Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Develops a coherent model of mentoring based on one or more established models
  • Uses several established tools and techniques to help the mentee work towards outcomes
  • Utilises models and approaches from mentee’s context 

At Senior Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Connects various models and new ideas into their own approach to mentoring and can substantiate that approach
  • Applies in-depth knowledge and experience of models, tools and techniques to help the mentee deal with specific challenges as well as the overall outcome

At Master Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Formulates own tools and systems to improve effectiveness

Question for reflection:

  • Reflecting on the capability indicators above, what are your areas of strength and opportunities for further development?

Evaluation

The eighth core competence ‘evaluation’ is defined as follows: ‘Gathers information on the effectiveness of their practice and contributes to establishing a culture of evaluation of outcomes.’

At Foundation level capability indicators include:

  • Monitors and reflects on the effectiveness of the whole process
  • Requests feedback from mentee on mentoring
  • Receives and accepts feedback in a constructive way

At Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Establishes rigorous evaluation processes with mentees and stakeholders (if relevant)
  • Evaluates outcomes with mentee and stakeholders (if relevant)
  • Has own processes for evaluating effectiveness as a mentor
  • Critiques diverse approaches to evaluation of mentoring

At Senior Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Critiques diverse approaches to evaluation of mentoring

At Master Practitioner level capability indicators include:

  • Actively contributes to building knowledge on evaluating mentoring
  • Uses knowledge gained to comment on themes, trends and ideas related to evaluation processes, mentoring processes and mentee themes

Question for reflection:

  • Reflecting on the capability indicators above, what are your areas of strength and opportunities for further development?

Resources