Mentoring Program Resources | ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science

These resources for both mentors and mentees will help you get started in the mentoring program and help you to develop a beneficial relationship.

Resources for Mentees and Mentors

  • Set your goals - Use a goal setting framework and communicate your goals with your mentor.
  • Be open about your needs – Give your mentor a clear view of your expectations.
  • Come to each meeting with an agenda – Give your mentor all they need to give you feedback and advice relevant to your goals.
  • Take responsibility of your own learning – Set yourself tasks, read books or blogs, attend events, listen to relevant podcasts.
  • Be available and responsive – Check and answer your emails or other communication channel often and maintain contact with your mentor.
  • Develop trust – Don’t ask for a job or a placement, your mentor is a trusted advisor.
  • Learn and have fun – Being a mentee shouldn’t be a chore, it should be an engaging and rewarding experience.
  • Help your Mentee set goals – Use a goal setting framework to help ensure goals are practical and useful.
  • Listen Patiently – Get a clear view of your mentee’s expectations.
  • Share experience and give advice – You don’t have to be an expert, but outside perspective can make all the difference
  • Recommend tasks and resources – Recommend books or blogs, events to attend or podcasts to listen to.
  • Be available and Responsive – Check and answer your emails or other communication channel often and maintain contact with your mentee.
  • Respect confidentiality – Ensure what happens in mentoring stays in mentoring unless otherwise agreed upon.
  • Encourage independence – Set the stage for your mentee to grow.
  • Inspire confidence – Inspire your mentee to tackle more challenging goals and milestones.

To get the most out of your mentoring relationship - and move past possible pitfalls - we recommend running through this checklist before, during and after that first meeting with your mentor.

Before the first meeting:

  • Check out your mentor’s digital footprint - are they on Twitter or LinkedIn?
  • Send through a quick intro/bio - don’t go crazy with a cover letter and 6-page CV - just a couple of paragraphs about where you are right now.
  • Consider your goals for the mentoring relationship - what would like you like to get out of the relationship, and where do you want to be in 6 months?
  • Start to think about how you think your mentor could best assist you?

At the first meeting:

  • Start by confirming the expectations of your relationship - how will you communicate and how often will you check in?
  • Let your mentor know how you’ll be tracking success - you should be the one driving this relationship. This might involve sharing post-meeting notes, managing follow-ups and logging activity.
  • Come prepared with three key goals for the mentoring relationship, and give your mentor a clear idea of what you would like to achieve.
  • DON’T straight-up ask for a job in the first conversation.

After the first meeting:

  • Share a follow-up highlighting the key points discussed in your meeting, including any agreed next steps.
  • Connect with your mentor on LinkedIn and any other relevant online media.
  • Schedule your next meeting, set some tasks and goals and start planning how you’re going to hit those goals!

To get the most out of your mentoring relationship - and move past possible pitfalls -we recommend running through this checklist before, during and after that first meeting withyour mentee.

Before the first meeting:

  • Send a quick message introducing yourself.
  • Ask your mentee for a short bio to introduce themselves.
  • Consider your own experience and strengths, and what you’ll bring to the relationship.
  • Consider what you want to get out of the mentoring relationship -this is a two-way street.

At the first meeting:

  • It can seem dry and impersonal, but start off by setting the parameters of your relationship - how often should you connect and how will you communicate? (Via email, Zoom, Skype, face to face) Getting the housekeeping out of the way first can be a great ice-breaker.
  • Introduce yourself to your mentee - thank them for their bio, and give a brief overview of your career highlights and relevant experience.
  • Why are you here? Let your mentee know why you’re offering your time back as part of this relationship, and how mentors have helped you along the way.
  • Make sure you come away with a clear idea of what your mentee is looking for inthis relationship, so you can start planning how you can best assist and guide themin achieving their goals.

After the first meeting:

  • Consider what you discussed, ensure it's covered in the meeting wrap-up.
  • Schedule the next check-in.
  • Share any articles you’ve been enjoying.
  • Start looking for opportunities to help your mentee grow!

It can take courage to contact a mentor.  Having a few of these questions ready can help to focus on your goals, expectations and/or needs, so you feel more confident about talking with your mentor.


  • What do you hope to get out of being my mentor? 
  • How has mentoring helped you in your career development? 
  • What is the most helpful piece of advice you received? 

The Best of Times: 

  • What is the best decision you made to help you reach your role? 
  • What achievement makes you feel most proud? 
  • What do you enjoy most about your current role?  

The Worst of Times: 

  • What do you wish you’d known when you were at my career stage?  
  • What is the decision about your career development that you regret most?  
  • What has been your biggest challenge in your path to your current role?  
  • What are you biggest current challenges? 

Focus on Particular Issues: 

  • What does a typical day in your job look like? 
  • What resources/conferences have you found most useful? 
  • What advice can you give on submitting abstracts to conferences and/or presenting at a conference?
  • How do you balance work and home responsibilities? 
  • Do you have advice on how to approach a difficult conversation with colleagues? 
  • How did you approach transitioning to a leadership role? 

These questions can help you guide your mentee in goal setting and get a sense of what challenges they might want to address.  It can help with mentees who are not quite sure exactly what they want from mentoring.   

  • What are your short-term goals?
  • What are your long-term goals?
  • What’s working in your career?
  • What’s not working?
  • What ideas have you developed to help you overcome challenges and meet your goals?
  • What areas do you feel comfortable addressing on your own and what areas require more support?
  • How can I help you achieve your goals?

For more discussion on each question, go to FairyGodBoss.