Frequently Asked Questions

Young Man asking questionWhat is mentoring and how is it different to coaching?

The Western Sydney University Mentoring Programs adopt a developmental mentoring approach. Mentoring is a confidential partnership between two people built on understanding and trust. Its primary aim is to build the mentee's self-reliance and self-confidence. Mentoring is a positive, developmental relationship, driven primarily by the mentee. Mentoring is different from coaching or supervision. Coaching is primarily about performance and the development of specific skills. Mentoring is more broadly based, focusing on developing capability and often includes longer term help for career self-management.

What does the Mentoring Program involve?

The Mentoring Programs involve participation in a number of workshops and meeting regularly with your mentor/ mentee over an agreed period of time (e.g. 9 to 12 months) and includes:

  • a one-day introductory workshop where Mentors and Mentees are matched, training on mentoring and discussion on the process and expectations (6 hours)
  • a half day midpoint evaluation workshop (3 hours)
  • an end of program final evaluation workshop (2 hours)
  • one hour monthly meetings between mentor and mentee
  • online resources and support from the Talent and Leadership Development.

What are the Mentoring Program objectives?

  • To provide staff with the opportunity to broaden and share their knowledge, skills, capabilities and experience
  • To enhance career and professional development at the University through a developmental mentoring partnership
  • To enable increased engagement in core University activities
  • To build a high-performing, competent and collegial workforce to achieve the University's goals and aspirations.


What are the outcomes for the Academic Mentoring Program?

  • The Academic Mentoring Program is aligned with the University's Securing Success 2015-2020 Staffing Strategy to attract, retain, recognise, reward and develop high quality staff
  • Mentoring introduced for early career Academic staff at time of commencement
  • Academic career development and the achievement of individual career aspirations of mentees supported
  • Experienced staff engaged as mentors to assist in the support and development of early to mid-career Academics.

Why a Mentoring Program and how is this Mentoring Program different to others?

  • Western Sydney University has introduced the Mentoring Programs to provide staff with the opportunity to broaden their knowledge, skills, capabilities and experience to enhance their careers and professional development
  • The Mentoring Programs are designed specifically for staff in a higher education setting.

How do you match me with a suitable mentoring partner?

During the nomination process, mentors and mentees are asked to complete a questionnaire outlining their primary career aspirations or achievements, specific interests, previous experience, what they hope to gain or contribute.  Where possible mentees will be matched with a mentor with experience in the areas requested.

When and how often do I meet my mentoring partner?

It is recommended you meet at least once a month and allow an hour for each meeting. Mentors and Mentees can meet either in person (preferable) or by email, skype or telephone. We recommend that you meet in person at least every second time. While meeting in an office free from interruptions may not always be possible, you can choose to meet over coffee, in a meeting room, off campus or in some other relaxed setting.

What do we talk about?

The mentee is asked to identify two or three goals or areas that they would like to focus on over the period of mentoring. The mentor's role is to offer guidance and support and act as a sounding board for the mentee; they are not there to provide professional advice on the mentee's career or to take the place of the mentee's formal supervisor.

How long should a Mentoring Relationship last?

Some mentoring relationships have been known to last for many years, developing into a friendship over time. Other mentees "outgrow" their mentor once their goals have been achieved. It is helpful to set and agree on an expected end date for the mentoring relationship and this also provides a sense of pace and momentum to the mentoring conversation. Many mentoring pairs set new goals and continue their partnership.

Do I have to like my Mentor/Mentee? What if we don't get along?

Formal mentoring is often seen as a "professional friendship". The key is that you respect each other and make the effort to understand each other. Many deep friendships have developed from mentoring relationships where the two parties were initially unsure about each other

Should the mentor or mentee wish to end the relationship at any time, they can do so by mutual agreement and should contact the Mentoring Program Coordinator to discuss:

Academic Mentoring Program - Leone Cripps (opens in a new window)

Professional Staff Mentoring Program - Phillip Marler (opens in a new window)

What are the reporting requirements and evaluation process?

Mentors, mentees and respective Supervisors will be invited to evaluate the program midway and at the end of the program. A summary report will be provided to the Executive.

For further information, please contact:

Kay Hempsall, Associate Director, Talent and Leadership Development
Leone Cripps, Academic Mentoring Program
Phillip Marler, Professional Staff Mentoring Program

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