Black Male Mentoring Program 

Mentor Role and Responsibilities

The role of the mentor is to assist a mentee in acquiring the skills to become an effective practitioner. Specifically, mentors perform roles in four key categories.

  • Coach—they show their mentee how to carry out tasks or activities.
  • Facilitate—they create opportunities for their mentee to use new skills.
  • Counsel—they help their mentee explore the consequences of potential decisions.
  • Network—they refer their mentee to others when the mentor’s experience is insufficient.

Success is more about attitude than it is about skill. Mentors want their mentee to become successful. Here are some guidelines that might be useful in helping mentors to aid their mentees during the process.

  • Encourage and believe in one’s mentees. Research indicates that encouragement is one of the most important mentoring skills. Mentees value and remember encouragement from their mentors more than other help.
  • Give additional positive reinforcement. Mentors should tell their mentees when they are doing something well. Reminding mentees what they do well helps their confidence and self-esteem grow.
  • Build upon successes. Mentors should give their mentees challenging assignments that have a fairly high probability of success. When mentees are successful in accomplishing the tasks or projects, build upon that success. Help them choose more challenging assignment.
  • Meet with mentees at least one hour per month. Commit sufficient time, one hour or more per month, to meet with your mentees. As a mentor, if you are not receiving communications with your mentees, please contact the Program Coordinator.
  • Negotiate specific goals for mentor/mentee relationship. Assist mentees in developing their goals and activities. Also, support activities and projects to ensure the attainment of goals. Mentees are provided with a Mentor/Mentee Verification Sheet to be signed by both mentees and mentors during monthly meetings.
  • Hold your mentees accountable. Accountability is about delivering on a commitment. It’s responsibility for an outcome, not just a set of tasks. It’s taking initiative with thoughtful, strategic follow-through.
  • Develop a schedule. Mentors and mentees need to have reasonable expectations for their frequency of meetings. It’s important to establish acceptable alternative means of communication (e.g., email and phone calls) and the boundaries of the communication. It is useful to discuss the kinds of issues that require face-to-face meeting and the kinds that can be dealt with in other ways.