The following information is derived from the U.S. Army website.
What Does a Mentor Do?
- Serves as a confidant, counselor, guide and advisor to a mentee.
- Shares an understanding of the Army, its mission, and the formal and informal operating processes.
- Shares experiences which contributed to his or her own success and sets an example for the associate to follow.
- Serves as a “sounding board” for career development ideas or for pursuing career opportunities.
- Encourages mentees to become more efficient and productive in their career field, branch, or MOS through self-development and other activities.
- Suggests appropriate training and developmental opportunities to further the progress of the mentee toward leadership positions.
- Helps the mentee to set clear career goals and periodically reviews progress, making constructive suggestions on career development.
Roles and Characteristics of a Good Mentor
(Derived from DA PAM 690-46, Mentoring for Civilian Members of the Force)
Role of the mentor:
The mentor serves as an objective confidant and advisor with whom the mentee may discuss work-related and other concerns related to career development and planning. A mentor is usually at least two grade levels above that of the mentee to assure an adequate experience and maturity level. In some circumstances, it may not be possible to meet the recommended two-grade level suggestion. In such cases, other factors such as relative degree of experience may weigh heavily in selecting an appropriate mentor.
- It is important to understand that a mentor is not a ‘molder of clay’; he or she does not attempt to create a clone of themselves, but rather to serve as a role model and source of inspiration, information and experience from which the mentee can select qualities most likely to help him or her achieve success. Neither is the mentee a subordinate of the mentor. Mentors exercise caution when suggesting developmental tasks to ensure that the mentee’s immediate supervisor has been consulted and that any projects likely to require time away from the job have the approval and support of the supervisor. Ideally, the mentor provides guidance, support, and encouragement, and the mentee responds positively by learning and applying new skills and knowledge in ways that optimize success within the organization.
- The mentor is one who has achieved professional success, acquired self confidence, experienced professional satisfaction, and wishes to share his or her experiences with a junior or less experienced individual. An effective mentor is supportive and helpful to the mentee without taking over the individual’s career. This important function should only be undertaken with a thorough understanding of the roles of a mentor.
- To maintain an effective mentor-mentee relationship, the optimum ratio of mentors to mentees is one to one. Although a higher ratio may sometimes be necessary, the ratio should be kept as low as possible.
Characteristics of a Good Mentor:
An effective mentor possesses certain characteristics. Although not all prospective mentors will possess every characteristic listed, nor possess them to the same degree, these are highly desirable traits for all mentors.
- Global Vision. The effective mentor has a view of the Army’s broad goals and objectives that transcend day-to-day routine operations. He or she looks beyond the imperatives of the moment to consider where the Army as a whole is now, where it is headed and more importantly, where it should be going. An ideal mentor understands that all Army programs are means to an end, not merely processes to be followed, and that frequently there is a requirement for vision that transcends a demanding involvement with the task at hand. A person with this kind of vision looks ahead to the needs of the Department of the Army over the next ten years, and considers those needs when setting professional goals.
- External Awareness. A good mentor is aware of the world outside his or her own environment. As good scientists are aware of developments outside their own particular specialty which may impact in their field of inquiry, a good mentor maintains an awareness of developments in other career programs or career fields, of long term occupational need projections, of technological advances, and of the Army and organizational plans which may impact on the career of an associate.
- Experience in networking. Networking entails the ability to make, maintain, and benefit from wide contacts with the Army, DOD, and other leaders, both military and civilian, in a variety of career areas, organizations, and levels of management, over an extended period of time. Networks can help provide informational, insightful, problem-solving, and career-enhancing contacts. An effective mentor not only participates in networking, but understands how networking can benefit the mentee. A mentor ensures that the mentee learns the importance of such networks, so that he or she can begin to establish his or her own networks.
- Positive and enthusiastic attitude. A successful leader may not always be a successful mentor. The mentor is competent and effective, and possesses a positive attitude about the goals and objectives of mentoring. He or she believes that the mentee can substantially benefit from participation, and enthusiastically shares these beliefs with the mentee.
- Standing in the functional community. Mentors are recognized within their own function and career areas as competent, resourceful, perceptive, and dedicated. Mentors without the qualifications and qualities that such recognition validates risk failing to accomplish their intent. They may actually hinder the career of a mentee in making recommendations or taking actions on their behalf.
- Professional characteristics. Such characteristics as loyalty, duty, respect, self-less service, honor, integrity, personal courage, compassion, competence, commitment and candor are of heightened importance to a mentor. The mentor, in addition to applying these qualities on the job, guides associates by setting a positive example, through encouragement through open communication.
- General characteristics. The discussion may have seemed to suggest that only a very few managers have the qualifications to be an effective mentor. Far from it, senior specialists, supervisors, managers, and executives have already demonstrated by their success that they possess many, if not all, of those qualities and characteristics that ensure an effective mentoring relationship with a mentee.
Tools for Developing Mentor Contacts at Lint Center
One of the Lint Center’s first scholarship recipients observed, “The Lint Center scholarship paid for my books last semester, but my Mentor offered insights which will stay with me for a lifetime.”
To get started, explore the Mentor Bios.
Below list is tools listed in the priority of best gain for the mentee. These are some areas to get your name in front of mentors. Mentoring is a two way street. You cannot sit and wait for mentors to rush and help you. You must market yourself as someone who will gain from their time. The mentors are volunteers with many years of experience. They normally want to help someone who has the drive to be successful. The winners of Lint Center Scholarship Program have shown a level of success.
- Yahoo email list server for the Lint Center Mentor Program(LMP) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LintCenterMentorProgram/
- See the webpage and sign up. If you are familiar with Yahoo Group systems sign up through your account. If you have problems you can send an email to LintCenterMentorProgramfirstname.lastname@example.org.
- Remember not to use attachments, only cut and paste into the email for these list servers because that cuts the opportunity for virus attacks.
- Post message: LintCenterMentorProgram@yahoogroups.com
- Subscribe: LintCenterMentorProgramemail@example.com
- Unsubscribe: LintCenterMentorProgramfirstname.lastname@example.org
- List owner: LintCenterMentorProgramemail@example.com
- Yahoo Email List Server is for the Lint Center Newsletter. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LintCenterNewsLetter/
- Occasionally we send out a newsletter that details a mentor or two (We are always looking for new volunteers to create the next newsletter).
- Post message: LintCenterNewsLetter@yahoogroups.com
- Subscribe: LintCenterNewsLetterfirstname.lastname@example.org
- Unsubscribe: LintCenterNewsLetteremail@example.com
- List owner: LintCenterNewsLetterfirstname.lastname@example.org
- This LinkedIn group has over 250 members. Most of them are mentors. The mentee may browse the members, and contact via LinkedIn. Explain you are a Lint Center Scholarship winner and you desire to learn from the mentor. It will be a great start. There are many experienced personnel from Army, Marine Corps, State Department, CIA, DIA, NSA and Department of Energy. Most are involved in intelligence or security. Because many of our early mentors came from military counterintelligence, you will find a lot of CI members. After you find someone you desire to be your mentor, you can also ask a Lint Center point of contact to introduce you. http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=1622037&trk=anet_ug_grppro
- Social Media
Preparing For Your First Conversation
Once you find your mentor, prepare for your first conversation. This is a guide to the steps you should follow and an example of the effort you should put in prior to contact. You will be dealing with people who prepare for most actions. A mentee who is ill prepared is not putting the best foot forwards, for someone who could easily have known your future bosses.
- Read one of the three documents below and come up with questions. Ensure the question has a page number for the mentor.
- Prepare a biography for the mentor to get a quick picture of your history, education, languages, travel, and experience. (1-1.5 pages if under 25.)
- Prepare a paper on goals (1 paragraph), what you desire to do 5 years, 10 years and 15 years from now. At the top of the page put what type of job and if intelligence, which INT.
- Call and discuss the mentee questions. Sometimes, the mentor will need to see the page because you may explain something with non-conventional IC terms.
- Takes notes for what was discussed, and what to discuss next call.
- Make calls every 2 weeks, or 1 month, depending on situational needs.
Below are some documents that may lead the conversation:
- ODNI Intelligence Community Consumers Guide 2011
- Unclassified Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
- 2015 NCTC Counterterrorism Calendar
Good mentorship is not easy. The more the mentee puts into the effort, the more the mentee will receive.
Good luck and enjoy the conversation!