We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Organisation Development


What can I expect  from mentoring?

Heads of Departments, Heads of Houses, Heads of professional support services must formally nominate a colleague to act as a mentor for all new staff prior to their appointment.  This mentor will to act as an adviser and source of guidance to you within your first few months in your new role.

Some mentoring can occur naturally in the workplace, but usually it needs some formal management to ensure that it happens. The success of mentoring depends on the quality of the working relationship developed between yourself and your mentor. Your commitment and enthusiasm are vital to making the relationship a success.

Your mentor will arrange your first meeting. At this meeting, your mentor will try to clarify with you the level and nature of the advice and support that you think you will need and that your mentor feels able to provide, this can be reviewed and revised at later stages.

As a mentee you should be prepared to

  • learn from examples,
  • learn from mistakes,
  • listen and be listened to,
  • be supported and encouraged,
  • share critical knowledge,
  • learn how things work within the University,
  • develop in self confidence and awareness,
  • be assisted with career development,
  • be challenged. 

This is not an exhaustive list and each mentoring relationship will be unique.

Do not worry about asking "naïve" questions about the University and do not expect your mentor to know all the answers. He/she should however be able to point you in the right direction for further information and advice.

It is a good idea to keep a record of your meetings, noting what has been discussed and agreed, and the objectives for your next meeting.  The Learning Log Template below is available for this purpose. 

You may find it helpful to familiarise yourself with the University's policies and procedures concerning probation and promotion. Training workshops on mentoring are open to all members of staff, and further advice is available from the Training and  Development Manager.


If you have not heard from your nominated mentor prior to joining the University or should any difficulties arise between yourself and your mentor, these should be reported to, and resolved by, your Head of Department, Head of House or Head of professional support service department.

As a mentee you should be prepared to :
  • learn from examples
  • learn from mistakes
  • listen and be listened to
  • be supported and encouraged
  • share critical knowledge
  • learn how things work within the University
  • develop in self confidence and awareness
  • be assisted with career development
  • be challenged

Further information for mentees