Eleanor and Nicola are standing on stage, Nicola is talking and has a microphone in her hand

The importance of a mentee – mentor relationship

August 10, 2023

The relationship between a mentee and mentor is really important and that is why EPEV Mentor Project Officers spend so much time and focus ensuring that we match the right people together.  

When we make the match, we have a strong inkling that the relationship will be right and fruitful but it’s from there that it takes on a life of its own.  

Mentees and mentors are responsible for their match and will need to give it the time to grow and develop. Communication is something that means different things to different people, and we encourage the pairings to do what suits them. These relationships can be unexpected or serendipitous of timing and that is the joy of the EPEV programme.  

Mentee and mentor pairing Eleanor and Nicola are an example of a relationship that through mutual respect and understanding allowed itself to change and develop to suit them both. This has culminated into a supportive friendship. 

Nicola says, “My experience of being a mentor to Eleanor has been very rewarding, we met last year and got to know each other gradually. In the first few meetings we spoke about self-employment and business development, and I reached out to my contacts to see if any could help, as this was outside of my field of knowledge.   

I soon realised that the best way I could support Eleanor was to be a friend and to discuss ideas and new possibilities. We pretty much scrapped the formal mentoring approach after the second meeting and moved to this more informal and friendly way of interacting.    

I gained new interpersonal skills that are important but not as important as the relationship I have developed with Eleanor. That is priceless and I feel genuinely very honoured that she put faith and trust in me. That has grown my confidence and I feel so happy that I met Eleanor, and we became friends”.   

Eleanor says, “Nicola was and remains a caring and understanding friend who soothed my anxieties, listened patiently and encouraged my wacky ideas, she empathised with my mental health issues, and thus helped to see me through one of my most challenging years. I’m really hoping to stay in contact with her”. 

Top tips for a great mentee – mentor relationship 

  1. Find your preferred communication style, geography plays a part in this but what works for you both? Emails and whatsapps can be just as personal as phone calls, online or in person 
  2. Be clear about your expectations and find compromise if you need to 
  3. Discover common ground on things that aren’t work related 
  4. Be respectful of each other’s time 
  5. Listen, really listen