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Mentoring Guidelines

This is not a current document. It has been repealed and is no longer in force.

February 2022 – This document has been rescinded. It is replaced by the Professional Development Policy and information provided on the Division of People and Culture website.

Section 1 - Purpose

(1) The purpose of these Guidelines is to describe Charles Sturt University's (the University's) management principles and approach to mentoring.

(2) Mentoring @ CSU is a key developmental strategy within the University's Continual Professional Development Framework. It forms part of the University's commitment to the continual professional development of its staff (the University's Strategic Plan).


(3) These Guidelines apply to all employees of the University.

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Section 2 - Glossary

(4) Mentoring is a relationship which gives people the opportunity to share their professional and personal skills and experiences, and to grow and develop in the process. Typically, it is a one-to-one relationship between a more experienced and a less experienced employee. It is based upon encouragement, constructive comments, openness, mutual trust, respect and a willingness to learn and share (Office of the Director of Equal Opportunity In Public Employment (ODEOPE) 2000, Mentoring Made Easy: A Practical Guide, 2nd edn, Sydney).

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Section 3 - Policy

(5) Nil.

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Section 4 - Procedures

(6) Nil.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

Part A - Principles

(7) The principles of Mentoring @ CSU are that it will:

  1. be a collaborative and voluntary engagement, centred around an agreed expectation, and mutually valuable for the mentee, the mentor and the University;
  2. provide guidance, not direction;
  3. integrate with other University professional development processes;
  4. recognise the diversity of staff needs and encompass a range of activities to meet the needs of the mentee at each stage in his/her career and professional development; and
  5. not be prescriptive in advocating "one way" of mentoring.

(8) In recognising the diversity of mentoring relationships that may exist at the University, Mentoring @ CSU acknowledges that:

  1. formal mentoring is different to coaching or "buddying" although all can co-exist within Mentoring @ CSU;
  2. informal staff support is generally a more short-term activity although the principles of formal mentoring, as specified in clause 7a, still apply; and
  3. formal mentoring is not supervision although managers do play a role in supporting staff in developing their mentoring relationships.
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Section 6 - Objectives

(9) Mentoring @ CSU aims to:

  1. provide structured support to help individual employees define their own learning experience so they can improve their own performance and develop their capacity to contribute to the effectiveness of their discipline, position, the organisation and their future career;
  2. benefit the mentor by providing an opportunity to develop their leadership capacity when undertaking the role of a mentor; and
  3. contribute to the improvement of the organisation's performance, in accordance with the University Strategy 2007-2011, by embedding mentoring activity into a range of University processes such as:
    1. induction for all staff in new roles;
    2. academic leadership development;
    3. targeted leadership development programs;
    4. the Performance Management Scheme and reward systems;
    5. career development; and
    6. succession planning.
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Section 7 - Mentoring @ CSU Programs and Activities

(10) Mentoring @ CSU recognises that continuing support for all staff is required as they progress through the stages of their career at the University.

Stage 1: Initial career mentoring

(11) Initial career mentoring is available through the following programs:

  1. Induction and Development Program for all new employees;
  2. academic probation; and
  3. Indigenous Australian Employment Strategy

(12) Mentors for programs listed in clause 11 are appointed in accordance with the table below:

Program Mentor appointed by
Induction and Development Program Employee's manager
Induction for senior staff and Heads of School Executive Director, Executive Dean or Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Academic probation Head of School
Indigenous Australian Employment Strategy Employee's manager in liaison with the Human Resources Indigenous Employment Coordinator

Stage 2: Ongoing development

(13) In this stage, employees have the choice to establish mentoring and support relationships to assist them in their current positions and future careers. This may be through formal mentoring relationships or informal support systems in the following developmental activities:

  1. Performance Management Scheme;
  2. secondment;
  3. project teams;
  4. Leadership Development for Women Program;
  5. Graduate Certificate in University Leadership and Management; and
  6. career development.

(14) Mentors for activities listed in clause 13 are selected in accordance with the table below:

Program Mentor
Performance Management Scheme Self-selected
Secondment Self-selected
Project teams Self-selected
Leadership Development for Women Program Selected through a matching process by the Program Co-ordinator
Graduate Certificate in University Leadership and Management Self-selected
Career development Self-selected

(15) In addition to clause 13, academic staff may have a mentor in the following activities:

  1. academic staff promotions;
  2. professorial mentoring;
  3. Communities of Practice;
  4. Banksia Program for Women Researchers; and
  5. Leadership Development Committee for Heads of School

(16) Mentors for activities listed in clause 15 may come from within the discipline, through research partners and contacts, across disciplines within the University, through contacts and networks, from leadership and management programs, external to the University, or from the professorial ranks.

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Section 8 - Responsibilities


(17) Leaders and managers are responsible for encouraging mentoring to support the development of staff at the University. Specifically, they will:

  1. provide a mentor for new staff or those moving into new roles (as part of induction);
  2. encourage staff to seek mentoring support as a developmental support tool (within their annual performance management review); and
  3. provide coaching support, as appropriate, during supervision of their staff.


(18) The mentor is responsible for:

  1. listening objectively, and acting as a sounding board, to the mentee's ideas, dreams, plans and problems;
  2. asking questions that will encourage the mentee to explore issues from a variety of perspectives;
  3. challenging the mentee's traditional ways of thinking and acting to try strategies that are outside his/her "comfort zone";
  4. facilitating the mentee's learning and development and "raising the bar" in relation to his/her potential;
  5. providing information, guidance, support, encouragement and constructive feedback;
  6. facilitating problem-solving, decision-making and strategic planning processes in relation to work or career matters; and
  7. maintaining confidentiality.


(19) The mentee is responsible for:

  1. defining his/her learning needs;
  2. setting learning objectives, and planning and implementing strategies to achieve those objectives;
  3. reflecting on the learning process and outcomes;
  4. making decisions and taking appropriate action; and
  5. maintaining confidentiality.
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Section 9 - Process

(20) The following factors need to be considered when selecting a mentor. The mentor should:

  1. be committed to supporting the mentee to develop skills and knowledge;
  2. have greater experience, expertise and knowledge in a particular area than the mentee;
  3. have a flexible and progressive management style, especially in people management;
  4. be someone other than the mentee's immediate supervisor - this will avoid potentially conflicting roles;
  5. have good interpersonal skills; and
  6. be aware of his/her University responsibilities in supporting staff.

(21) The stages of a mentoring relationship are:

  1. exploring the possibility of working together;
  2. building the relationship;
  3. negotiating the mentoring arrangement/agreement;
  4. mentee/mentor development, including monitoring and measuring progress and outcomes; and
  5. ending the formal relationship.

(22) The mentor and mentee should negotiate the operational details of the mentoring relationship in the first few meetings. Issues for consideration include:

  1. When, where, how often, and how long will the mentor and mentee meet?
  2. How formal/informal and how flexible would the mentor and mentee like the relationship to be?
  3. What are the mentee's objectives for the mentoring relationship?
  4. What are the expectations and roles of the mentor and mentee?
  5. What kind of issues, tasks or projects would the mentee like to work on with the mentor?
  6. What types of activities would the mentee find valuable, in addition to meeting and talking with the mentor? For example:
    1. Observing the mentor in action;
    2. Shadowing the mentor to see what he/she does on a typical day;
    3. Asking the mentor to review the mentee's work;
    4. Asking the mentor to observe the mentee in action and provide feedback; and/or
    5. Working on a joint project or task together.
  7. What kind and how much contact will the mentor and mentee have in between meetings, e.g. by email or phone?
  8. How will the mentor and mentee keep the relationship going if either party is away or if meetings have to be cancelled or rescheduled? and
  9. What are the confidentiality requirements?
If desired, the decisions reached may be recorded as a formal mentoring agreement.
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Section 10 - What Support is Provided?

(23) Mentoring workshops and resources will be provided in programs where mentoring is specified as a core component:

  1. Leadership Development for Women ;
  2. Graduate Certificate in University Leadership and Management ;
  3. Induction and Development Program ; and
  4. Indigenous Australian Employment Strategy.

(24) "Mentoring Made Easy: A Practical Guide" (2004) 2nd edn, published by the Office of the Director of Equal Opportunity In Public Employment, is a useful resource to guide self-selected mentoring relationships at the University.

(25) Mentoring advice may be obtained from Organisational Development Office, Division of People and Culture.

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Section 11 - What if the Relationship Isn't Working?

(26) Occasionally mentoring relationships are not successful. If this is the case, the mentor and the mentee have the right to request termination.

(27) If the mentor has been appointed, the person who made the appointment will need to be notified so that another mentor may be arranged.

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Section 12 - Monitoring the Scheme

(28) Organisational Development Office, Division of People and Culture will monitor the effectiveness of Mentoring @ CSU by seeking confidential reports from mentors and mentees on how well the scheme is working and how it might be improved. Such reports will not identify individuals and will have the sole purpose of recommending ways of improving the scheme overall.