Mentoring for Career Support and Success

Late last year I had the privilege of presenting a seminar to a group of business women who are members (including myself) of the Brisbane Women’s Club. The focus of the session was thinking about the career stage you are at and how a mentor can support you at different stages in this career trajectory. Some of you reading this newsletter attended that seminar and have already worked through this process, but I really wanted to share it with my wider subscriber audience.

Whether you are at the beginning of your career, mid-career, or considering a career change, having a mentor is an invaluable source of support. So, what can a mentor offer? What are essential qualities of an effective mentor? And how do you find a mentor who has the qualities and experience you need? Have a look at the following table which identifies a continuum of 4 career stages and complete the following exercise…..

  1. Think about where you are on the continuum. Add in other descriptors that also or better reflect where you are currently in your career path.
A new role – understanding the job role Established career role Sharing knowledge & expertise: Teaching and coaching others Re-assessing
Learning the job Re-evaluating and confirming career goals Pursuit of alternative lifestyle Adjustment of priorities
Building peer relationships Promotion opportunities Very experienced in field Pursuit of alternative lifestyle
Establishing professional networks Retaining skills through meaningful professional development May be a mentor to others An opportunity for doing something different
Increased responsibilities Attainment of a clear level of competence and confidence Re-evaluating learning opportunities New learning/re-learning
Identifying work and career values Potential for stagnation if become professionally inactive Forming a legacy Setting new goals
Setting professional goals May be a mentor to others Career plateau reached Mapping new career pathway
Orientation to the organisation – where you fit, understanding expectations Seeking and/or achieving work-life balance Formal or informal planned exit strategy Leveraging expertise in a new or related field of work
Identifying professional development needs Considered a generalist or specialist in chosen field Exploring new job assignments and role adjustments Facing and embracing new challenges
Mapping a career pathway Established self in chosen career Plan of action in place

2. Now use the table below to consider yourself in the role of a mentee requiring support in your career, or as a mentor providing someone else support in this.

As a Mentee: As a Mentor:
What do you want or need from a mentor that will support you in your career stage (where you are on the continuum)?

  • Do you want to gain more skills in your chosen field/discipline?
  • Do you want to make a shift?
  • Do you want to change your career focus?

Look for a mentor who is successful in the career stage you are at or at the next career stage.


What knowledge, skills and experience can you share in a mentoring relationship, where you are helping someone to:

  • Make a career decision
  • Establish career goals
  • Make and manage a career change

You may be able to offer and provide mentoring support at multiple places and levels on the career continuum.

You may be able to offer and provide mentoring support at multiple places and levels on the career continuum.


Mentee Role Mentor Role
Mentoring support I would benefit from:







Mentoring support I could provide:









Categories: Career Development