Peer Mentoring – Do’s and Don’ts

A list compiled by current peer mentors…

Do’s

  • make mentees feel welcome
  • be positive
  • keep information confidential
  • always listen (active listening)
  • keep eye contact
  • make mentees feel comfortable
  • be prepared
  • take the lead
  • offer support and guidance
  • try to understand
  • be encouraging
  • reflect on own experience/behaviour
  • show respect
  • develop a rapport
  • talk
  • be open minded (incl. open body language)
  • be patient
  • be helpful
  • offer constructive criticism
  • establish clear boundaries
  • develop trust
  • be proactive
  • value mentees’ opinions and beliefs
  • value diversity
  • take what mentees say seriously
  • encourage mentees to talk about any concerns and/or aspirations they might have
  • talk about any relevant experiences and problems you have overcome (without taking the focus away from your mentees)
  • share study skills tips
  • refer to specialist services where appropriate
  • attend all meetings (and if you are unable to attend, inform all relevant people)
  • report any unacceptable behaviour
  • discuss any concerns/problems you might have with the module leader
  • be yourself!

Don’ts

  • don’t judge
  • no negativity
  • leave before the mentees
  • make it too personal
  • become too attached
  • be late
  • be rude
  • cross boundaries
  • ignore
  • neglect
  • intimidate
  • be aggressive
  • speak over mentees
  • ‘’closed’’ body language
  • do their work for them
  • give false info
  • act as a counsellor/therapist (there are other people trained in these roles)
  • take responsibility for your mentee’s problems and feel you have to solve them
  • ‘’friend’’ your mentees (but be friendly!)
  • give mentees too much personal information (e.g. give private phone number and/or address to mentees and/or encourage them to contact you at home or outside the university environment)
  • involve your mentees in your own personal issues
  • gossip about mentees (in general, information should be kept confidential)
  • encourage mentees to plagiarise (or commit any other academic offence)
  • accept physical and/or verbal abuse in sessions
  • keep secrets
  • let the mentor role interfere too much with your own studies and commitments

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