Publication description

This document includes advice, guidance and resources for mentees taking part in the Civil Service LGBT+ Network mentoring programme.

Separate advice is available for mentors.

Your role as a mentee

What we mean by mentoring

Mentoring is a relationship between two people: a ‘mentor’ and a ‘mentee’.

There are many different kinds of mentoring relationship. For the Civil Service LGBT+ mentoring programme, experienced, more senior LGBT+ civil servants mentor less experienced, generally more junior, LGBT+ civil servants like you.

As part of the mentoring relationship, your mentors will informally share their knowledge and experience with you to suport your professional and career development. They will coach you to think about how to develop your skills, solve problems, and move your career forward.

What good looks like

There are many ways to approach a mentoring relationship. You will need to think about what you want to get out of the relationship you build with your mentor.

As a mentee, your mentor will expect you to:

  • be self-aware by knowing what you want out of your mentoring relationship, and having a good understanding of your strengths and development needs
  • be communicative, with an ability to ‘actively listen’ and to approach conversations in an open, respectful way
  • be willing to learn by constructively engaging with feedback, and applying knowledge and skills you gain
  • be proactive by seeking out your own opportunities and bringing issues to explore to your sessions
  • manage the mentoring relationship; mentors are helping you voluntarily and they will expect you to ‘do your bit’ by arranging any engagements and keeping to your commitments
  • be willing to give feedback to your mentor about how your relationship is developing, and what you need more or less of from it
  • be trustworthy by maintaining the confidentiality of conversations they have with you
  • maintain boundaries so that the mentoring relationship remains appropriate for the workplace

Benefits of having a mentor

Finding the right mentor and developing a strong working relationship with them can help to boost your career. As a mentee in the Civil Service LGBT+ mentoring programme, we hope you will be able to things like:

  • identify ways to improve your knowledge, skills and expertise
  • plot out your career aspirations and identify ways to get there
  • gain insight from more experienced staff
  • expand your professional networks across the Civil Service and outside of it
  • build your confidence in engaging with others and improve your communications skills
  • use your participation in the programme as evidence of your development as part of your performance management process

Your mentor isn’t there to give you all the answers. Mentors can help to provide a framework for you to think through problems, act as a sounding board for your ideas, and provide external challenge that you might not get from someone like your line manager.

What to do as part of the programme

Set up your speed mentoring sessions

As part of the Civil Service LGBT+ mentoring programme you will be paired with up to 3 mentors from across the Civil Service. They’ve volunteered to give you a one-off, 30 minute ‘speed mentoring’ session.

It is your responsibility to set up the sessions. Contact each mentor you are paired with and suggest some times to meet within the next 4 weeks.

The expectation is that the speed mentoring session will either be via phone call or video call. Choose whichever you feel most comfortable with.

If you know your work IT doesn’t support video calling, for whatever reason, then consider using a personal device. There are many free services that you can use to make video calls including:

Other video call services are available too.

If you happen to live in the same area as your mentee, and if it is permitted within the context of the public health guidance at the time, you could also meet face-to-face if you prefer.

Prepare for your speed mentoring sessions

You can use your ‘speed mentoring’ sessions however you like.

In advance of meeting your mentors, we recommend that you:

  1. decide whether you only want some one-off advice or whether you are looking for a mentor long term
  2. think about why you signed up to get a mentor, what you hope a mentor can help you with, and be prepared to explain this to your mentor
  3. be prepared to talk about your career journey so far, and your strengths and development areas that a mentor might be able to help with
  4. think about questions you might ask your mentor about their skills, experience and career journey
  5. if you want some on-the-spot advice, choose one issue to the meeting to discuss

Meet with your speed mentors

Meet with your speed mentors at the times and dates you agreed with them.

It is your responsibility to lead the sessions. The point of the programme is to help you get ahead in your career and professional development, so make sure you have thought about what you want to discuss with your speed mentors. They will ask you questions and share their advice; but you need to decide where you want to take the conversation.

We’ve told mentors that you might:

  • tell them if you want one-off advice or are looking for a long term mentor
  • discuss what you want from a mentoring relationship and what you hope to learn
  • talk about each of your career journeys, skills and experience
  • want to discuss a specific issue to get some on-the-spot advice

After you’ve completed your sessions

Everyone that signed up to be a mentor has said they would be willing to support one mentee long-term. This usually means continuing to meet with someone roughly every 4 to 8 weeks over the course of a year.

After all your speed mentoring sessions have happened, decide if you want to turn your speed mentoring relationship with one of your mentors into something more permanent.

If you want to keep one of your mentors

If one or more of the mentors you met really stood out as someone you’d like to keep meeting with, it is your responsibility to approach a mentor and to keep the relationship going. We would recommend you meet with your mentor once every 4 to 8 weeks for up to 12 months.

You should contact your preferred mentor as soon as possible to ask them if they’d be happy to continue meeting with you.

Please only approach one mentor at a time so that as many mentees as possible get a chance to build that long-term relationship with a mentor.

There are resources below to support you to continue the relationship.

If you don’t want to keep any of your mentors

If your mentors weren’t the right fit for you or you just don’t want to continue your relationship with any of them, then that’s the end of the programme: at least for you, for this round.

We hope you were able to get some benefit from the speed mentoring sessions.

Resources to support your mentoring conversations

Civil Service Learning

The resources cited below require a Civil Service Learning account, which all Civil Service staff can access for free online. Other resources are from third parties.



Module by Civil Service Learning

This module contains a handbook and templates to help you structure your relationship with your mentor.

Visit this website (external site)

Coaching and mentoring: ILM qualification (Level 5)

Module by Civil Service Learning

This module is available as a paid for, distance learning course. A face-to-face module is also available at a higher fee. You should speak to your line manager or HR contact about funding for paid-for training.

Visit this website (external site)

Coaching and mentoring: ILM qualification (Level 5)

Module by Civil Service Learning

Visit this website (external site)



Email templates


These are template emails to send to your mentors at various stages of the programme.

View this template

Lifeline exercise

PDF document

This is an exercise you can use with your mentor.

Download this exercise

Other resources

These are some resources that you might find helpful when thinking about your mentoring relationship.


How to Ask Someone to be Your Mentor

Article by Novoresume

Read this article (external site)

How do you find the right mentor?

Video by Chronus

This video explores what kind of questions you might want to think about when you’re deciding what kind of mentor you might need.

Watch this video (external site)

How to conduct a productive mentoring meeting

Video by Chronus

Watch this video (external site)

Preparing for the first meeting with your mentor

Video by Chronus

Watch this video (external site)

Sharing constructive feedback with your mentor or mentee

Video by Chronus

Watch this Video (external site)

Code of conduct

We expect all our mentors and mentees to conduct themselves professionally and in line with the Civil Service Code – just like any other workplace activity.

We’ve created a Code of Conduct that explains the behaviours and standards you should be able to expect of your mentors, and what they expect of you as mentees.

In addition to drawing on professional experience of those involved in the Civil Service LGBT+ mentoring programme, a number of sources were drawn upon to inform this resource. Use of these sources does not constitute an endorsement of the publisher. These resources are listed below.

Internal sources

Civil Service Learning, “Mentoring” online course

Civil Service Learning (2020), “Mentoring handbook”

Civil Service Learning (2020), “Mentoring quick guide”

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (2021), internal guidance on coaching conversations using the GROW model

External sources

All sources were accessed during June 2021. Publication dates and links are provided where they were available.

Chronus (Unknown), ”How to conduct a productive mentoring meeting” (Video)

Chronus (Unknown), ”How to find the right mentor?” (Video)

Chronus (Unknown), ”Preparing for the first meeting with your mentor” (Video)

Chronus (Unknown), ”Sharing constructive feedback with your mentor or mentee” (Video)

European Mentoring and Coaching Council (2016), “Global Code of Ethics: for coaches and mentors”

Keele University (Unknown), “The Five Cs model of mentoring”

Manchester Metropolitan University (Unknown), “Mentoring Guidelines”

MentorsMe (Unknown), “Sample code of conduct”

MindTools (Unknown), “Mentoring: A mutually beneficial partnership”

MindTools (Unknown), “The GROW Model of coaching and mentoring: a simple process for developing your people”

Phillips-Jones, L. (2003), “Skills for successful mentoring: Competencies of outstanding mentors and mentees”

Southampton University (Unknown), “Ethical guidelines for mentoring pairs”