Mentoring can provide additional support to parents as they navigate the transition of integrating work and family life during parental leave and beyond.

Mentoring can improve motivation because it fosters human aspects of building relationships, interconnectedness to the organisation, reduce anxiety and tension as the mentee has a support person to assist in managing the complexities of change and in normalising the experience.

Effective Mentoring can be effective in

·      Helping people one on one to manage stress and constant change

·      Increasing productivity

·      Facilitate improvements in communication and motivation

·      Build capability and the sharing of ideas

·      Build networks and increase connections and social relatedness

·      Build capability and confidence

The research in this area is clear. Parents seek informal supports, by people who have been there before and have hindsight and experience. The benefit of the mentor relationship is that there is a clear space between experiences, allowing for open sharing without the fear of competitiveness or judgement.


 What is mentoring?

Listening, sharing of experiences, building rapport through trust

What mentoring is not

Giving advice, counselling, judging, critiquing

Skills of a good mentor?

Being open, having integrity, being authentic and trustworthy, asking questions

Benefits of a mentor?

Having a support person who understands what you’re going through, feeling connected and heard, having someone o talk to and share with, feeling normal

Effective Mentoring

Supporting a parent transition with their return to work and juggling of work/family by engaging in conversation that involves;

•       Exchanging or sharing ideas and insights through story-telling, providing guidance and feedback based on your own personal experiences as a working parent.

•       Stimulating thinking and different or new approaches to thinking about work, family life

•       The mentee brings the things they’d like to discuss to a mentor meeting

It’s informal in nature; you may find you build an ongoing learning relationship with the mentee over time if you both enjoy the mentoring exchanges.

What it is not

•       An alternative to career or relationship coaching, counselling or therapy

•       About giving formal advice on return to work arrangements or other employment matters

•       Building career and life plans for the mentee

•       Solving the mentee’s problems

•       About the mentee outsourcing decision making to the mentor

•       A compulsory process where one person does all the work – both parties need to contribute to the discussion

Effective mentors use their wisdom to inform their questions and help their mentees build their own wisdom.

Ethical Guidelines

•       The Mentee sets the agenda

•       Honour confidentiality

•       Respect and honour privacy boundaries

•       The relationship must not be exploitative in any way

•       Mentor must be aware of their own competence and escalate to appropriate areas for help

•       Mentor and Mentee should respect each other’s time and responsibilities

•       Either party can dissolve the relationship at any time

•       Mentors must be aware of any current laws and work within it. 

•       As the growth of one to one relationships as a development offering increases, it is important to ensure there is proper conduct between Mentor and Mentee.

•       The mentor’s role is to respond to the mentee’s developmental needs and agenda. Not to impose his or hers own agenda

•       Mentors must work in the agreed boundaries of confidentiality that is appropriate within the context

•       Mentor will not intrude into areas the mentee wishes to keep private until invited to do so. However s/he should help the mentee recognise how other issues may relate to those areas.


First Meeting Suggestions

·      Exchange relevant information about yourself, your role and career history etc

·      Talk about intentions for the mentoring and identify common ground

·      Identify key areas the mentee would like to explore and want support they feel they need

·      Establish boundaries - decide when, where to meet and how long. Decide the appropriate contact times and quantities.

·      Discuss and agree what would like to achieve from the mentoring session


When to seek further corporate assistance?

•       When the mentee requires or requests to speak to an independent and qualified coach external to the organisation

•       The mentee requires formal advice on returning to work

•       The mentee requires tools and learning material to support their return to work or work life balance

•       Wants assistance to prepare for return to work meetings or building personal solutions for optimising balance and wellbeing

•       Suspecting mental health and relationship concerns

•       Workplace conflict resolution and mediation


Parents at Work - for all corporate matters

Phone: +61 2 9967 8377

Warning signs that further support may be required

Panic attacks,

Persistent, generalised worry, often focused on fears for the health, wellbeing or safety of the baby

Abrupt mood swings

Feeling constantly sad, low, or crying for no obvious reason

Being nervous, ‘on edge’, or panicky

Feeling constantly tired and lacking energy

Having little or no interest in all the normal things that bring joy

Sleeping too much or not sleeping very well at all

Losing interest in intimacy

Withdrawing from friends and family

Being easily annoyed or irritated

Feeling angry

Finding it difficult to focus, concentrate or remember

Engaging in more risk taking behaviour (e.g. alcohol or drug use)

Having thoughts of harming your baby

Having thoughts of death or suicide.


Panda M-F 9am-730pm 1300 726 306

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Life Line 13 11 14


(Panda, 2019)