Mentoring Resources

This page contains several different mentoring resources. For more information contact me

Thanks Tony

How many are complaining about the the young guys these days don’t get it? Ask yourself. How much did you and the guys in your station, dept have to do with that/ How much time did you take to try and learn about them then take you under your wing/ When you did take them in, did you teach what what they need to be successful or say hey kid everybody sucks and just listen to me, we have our own way of doing it?


  • Someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person
  • A trusted counselor or guide

In the fire service being a mentor is halfway between being a drill sergeant and Mother Theresa;  The skills of a teacher and a psychologist

Mentoring types: Formal and informal, as well as unintentional.

Almost everyone is an unintentional mentor, beware of your impact.

Table 1: Differences between Mentoring and Coaching
Mentor Coach
Focus: Individual Performance
Role: Facilitator with no agenda Specific agenda
Relationship Self selecting Comes with the job
Source of influence: Perceived value Position
Personal returns: Affirmation/learning Teamwork/performance
Arena: Life Task related

Mentoring Purpose:

Overall goals: Creating motivated and engaged employees, indoctrination, provide organizational  values & expectations , understanding of culture of organization and guide for personal improvement, Improve performance, reduce discipline / personnel issues, increase cooperation within the organization.

Individual goals: Confidence, increased knowledge base & skills, improved interpersonal skills, reduce stress,  being a torchbearer of information from one generation to another

Used by: New recruits, personnel climbing the ladder, personnel looking for improvement

Setting up a mentoring program:

It is Structured

Have a plan / description of what the purpose is and how it is to be operated

Support from management, Not just lip service.

Clearly defined process of how to conduct the program

Buyin / understanding of the program by the whole organization that includes how they impact the program / process, along with their role.

Recruit mentors – choose based on best suited.

Train everyone how the program works. Additional training for the mentors

Regular periodic review

Measure Key performance indicators set in the program.

Best practices

Good mentor:

  • Must have the time to commit, not a 9-5; Mon- Fri. job.
  • Don’t start by giving bad 1st impression
  • Be a match, not every 2 personalities get along. Be fair to each other and find someone who will be a better fit.
  • Has passion for the job, finds working in Fire & emergency services is  a privilege.
  • privilege  to serve. You are the most trusted in the community.
  • Have a good attitude towards job in general, how can you provide inspiration if the job sucks to you. have enthusiasm.
  • Understanding / empathetic when appropriate
  • Patience
  • Road scars are helpful. be human, admit mistakes. If you have had trials and tribulations from the job you can provide insight of how it shouldn’t be based on experience
  • Good Listener – would even recommend taking a class in active listening.
  • Some basic psychology is helpful
  • Give your opinion, but speak with facts
  • Mentoring is about them. While you will benefit from this experience, It’s your job to help them succeed, not just try to impress them with how much you know
  • Gives guidance and constructive feedback / Don’t berate or belittle
  • However be ready to provide corrective action and not let continous poor performance to continue
  • Don’t talk bad about management and other co-workers. If you want to point out poor performance go after the act, not the person.
  • Walk the walk, how can you positively impress someone if you don’t practice what you preach?
  • Encourage critical analysis / research for the facts
  • Challenge Status Quo, don’t challenge leadership
  • You’re not an expert in everything, ask others to help you, provide input. Send your mentee to others with certain skills and or knowledge base
  • Encourage lifelong learning

Expectations of mentees (Protege’ / Recruit):

  • Come with a attitude to learn
  • Be Committed to the process
  • Be ready to develop HEART
    • Honor
    • Ethical
    • Accountability
    • Responsibility
    • Trust
  • Show respect to all you may deal with in the process
  • be open to a view different that yours
  • Agree to common goals set
  • Take constructive criticism and corrective action feedback as part of the learning process and not an attack on your character
  • Ask questions respectfully, but ask questions

Needed between Mentor & Mentee:

  • Mentor should understand there is no 1 formula in connecting and working with a mentee/ Start with best practices as you learn and understand more about your mentees learning style and personality.
  • Hold each other accountable for their part of deal
  • Have a balance on discussion of personal issues
  • Agreement on clear expectations of each other, as well as boundaries
  • Don’t talk down to, communicate with
  • Do this through setting goals and objectives, even if the 1st set are short term
  • Be respectful, but honest with each other
  • know mentee’s knowledge and abilities
  • A two way learning process
  • Discuss generational or job / position differences
  • Review performance on a regular basis, Recommend provide written feedback (could be check list). Feedback include positives and areas needing improvement. In areas needing improvement set performance measurements for next review.
  • provide assignments that will challenge the mentee to grow.

Common pitfalls of mentoring or lack of:

  • Treating new guys like “one of the guys”, especially if they are juniors.
  • Not welcoming them into the organization
  • Not assigning a mentor early to:
    • Discuss organizational expectations
    • discuss individual expectations of the mentee
    • describe organizational culture
    • introduce them into the organization
  • Not having a organizational or individual mentor commitment to the program
  • lack of formal review of the program
  • assigning the wrong person to mentor
  • not holding the mentee accountable (Instill HEART)
  • others trying to sabotage the program

Best practices:

  • formal indoctrination that details organization, that includes, “We are a fire dept, but don’t do much firefighting cause there are not that many fires.” (Provide realistic view of organization) However highlight what other activities there are.
  • Share your history and culture and why it’s important to your organization today.
  • Keep the mentee challenged, not too much, not too little. Not one size fits all.
  • Stay on track with the principles and plan.
  • Keep everyone who might be in someway engaged with the program up to date on what’s going on without getting too personal.
  • have benchmarks and performance measures
  • Even if you are not a formal mentor know  you are having an impact
  • learn from other mentoring programs, not just fire service based
  • interactive feedback with mentor & mentee
  • Mentoring never stops, it just transitions
  • At the end of a mentoring interaction provide yourself a self assessment of how the interaction went.
  • Learn from another mentor before trying it on your own

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