Mentorship Relationship Guidelines

This guide will help you to get the most out of your mentoring relationship.

We’ll cover:


  • What is SHB mentoring?

  • What makes a successful mentoring relationship?

  • What are the benefits for mentees?

  • What are the benefits for mentors?

  • Preparing for mentoring and expectations

What is SHB Mentoring?

At Stop Holding Back our aim is to support people who stutter to find the confidence and self-esteem to go after their desired career, despite stuttering. Stuttering is often a severe mental and physical roadblock to an individual’s career options and through mentoring we plan on removing that.  

Our mentor-mentee pairing is an informal structure, where the mentor will be experienced in their field supporting someone at an early stage in their career and or personal development.  

Another form of pairing could be purely speech related. The mentor has a lot of experience with dealing with stuttering in the work or business environment and overcoming that by sharing lessons and advice to the mentee so they can overcome those same challenges.

What makes a successful mentoring relationship?

A successful and enjoyable mentoring relationship allows both the mentor and the mentee to gain experiences larger, or at least different, from their own. Improving both individuals perspectives and responses to dealing with challenges around stuttering. 

It’s a safe and trusting relationship where the mentees can bring up any challenges and concerns that they may be experiencing in their day-to-day lives to their mentors and benefit from their advice and experience. 

What are the benefits for mentees?

  • Finding a career

  • Career opportunities and career mobility

  • Opportunities to demonstrate strengths and explore potential

  • Job satisfaction

  • Improving self-confidence and self esteem

  • Broadening horizons and accessing new experiences

  • Recognising achievements and raising aspirations

  • Being challenged

  • Develop visibility within or outside an organisation

  • Motivation

  • Personal Development 

  • Networking opportunities

  • Opportunities to give and receive feedback

What are the benefits for mentors?

  • Impacting another individual's life positively.

  • Enhanced coaching and listening skills

  • Opportunities to develop and practice your personal style of leadership

  • Gain additional recognition and respect

  • Personal satisfaction

  • Opportunity to exercise your creativity

  • Extended professional/community networks

  • Experience of dealing with challenging situations

  • Demonstrate expertise and share knowledge and skills

  • Be aware of new opportunities

Preparing for mentoring and expectations (as a mentor and mentee)

The mentor-mentee relationship is completely flexible with the ultimate aim of having a positive impact on both individuals as this is entirely voluntary.  


There is no formal structure or strict obligations as to what mentoring should be like for any pair due to the variety of individual life-situations, although we have some recommendations that can help you figure what it might look like for you with your mentee or mentor. 


Some things to consider:

  • What am I hoping to get out of this mentoring relationship?

  • How much time am I prepared, and able, to give to this?

  • What ground rules do we need to discuss?

What are the practicalities and who will take primary responsibility for:

  • Deciding how often to meet, where and for how long?

  • Setting the agenda of each meeting?

  • Defining the goals of your mentoring relationship?

  • Reviewing progress throughout the relationship?


What about ground rules for the relationship?

  • What sort of confidentiality limits do you want to / need to work with?

  • Should you be in touch in between meetings or not?

  • Will any written records be kept of your meetings and if so by whom?

  • How will you review the relationship and deal with any problems?

  • Discuss any previous mentoring that either of you has been involved with.  Use this learning to work out what worked well and what didn’t.


To get you started you should probably agree and/or commit to the following:

Frequency of your meetings

You may wish to meet once every two weeks for the first couple of sessions, but after that you may change to once per month – or whatever is appropriate for you both.  Agree the preferred mode of contact if anything needs to be discussed between meetings.


Meeting locations

Getting away from emails and phone calls will help you both focus on the meeting and give it your full attention.


Take stock regularly

Agree to regularly review how things are going.


Mentors could have been through dedicated training already.  Whether this is the case or not, if a mentor remembers the following elements it will encourage a healthy mentoring relationship:

  • Listen actively and show empathy

  • Use different questioning techniques

  • Give constructive feedback that can be acted upon

  • Have the ability to suspend your judgment and prejudices

  • Help to define the mentee’s objectives

  • Encourage the mentee to take responsibility for their own learning and development

  • Be willing, when appropriate, to share your own work experiences, skills and networks

  • Have the ability to discern when boundaries are being approached/crossed e.g. personal issues, departmental politics, conflict of interest regarding job applications etc.

  • Make time for the meetings and any preparation beforehand.  Commit to the full year of the programme

  • Use the opportunity to develop yourself

  • Absolute confidentiality

The first meeting: setting goals and objectives

The first meeting: setting goals and objectives

As a mentor you may wish to ask the following questions of your mentee during the first meeting so that you can plan how to progress, how you will track your success, and what steps you both need to take.  This will be an ongoing process, as your goals and objectives are likely to evolve over a few conversations.

  • What would you ideally like from this mentoring relationship?

  • In six months’ time what would you like to have achieved, which I might be able to help you with?

  • How will you know if you’ve made progress?

  • What specific help from me would be most useful?


Here is an example of an agenda that you could use for your first session.


  • Mentor outlines what s/he has planned for the session

  • Mentor asks mentee what s/he has planned

  • Agree agenda and clarify how long the meeting will last


Get to know mentee

  • What the mentee currently does in relation to work activities

  • Explore education and career history and career aspirations

  • Discuss motivation

  • What does s/he want to get out of the mentoring relationship?


Let mentee know about you

  • Your current job and your career history

  • What has motivated you? Have you always been clear about your chosen career path?

  • Why you want to be a mentor and what you want to get out of the experience

  • Your preferred working style – how s/he can get the best from you

  • Discuss the objectives of the mentoring relationship


Next steps

  • Decide what will be covered in the next session

  • Set a date and time for next meeting and how long the session will last

  • Agree any pre-meeting work either of you needs to do

  • Confidentiality – explain what it involves and make an agreement


All mentors will have the opportunity to check in with the trustees in a ‘mentors group meeting’ once a month. This will give all mentors the opportunity to check in and feedback on how their mentee is getting on, any challenges they are facing, and raise any topics they wish to. This session is used as a continuous improvement tool where we can voice our ideas and thoughts to then action them during the coming month to ensure our mentorship is to the highest standard it can be. 


Dates for meetings to be set once all mentorship programs are up and running. 

If you have any questions contact us at

Reference guide:

We also have the dedicated Mentors Community which you will be invited too if you  choose to become a mentor.

Our Impact

Callum Scofield is a teacher and comedian who went through the stop holding back program and is now a SHB mentor helping others who stutter build confidence, self-esteem and the courage to  make the most of themselves despite stuttering.

I applied for a job where I was the youngest and had the least experience, which made me anxious as the interview approached. I reached out to SHB for advice and support.


I received a very professional and realistic mock interview which put me in an ideal position for the real one.


As a result of the preparation, I was offered the job 10 minutes after the interview. I’m now working in a role I love and I’m very grateful for all of the support and encouragement from the whole SHB team.

Ante, Germany (Consultant Doctor)


Career Mentorship