Mentoring Guidelines for Searfarers

NL 46

Capt Teo


By Capt. Richard Teo

Mentoring Guidelines for Seafarers

Part 1 – Mentoring Guidelines

Role model, mentoring circles, peer team mentoring, team building, improved skills, competency-based work-life, enabling and sustaining employability knowledge, skills and praxis.

  Mentor with Telemachus

Figure 1. Mentor with Telemachus

Too often, in recent times we hear from various sources about the poor state of graduate officer quality and how poorly trained they might be. Many have proposed that mentoring can alleviate the situation and thus enable each aspirant to attain the various competences required to effectively keep a watch and perform in the various employability skills at sea and later in shore-based appointments.
So what is mentoring?  This short article hopes to provide some pointers that Masters and senior officers on board may participate fruitfully. Mentoring takes over the “academic role” of the college professor, lecturer, trainer and / or teacher, and becomes the key person at the work-place that can maintain and sustain the desired and essential qualities of not only the subordinates but also the peers.


Mentoring helps to support the development of essential skills in the workplace. Mentoring is the pairing of an experienced or skilled person (mentor) with a person(s) who would like to improve his or her knowledge and skills (mentee). The mentor demonstrates a positive attitude, acts as a role model and supports the mentee(s) by willingly sharing knowledge, resources and advice to help them improve their skills, attain the requisite competences, become productive and successful on the job.
Mentoring also occurs as,

  • Mentoring Circles – a mentor works with a group of mentees. The mentor provides advice and guidance to the group and encourages mentees to help one another.
  • Peer or Team mentoring – team members or peers collaborate and mentor each other. Peer mentoring may be established to address a particular issue or problem. This type of mentoring is good for cross-training, team building, research and generally developing skills and knowledge of new employees and volunteers.

Mentoring embraces two pathways,

  1. The Mentor showing the mentee(s) how to complete a particular task or tasks competently
  2. A longer term commitment by a mentoring relationship.

A third pathway is sometime applicable when mentees work together in an action learning mode. A mentor may be a member of the team, providing the underpinning skills and knowledge for a chosen project or job.

Mentoring assists people in organisations support a learning culture in the workplace, thus increasing productivity. Some of the benefits are as listed below:

[table id=1 /]

Primarily this plan has been designed for the basic work place. On board mentoring may follow the same pathways but due to remoteness and isolation, may require a more determined approach.

During Mentoring Sessions or Meetings

The Mentor will accompany mentees during their work periods and shifts as applicable. Specially arranged meetings to provide feedback should also occur whenever possible.

Note: The Mentor provides non- judgmental support to the mentee.

Activities during Mentoring Sessions

The mentor will provide support and offer advice to mentees as follows:

  1. Discuss goals, expectations and interests
    1. What would you like to get out of this experience?
    2. What skills are you confident about?
    3. What skills would you like to improve?
  2. Clarify mentor/mentee relationship
    1. Confidentiality – any agreements
    2. Duration
    3. Periodic meetings if any
    4. Feedback arrangements
  3. Discuss the learning plan and review together if necessary
    1. Mentee’s preferred learning strategies to attain objectives/goals
    2. Determine best learning pathways to attain learning outcomes
  4. Discuss with mentee(s)toidentify strategies and activities that will support their learning goals
    1. Activities may include
      1. Practising skills or tasks during sessions
      2. New projects or assignments
      3. Job shadowing
      4. Self-study etc.
  5. Discuss resources identification and management of resources
  6. Assist and support the mentee to self – conceptualise, self-manage and be self-aware
  7. Any other matter that will assist the mentee in achieving his/her role in the organisation.

Top Ten Qualities of Good Mentor

Top Ten Qualities of Good Mentor

[table id=2 /]

Duration of this Mentoring

The mentoring will be deemed completed by mutual agreement.


Mentoring can be a rewarding experience for mentees. Some benefits are tabled below for ease of reference.
[table id=3 /]

These guidelines are meant for your learning and action roles.  The following guidelines can help you maintain a successful mentoring relationship.

Preparing for Mentoring

Think about what you want to establish through mentoring. What are your learning goals to be an officer in your chosen vocation?
Make sure you understand your roles and responsibilities as a mentee as well as the responsibilities of the mentor.
Familiarise yourself with the Essential Skills required for your role as an officer.

 Building Relationships

Figure 5. Building Relationships

Establishing the Mentoring Relationship

  1. Meet with your mentor to discuss your goals, expectations and interests. Be clear and specific about what you want to establish. If you have a learning plan, you may want to review this with him/her.
  2. Clarifyanddetermine the mentoring relationship. Make sure you and your mentor have a common understanding of the following:
    1. Confidentiality
    2. The duration of the relationship
    3. How often and how long you will meet
    4. Preferences for receiving feedback etc.
  3. You and your mentor may want to complete the “Mentoring Agreement”. In any case you need to clarify your learning goals as well as mentor/mentee expectations
  4. Talk about your roles on the Job (OJT) preferred learning strategies to determine the best way to achieve the learning goals.
  5. Identify strategies or activities that will support the learning goals. Activities to involve practising skills or tasks, trying new projects, job shadowing etc.
  6. Any other matter that will help you attain your goals.

Working with your Mentor

  1. Be enthusiastic and open to new learning opportunities
  2. It is important that you work with your mentor to achieve the programme objectives/goals and the attainment of the learning outcomes for your trainees or learners.
  3. In the case of your own learning outcomes, it is not however the mentor’s role to solve your problems or to complete work assignments for you. You must take responsibility for your own work
  4. Constructive feedback is an important part of the mentoring relationship. Be open to constructive criticism and try to learn from it. You should also provide feedback to your mentor on the mentoring relationship to help ensure it is successful.
  5. Do not judge or criticize the mentor. Respect is critical to the success of the mentoring relationship.


Beevers, K. Rea, A.D. (2010). Learning and Development Practice. CIPD UK.

Mentoring & Essential Skills, Office of Literacy and Essential Skills. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada – 2009

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