Product has been added to the basket

Mentoring for Chartership

Two men seated at a laptop with one explaining something to the other


The Geological Society fully recognises the very important role that mentoring can have in supporting Fellows while they are preparing for Chartership. Mentoring provides the opportunity to share knowledge and experience to help others develop and progress. This section sets out the role of a mentor, and how the Society facilitates the mentoring process.

Most of us benefit from having someone with whom we can discuss our aims, plans and problems. A mentor can offer:

  • A different perspective
  • Challenges based on experience
  • Encouragement
  • Help getting motivated when going through a tough patch
  • Help with setting goals and defining how to achieve them

Fellows who have used a mentor in the past have found that the relationship has:

  • Enhanced their training and career development
  • Significantly influenced their attitudes and professional outlook
  • Guided them round major procedural obstacles and pitfalls
  • Improved their results by challenging their assumptions
  • Enhanced their likelihood of a successful Chartership Application

Relationships that start with a clear ‘learning contract’ are generally the most rewarding.

  • Conflicts of interest must be avoided, so it is usually considered inappropriate for a mentoring relationship to exist between manager and subordinate, or close colleague.
  • It is important that ground-rules are established at the beginning of the relationship, to avoid misunderstanding later on. These may include the timings and format of the meetings, the anticipated length of the commitment and method of communication.
  • Responsibilities and expected outcomes should be discussed at an early stage. It is important to state any specific results the mentee hopes to gain from the relationship and how these will be measured.
  • Seek mentoring advice from a senior work colleague. If your employer already has a GSL Accredited Training Plan, they will have a mentor assigned to work with employees
  • Join a GSL Regional Group as well as the Early Career Network and seek help from CGeol members
  • Join the GSL Mentoring Group on LinkedIn and seek help from existing members

What is a mentor?

questioning manA mentor someone who assists another to grow, acquire new skills and insights, and develop his or her potential. 

The mentoring relationship builds confidence and helps the mentee to take responsibility for his or her own development.

A mentor

  • Volunteers their time to take a personal interest in others
  • Listens actively
  • Questions and finds out what is important to the mentee, exploring their skills and aspirations
  • Creates an open and candid relationship, to encourage the growth of trust and confidence which assists the learning process
  • Regards all the mentee says as confidential
  • Avoids mentoring those who are in a direct reporting line
  • Is fully aware of their own limitations and is able to overcome them, as well as those of the mentee
  • Has appropriate experience for the role
  • Is a Chartered Geologist or Chartered Scientist and is fully aware of the criteria for Chartered status

Benefits of mentoring

  • Satisfaction from helping others and seeing them progress
  • Developing a deeper, broader knowledge of the profession
  • Opportunity to practise and develop management skills
  • Job enrichment and the chance to build a wider network
  • Increased self confidence and higher visibility within the profession

How to become a mentor

Join the GSL Mentoring Group on LinkedIn

From time to time, the Society offers workshops on mentoring, where Fellows with these responsibilities may further their knowledge of the process.

Key skills and responsibilities

Personal organisation

walk and talkBefore you start mentoring, it is essential that you consider the amount of time that you are willing to give. Does this match the level of commitment that your mentee expects? Can some of this time be by phone or email?


listYou will need to think beforehand about what you want from the mentoring relationship. 

For instance, who will be responsible for the practical aspects of the process, who will organise when and where to meet and who will initiate reviews of the relationship?

Communications skills

You will need a range of interpersonal skills including:

  • Listening attentively and non-judgementally
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Questioning skills to encourage your mentee to talk and think through issues
  • The ability to challenge constructively

Flexible attitude

roadsignBeing flexible means that you respond appropriately to your mentee’s changing needs and are open to new ideas and different ways of doing things. Flexibility comes with increased awareness of your own behaviour and those of others.

An important part of a successful mentoring relationship is the attitude and commitment of the individual being mentored. He or she should:

  • Understand that the role of the mentor is to challenge, encourage and support, but not to provide answers
  • Guard against becoming dependent on the mentor
  • Approach each meeting fully prepared
  • Be open to ideas, suggestions and different perspectives
  • Be open and honest about what works and what does not

Becoming a mentor, formally or informally, can be a great stepping stone towards becoming a Supporter or an Assessor. There are many benefits to becoming a mentor which include:

  • Learning more about areas of your profession;
  • Demonstrating your leadership skills;
  • Becoming exposed to different approaches and mindsets;
  • Enhancing and building your professional network;
  • Taking delight in helping others with building their professional career; and
  • Building your CPD portfolio.

By joining the LinkedIn Mentors group and the Early Career Network once you have become chartered, you will be able to find opportunities to mentor others.

The first meeting

  • Ensure that expectations of the relationship are discussed and you both have a clear idea of the mentee’s goals.
  • Agree guidelines on how you will work with each other. For instance how often you both think you need to meet and or for how long; do you want to set an agenda for each meeting; whose responsibility will they be and where will they take place. 
  • The mentee should articulate what their expectations are of the mentor
  • The mentor and mentee should jointly establish the gap between the mentee’s capabilities and experience and the requirements for Chartership
  • The mentor should discuss with the mentee the most appropriate route to Chartership (i.e. Chartered Geologist or Chartered Scientist)
  • Establish in what areas the mentee needs the most help and together create a development plan to monitor progress 

Subsequent meetings

  • Briefly summarise the notes of each meeting directly after it finishes (mentor and mentee to agree who does this)
  • Update the status of any actions that were agreed
  • The mentor should build on the mentee’s own ideas, share their thoughts and ideas but not give advice
  • The mentee should be encouraged to take notes
  • Agree time and date of next meeting

Between meetings (mentor):

  • Send a brief note to summarise actions (or delegate this to the mentee)
  • Do anything that you have promised to do promptly
  • Keep in touch, for example:
    • Enquire how trips/activities went
    • Forward articles/publications etc. that might be of relevance to the mentee
    • Suggest training or events that might be of interest to the mentee

disagreeingAlthough most mentoring relationships work well, there may be occasions when (for whatever reasons) the relationship does not work. 

If at any time the relationship is not progressing as it should, please contact the Society's Fellowship team.

Chartership competency checklists and other guidance documents are here.

Below is the template for the Accredited Training Scheme training record.

GSL Chartership Training Scheme Annual Training Record