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Understand the Fundamentals of Mentoring

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Define mentoring.
  • Describe how mentorship benefits a mentor.
  • Identify the roles and responsibilities of a mentor.
  • List the phases of Trailblazer Mentorship.

What Is Mentoring?

Mentoring is a partnership between someone who is more experienced in a particular skill or subject (a mentor) and someone who is less experienced (a mentee). The mentor shares their expertise and guidance—even general work or life experience—to foster the mentee’s personal and professional growth. 

Mentees aren’t the only ones who benefit from the relationship. Mentoring is an excellent way to share knowledge, develop coaching skills used in management, and practice the communication, empathy, and inspiration involved in leadership.

Where there’s shared learning and growth, there’s also shared responsibility. In other words, the mentor isn’t solely in charge of leading the relationship. Both the mentor and the mentee have an important role to play—and specific responsibilities that go along with that role. 

So, what does a mentor do? Besides providing access to much-valued expertise, a great mentor will:

  • Be present for meetings.
  • Ask questions to get insight into their mentee’s career goals.
  • Give advice, suggest challenges, and offer feedback to help their mentee reach those goals.
  • Share lessons they’ve learned during their own journey, and listen to the stories their mentee shares about their experiences.
  • Keep high expectations of their mentee and hold them accountable.
  • Maintain confidentiality.

A mentor and mentee pushing together two oversized puzzle pieces to signify their partnership

What Is Trailblazer Mentorship?

Trailblazer Mentorship is a core Trailblazer Connect program that matches mentors with mentees within the Trailblazer Community. It empowers mentees to connect to opportunities to land their dream job in the Salesforce ecosystem. It also provides a framework for how mentors can focus on their mentees’ goals and needs across a minimum of three meetings. Mentors can be anyone in the Trailblazer Community with at least 1 year of Salesforce experience.

In Harvard Business Review’s Keeping Great People with Three Kinds of Mentors, Anthony K. Tjan describes three kinds of mentoring relationships.

  • Buddy/peer mentoring
  • Career mentoring
  • Life mentoring

While many of us might first envision a mentor relationship that centers around life mentoring, the focus of Trailblazer Mentorship is a blend of buddy/peer mentoring and career mentoring. Tjan explains that the “‘buddy’ or peer-based mentor can help one get up the learning curve faster” while the career mentor is “someone senior to them who serves as a career advisor and advocate.” 

What Is the Mentorship Journey?

Mentoring is often a very rewarding experience, whether it’s focused within a specific time period or stretching across a particular job or an entire career. Trailblazer Mentorship outlines four phases, from the initial interaction when expectations are discussed to closure of the formal mentoring relationship. While some mentoring experiences become lifelong relationships, many successful ones are more targeted across a set period, with specific goals in mind. 

 Trailblazer Mentorship Lifecycle

As you begin your mentorship journey, it’s a good idea to follow these four stages. 

Stage 1—Preparation: Set expectations. Establish foundations for a successful mentoring relationship. In Trailblazer Mentorship, this should be completed in week 1. 

Stage 2—Negotiation: Agree on expectations and set working agreements. This also should be completed in week 1. 

Stage 3—Enabling: Enable your mentee to accomplish their career goals. This can be completed in weeks 2–4 as you complete the exercises and get to know your mentee better. 

Stage 4—Closure: Focus on closing out the formal relationship, or redefine the relationship if you mutually agree to stay in touch. This should be completed in week 4. 

Within Trailblazer Mentorship, which requests a minimum of four sessions, there are recommended tasks and actions. In the example, a mentor might follow this plan for a mentee seeking career guidance. 

Week Goals Actions


Career Plan

Get to know your mentee, build trust, and establish goals and agreements. Develop a job search plan.


Resume Review

Provide actionable feedback on the format and content of the mentee’s resume or CV. 


Mock Interview

Act like an interviewer and help your mentee practice answering questions about their experience, values, and career goals. Provide actionable feedback for improvement. 


Final Check-In

Refine the career strategy with your mentee, close out your mentorship relationship, and complete program surveys, which you will receive via email after your final session.  

Now that you’ve learned about Trailblazer Mentorship and what mentorship entails, check out the next unit to learn who can mentor and how mentorship benefits mentors.


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