Ethical Foundation

Mentoring, in its many forms, is primarily about improving the performance of the client.  Through a one to one relationship the mentor is given access to the client’s hopes and fears. As rapport is built and trust develops the mentor also shares the client’s aspirations and future goals.  The very nature of the mentoring relationship puts the mentor in a privileged position, a position from which to enrich the life of the client, but also a position which, unless care is exercised, can cause harm.

Mentoring, no less than any other profession, requires clear behavioural guidelines in order to safeguard clients and mentors. These guidelines are encapsulated in our Professional Standards and give clear indications of what is, and what is not, acceptable professional behaviour within the mentoring community in general, and the IIC&M in particular.

Professional Standards do not stand on their own. They are the product of an ethical foundation, which presumes that mentor will conduct their lives and practices to the highest standards. The IIC&M endorses the following Core Values, as the basis for Professional Standards:

1. Integrity
2. Honesty
3. Transparency
4. Excellence
5. Care
6. Professionalism
7. Accountability

Our Professional Standards are the result of applying these Core Values to the areas of life and work in which we have particular responsibility. As mentors, we exercise a responsibility towards our clients, ourselves and the mentoring community therefore the IIC&M Core values cover the following areas of responsibility:

A. Client Care
B. Personal Professional Conduct
C. Professional Relationships

When things go wrong in a mentoring relationship or within a mentoring business, it will undoubtedly be the result of the lack of a rigorous application of the core values to the areas of responsibility. The IIC&M, recognising the requirement to ensure the highest standards of professional and personal behaviour, requires all those coming under its banner to conduct their mentoring work in such a way as to maintain and maximise the impact of the Mentoring Core Competencies and Core Values upon each area of professional responsibility.

Our Professional Standards represents a summary of what are, and what are not, acceptable standards for professional mentors. Advice on the practical outworking of these bullet points can be obtained through the IIC&M’s Standards and Ethics.

Where things go wrong, and the reality is that they will from time to time, the IIC&M’s Complaints Procedure is available to ensure that both the mentor and client are cared for and helped towards effective and supportive resolutions.

Professional Standards

A. Client Care

Mentors have a duty of care towards their clients and should ensure that in all dealings with their clients they display the highest standards of professional conduct.

  1. Mentors will ensure that clients fully understand the mentoring agreement, terms and conditions, the costs, the process, the location and the frequency of sessions.
  2. Mentors will not give clients misleading information or advice or make false claims about the results of, or what client will receive from, the mentoring process.
  3. Mentors will treat all clients with honour, dignity, and integrity, fully respecting the client’s values, beliefs and goals (which may differ from their own), being aware of cultural, regional and linguistic differences.
  4. Mentors will not abuse their client’s trust in order to gain sexual, emotional, financial or any kind of professional advantage.
  5. Mentors will not prolong a mentoring relationship beyond its useful conclusion, but will encourage a client to make a change to, or to terminate the agreement, when aware that the client is no longer benefiting from the mentoring relationship.
  6. Mentors will respect the client’s right to terminate the mentoring relationship at any point during the mentoring process.
  7. When working within organisations, mentors will obtain the express consent of the client before releasing information such as progress reports and other particulars to the person who may be employing them.
  8. Mentors will inform clients of any personal situations or relationships which may have an adverse effect upon the mentor/client relationship, and together agree what appropriate action should be taken.
  9. Mentors will not diagnose or assess any health issue (mental or physical) but will suggest that the client consults with a relevant practitioner.
  10. Mentors will ensure that clients are aware of the IIC&M Statement of Standards and Ethics, and of how to access the IIC&M Complaints Procedure.

B. Personal Professional Conduct

Mentors have a duty to ensure that their professional standing and conduct are of the highest level.

  1. Mentors have a responsibility to monitor and maintain their fitness to practice at a level that enables them to provide an effective service. If their effectiveness becomes impaired for any reason, including health or personal circumstances, they should stop working and seek advice and support.
  2. Mentors will clearly understand their own levels of mentoring competence, experience, qualifications and accreditation and will not exaggerate, embellish, misrepresent or defraud these in any way.
  3. Mentors will ensure that all promotional materials and advertisements, including verbal and written, are truthful, honest, legal, decent and compliant with current legislation.
  4. Mentors will work within the limitations of their own competence and will distinguish situations where it may be necessary to refer a client either to a more experienced mentor or to seek the help of a qualified professional or practitioner.
  5. Mentors will operate within applicable laws, rules and regulations and will not, assist, persuade or collude with others engaged in conduct which is dishonest, unprofessional, unlawful or discriminatory in any way.
  6. Mentors will treat all information from a client with absolute confidentiality. Mentors will only disclose information where explicitly agreed with the client, or where the mentor believes there is compelling evidence of serious danger to the client or others if the information is withheld.
  7. Mentors will be aware of the impact of their own belief and values systems and the effect of these may have on their mentoring.
  8. Mentors will ensure their behaviour can in no way be described as sexual harassment, physical advances, sexual solicitation, or verbal or non-verbal conduct that is sexual in nature.
  9. Mentors will maintain appropriate records of their work with clients, ensuring that any such records are accurate and that reasonable precautions are taken to protect against third party disclosure. Attention should be given to the clients rights under current legislation.
  10. Mentors will be diligent in understanding and implementing their client’s and their own legal and other obligations with regards to race, national origin, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, disability, and socioeconomic status, ensuring they do not knowingly participate in or condone unfair discriminatory practices.
  11. Mentors will ensure they participate in relevant training and appropriate Continuing Professional Development to augment and increase their level of mentoring competence.  Mentors will ensure they are aware of new technologies, legal requirements, practices and standards as are relevant to the mentoring profession by participating in appropriate and relevant instruction. Mentors will maintain a record of all such training undertaken.
  12. Mentors  will monitor the quality of their work and seek feedback from clients and other professionals.
  13. Mentors will not enter into a mentoring arrangement where it could create a risk of conflict of interest.
  14. Mentors will ensure clients are fully aware of the nature of the service provided – if mentoring is agreed, only mentoring is delivered.
  15. The IIC&M recommend that all Mentors have current Professional Indemnity Insurance to cover the provision of their mentoring services.

C. Professional Relationships

Mentors have a duty to ensure that in their dealings with colleagues and the public they maintain the good standing of the mentoring profession and do not bring the profession, professional bodies or individual mentors into disrepute.

  1. Mentors will work supportively with colleagues to raise the profile and standards of mentoring by conducting their business in keeping with IIC&M Professional Standards.
  2. Mentors  will ensure that any public statements produced by themselves or their agents (verbally or in writing) are true and reflect well on the mentoring community.
  3. Mentors will take care to ensure that they do not use their relationship with IIC&M, or other professional bodies, in a way that is detrimental to such a body or that brings that body into disrepute.
  4. Mentors will not claim to represent IIC&M, or other professional bodies, unless explicit permission for such has been granted.
  5. Mentors will take care to use logos only as allowed by their status within each organisation.
  6. Mentors will immediately notify the IIC&M, if a situation arises which creates conflict, litigation or bad publicity.
  7. Where a Mentor has reason to be concerned about the behaviour or practice of another member of the mentoring community, that matter will be raised firstly with the person concerned. Thereafter the matter should be referred to the IIC&M Complaints Procedure. Such concerns should be treated with the appropriate degree of confidentiality and sensitivity.


Issue 2: October, 2014