Effective mentoring encompasses:
- Long-term commitments from individuals, departments and institutions.
- Being inclusive of all ranks and peers.
- Developing a mosaic of mentors throughout one’s career.
- The development of clear, mutual expectations .
- The mentee is pro-active in seeking advice, knowledge and assistance which the mentor supportively gives (career progress, promotion and work-life balance).
- The mentor reviews and identifies career goals and skills of the mentee and finds ways to integrate these into supporting the department’s mission.
- Addresses equity and inclusion and is culturally relevant
- Fosters independence and promotes professional development
In order to avoid negative or “toxic” mentoring experiences, it is imperative to watch out for these pitfalls:
- Mismatched expectations.
- Time constraints or time demands (spending too much or too little time).
- Expertise of mentor not aligned with goals of mentoring relationship.
- Abuse of power in the relationship.
- Mentoring not culturally aware
- Competition between the mentor and mentee.
- Mentor does not promote the mentee’s ideas or takes credit for the work.
- Conflict between the mentor and the mentee’s supervisor.
- Lack of boundaries
- Abuse of power, sexual harassment.
Eby LT, Allen TD. Further investigation of protégés negative mentoring experiences: patterns and outcomes. Group and Organizational Management. 2002;27(4).