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For Mentors

  • Your motivation for mentoring: why do you do it?

  • Your expertise and experiences: what do you have to offer?

  • Your communication: how do prefer to communicate? 

  • Your bandwidth: how much time do you have?

  • Your limits: time and expertise

  • Your expectations of the mentee and the mentoring experience

  • Exhibit admirable personal qualities, including enthusiasm, compassion and selflessness.

  • Act as a career guide, offering a vision but purposefully tailoring support to each mentee.

  • Make strong time commitments with regular, frequent and high-quality meetings.

  • Support personal/professional balance.

  • Leave a legacy of how to be a good mentor through role modeling and instituting policies that set global expectations and standards for mentorship.

Self-Assessment: How good a mentor are you?

As a mentor, are you available? Do you appreciate individual differences? Are you able to use self-direction and questioning in guiding your mentee? Do you celebrate your mentee’s success? Are you able to provide your mentee with not only skill development but networking opportunities, as well

Please read Nature's Guide for Mentors and take the Mentor Self Assessment Form.

Mentoring relationships are often tailored to the mentoring needs in terms of providing career advancement interventions and psychosocial support. Mentors are encouraged to establish early on the expected roles and responsibilities of the relationship with their mentee.

Prepare for the mentoring relationship:

  • Mentors should evaluate their own mentoring skills.

  • Determine goals and expectations of the mentee

  • Review mentees Individual Development Plan (IDP), CV and Mentee Self-Assessment Form prior to first meeting.

  • Review and understand the promotion and tenure criteria as they pertain to your mentee’s track and rank.

Cultivate the mentoring relationship:

  • Meet with mentees regularly, often quarterly or more frequently based on needs. Mentees should be advised to establish the schedule/timeline and lead the meetings with an agenda.

  • Be available for urgent situations as they arise.

  • Serve as a role model for faculty behavior in relationships with colleagues, administration, staff, patients, learners and the community.

  • Participate in mentoring training, evaluation and feedback.

Assist mentee with career guidance and provide career advancement interventions:

  • Aid the mentee in goal setting by establishing achievable, realistic and time specific career goals via an Individual Development Plan (IDP).

  • Encourage and assist in the facilitation, completion and submission of scholarly projects.

  • Help the mentee acquire the skills necessary for a successful career (i.e. research skills, time management, manuscript preparation, grant writing, presentation skills).

  • Review and critique the mentee’s work (i.e. scholarly projects, manuscripts, teaching methods, clinical work, feedback, CV, promotion package)

  • Provide advice about opportunities that will advance the mentee’s career in terms of service, research, education and/or clinical care.

  • Provide connections and collaboration for the mentee with others in the academic community including opportunities for presentations, scholarship and extramural funding.

  • Invite the mentee to networking events and career-related social occasions.

  • Provide institutional knowledge and memory in terms of navigating the where’s, how’s and who’s. (i.e. Where to find resources? How to get certain things done? Who has the power and influence? etc).

  • Advocate for your mentee within the department, institution and specialty. (i.e. for protected time, assist in negotiating with a chair, recommend for an award, sponsorship for a committee)

  • Provide guidance for work-life balance and integration.

Additional articles of interest:

  • Detsky, AD, Baerlocher, MO. Academic Mentoring-How to Give It and How to Get It. JAMA. May 16, 2007; Vol. 297(19):2134-2136.

  • Bauchner, Howard. Mentoring Clinical Researchers. Arch Dis Child. 2002, 87;82-84

  • Lee A, Dennis C, Campbell P. Nature’s guide for mentors. Nature. June 2007; Vol. 447(14): 791-797.

One of the critical responsibilities for a mentoring relationship is to aid the mentee in setting and achieving career goals for short and long-term aspirations, as well as, periodically evaluating new opportunities that arise. In addition, framing these career goals with respect to personal life ambitions and commitments is often necessary.

We encourage mentors to utilize these templates to assist your mentee in establishing career goals, a work-life integration strategy and evaluating opportunities that arise.

Encourage the mentee to complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP) at the beginning of each academic year and update annually.

Assess the viability of the IDP and work-life integration strategy and provide honest feedback.

Establish a clear understanding of your role in assisting your mentee in achieving his/her goals. Is your role to advise, suggest or listen? Will your mentee’s goals require you to provide something other than guidance? How can you be most helpful to your mentee?

Download the meeting checklist

Prepare before the first meeting:

  • Exchange contact information and discuss the best way to communicate (phone, email, in person).

  • Review promotion & tenure criteria and policies for your mentee’s track and rank.

  • Obtain and review the mentee’s CV and IDP prior to the first meeting.

  • Introduce yourself by phone or email. Suggest potential topics for the first meeting and encourage the mentee to prepare an agenda.

During your meetings:

  • Set aside about an hour for the first meeting. Share professional and personal interests.

  • Establish meeting guidelines. When and where to meet? How to schedule meetings? How to communicate between meetings? Agenda format ? How to exchange of feedback and evaluate?

  • Discuss expectations, roles and responsibilities of the mentoring relationship. Provide articles, IDP and other resources for the mentee to review or complete.

  • To chart your mentee’s success, help develop a checklist that you both can follow.

  • Partnership agreement, modify if needed and sign. Agree on confidentiality and no-fault termination.

Meeting structure for a 60 minute meeting:

  • 10 minute: Check-in personal and professional updates. Review meeting agenda.

  • 20 minutes: Address time sensitive issues (upcoming presentations, manuscript revisions, teaching dilemmas, etc…)

  • 30 minutes: Assist with ongoing projects (goal setting, suggest resources, agree on a timeline.) Provide career guidance for CV and Individual Development Plan IDP (current and long-term goals.) Consider networking opportunities and committee or professional organizations for the mentee.

  • Wrap up, clarify expectations and schedule next meeting.

Giving and receiving feedback

Mentees require honest, candid, time-sensitive feedback from their mentor. Reciprocal and on-going feedback between the mentor and mentee is vital to the mentoring partnership. Click the image on the left to view a diagram of mentor/mentee feedback.

Evaluation forms