What qualities should I look for in choosing a mentor?
- is interested in developing your career.
- is committed to mentoring (and has a successful track record).
- is available and accessible.
- matches your professional and personal needs (and has the ability to assist you in skill development).
- is a good communicator (encouraging and honest).
- will sponsor you and provide networking opportunities.
- has institutional “memory” and is savvy.
- has the potential for reciprocity.
- has admirable personal qualities (enthusiasm, compassion, selflessness).
Self-Assesment: What qualities do I need as a mentee?
- able to take initiative and drive the partnership.
- capable of establishing clear and specific objectives.
- comfortable asking for assistance.
- open to hearing new ideas and perspectives.
- receptive to constructive feedback.
- someone who values and appreciates feedback.
- willing to change behaviors.
- respectful and able to instill trust.
- open to showing appreciation and gratitude.
A mentee who wants to get the most out of the mentoring relationship will actively employ “MANAGING UP.” This concept means that the mentee takes ownership of and directs the relationship by being motivated to manage the work of the relationship in many ways, which include:
Preparing for the mentoring relationship:
- Complete Mentee Self-Assessment and send prior to first meeting.
- Compete Individual Development Plan and send prior to meeting.
- Prepare an updated CV to be reviewed by mentor at least one week prior to meetings.
- Be aware of your academic track and rank. Review and promotion and tenure criteria and where you are on the cycle. Ask for assistance and direction.
Initiating and cultivating the mentoring relationship:
- Schedule meetings (often quarterly or more frequently based on needs).
- Prepare the meeting agendas in advance with a timeline and run meetings.
- Communicate in a way the mentor prefers (phone, email and/or in person).
- Agree on structure and objectives of the relationship (model of mentoring, career mentor, functional mentor for a specific scholarly project, etc).
- Ask questions and actively listen.
- Be responsive and flexible.
- Direct the flow of information.
- Ask for feedback and participate in the mentoring evaluation.
- Be gracious and appreciative.
Assisting your mentor in giving relevant advice and council:
- Set goals and expectations that are achievable, realistic and time specific.
- Identify knowledge and skill gaps (Mentee Self-Assessment Form).
- Clarify your values.
- List specific opportunities and guidance sought.
Following through on assigned tasks and opportunities provided by mentor:
- Participate in faculty development opportunities.
- Participate in networking and collaboration opportunities.
- Complete and report back on assigned tasks (i.e. scientific writing for critique, prepare poster or presentation, a key step in a project, reading or research assignment).
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 mentees to utilize these templates in establishing career goals, a work-life integration strategy and evaluating opportunities that arise.
- Mentees should 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 request honest feedback.
Adapted the Leadership in Academic Medicine Program (LAMP) at Indiana University School of Medicine and the UCSF Faculty Mentoring Program website. April 2011.
Prepare before the first meeting with your mentor…
- Take the initiative!! Contact your mentor, introduce yourself and set up the first meeting. Agree on confidentiality and no-fault termination.
- Self-assessment: What are my goals? How can a mentor help me meet my goals? Consider the specific areas for which you require mentoring. What skills do I need to learn or improve? What are my competency levels and skills as a teacher, researcher, administrator and clinician? (Mentee Self-Assessment and IDP)
- Think about your developmental network of people you turn to for career advice and support. These include colleagues, mentors (scholarly, research, career advisors, peer-mentors), trainees, mentees, friends and family. What purpose will this mentoring relationship serve and what guidance am I seeking?
- Update and provide a copy of your CV to your mentor. Ask your mentor about his/her career path (possibly by reviewing his/her CV) and identify key steps that seem valuable.
- Review promotion and tenure criteria for your track and rank.
- The mentee should prepare an agenda for the meeting.
During your meetings…
- Discuss your short and long-term professional goals and proposed project. Work together to develop steps to reach these goals including mentoring needs, skills, resources and a timeline. (Can review your IDP to assist).
- Review your self-assessment and discuss the specific skills and areas in which you need mentoring. Be specific about what you want or need. Be clear about a timeline of your request. Is it for a specific project or a specific skill? Do you have any deadline? Recognize that you are asking for a favor that requires time and commitment.
- Determine the frequency of meetings. This will vary based on individual needs (from once a month to at least twice a year.) Interactions can range from brief email or phone updates to lengthy follow-up meetings.
- Establish meeting guidelines. When and where to meet? How to schedule meetings? How to communicate between meetings? What agenda format will be used? How will feedback and evaluation be exchanged?
- Discuss expectations, roles and responsibilities of the mentoring relationship.
- Partner agreement, modify if needed and sign. Agree on confidentiality and no-fault termination.
- Suggest potential topics for future meetings based on career advancement interventions, skills development and/or work-life balance.
After the meeting
- Establish your own checklist to track progress. Keep an ongoing portfolio of activities and works in progress.
- Make a timeline and follow.
- Send thank you note (show gratitude).
- Create an agenda for each meeting and email in advance.
- Re-evaluate the mentoring agreement at least annually.
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.