Mentor

What is Mentoring?

A developmental partnership through which an individual (mentor) shares knowledge, skills, information, and perspectives to foster the personal and professional growth of someone else (mentee).

Congratulations on your interest in serving as a mentor! Mentoring can be a richly rewarding experience for you, as well as the person you are mentoring. As a mentor, you have the ability to create positive change in a colleague by sharing your wisdom, expertise, institutional knowledge and political savvy. You will gain new perspectives, enhance your communication and leadership abilities and achieve a sense of fulfillment by assisting another person fulfill their goals.

At a Glance: Mentoring Duties

The many facets of mentoring will be explained in detail on this website. The list below provides you with a quick glance of the expectations of a mentor.

  • Set relationship boundaries: For example, is it OK to discuss topics outside of the workplace (personal matters, cultural differences, etc). This initial conversation helps build rapport, invites honest dialogue
  • Be available, meeting at least monthly
  • Describe the best communication method for you; commit to a prompt response
  • Maintain CONFIDENTIALITY
  • Be an active listener—pay attention to listening barriers (e.g., acting in a fixer-role, anticipating your next thought)
  • Navigate and guide but do not decide
  • Support, sponsor, and advocate for networking opportunities
  • Advise on developmental and training opportunities, complex situations and challenges
  • Offer strategies to reach career destination
  • Model professional behavior and integrity
  • Share own knowledge, experiences, setbacks, and lessons learned
  • Be constructive and supportive with feedback
  • Help evaluate and recalibrate
  • Celebrate progress 

Now that you have a sense of what a mentor does, learn more by clicking an area in the circle below for information on the mentoring phases.

NIH Mentoring Cyclepie1 pie2 pie3 pie4