Preparing for Mentoring

Mentoring is a long-term commitment that involves time, energy, and attention. And careful preparation.

Preparing for mentoring—before meeting with your new mentee—is an important first step.  Whether informal or formal, mentoring requires preparation in order to avoid assumptions and pitfalls. Preparation may seem as though it kicks off the relationship slowly at first, but it is an important step in a long-term commitment that involves time, energy and attention by the faculty involved.

Mentor Preparation

Before meeting with a prospective mentee, mentors should spend time exploring their motivation for mentoring, and considering what skills they have that will facilitate effective learning.  

Mentoring motivations might include: the satisfaction of being sought out for advice; a feeling of reward in helping others learn and achieve their goals; an interest in passing on knowledge to future generations of faculty; an interest in working with colleagues who pursue different problems or areas of research; or a desire to further one’s own growth.

Key Mentoring Skills include:

  • the ability to broker relationships for others;
  • the ability to build and maintain new relationships with colleagues;
  • the ability to coach, facilitate learning, and guide without command; the ability to communicate clearly and empathetically with individuals who may not share one’s background, interests, or personal histories/ circumstances;
  • and the ability to manage conflict.

Mentors should also have time to meet regularly, and the capacity to provide and receive feedback.