Starting Your Relationship

It is normal to feel a little nervous as you begin the mentoring process. Here are some tips to get you started. 

A Mentee's Point of View

  • Share your background and professional interests, such as how you got interested the field, your career goals, where you are from and where you go to school.
  • Share your Mentoring Action Plan [PDF].
  • Ask about your mentor's career. A few questions you might want to ask are:
    • Why are you interested in mentoring?
    • How did you choose the field?
    • Where do you work?
    • What is your clinical area of expertise?
  • Agree on ground rules about how often you will communicate and how quickly you will be able to respond.
    • How often will we try to communicate? (Should be at least once per month and preferably more at the beginning.)
    • Will it be by phone, e-mail, or face-to-face?
    • What days/times work best?
    • What are the roles of the mentor and the mentee?  
    • What expectations do we have about the way the two of you will communicate (e.g. formally, informally)?
  • Keep a list of your questions. Add to your list as the program continues and your relationship develops.

A Mentor's Point of View

  • Share your background, including some information on why you made your career choices. Keep in mind to share the highlights of your career, but also talk about a more challenging time in your professional development and career. This may make your mentee will be comfortable sharing similar information.
  • Explain why you were interested in being a mentor. Ask your mentee what he or she is looking for in a mentor.
  • Read over the Mentoring Action Plan [PDF].
  • Ask a few questions about your mentee's current experience, such as:
    • Why did you choose this field?
    • Where are you in your schooling?
    • What are some short-term goals for you?
    • What skills do you most want to develop in terms of future personal and professional growth?
  • Agree on ground rules about how often you will communicate, how quickly you will be able to respond, and what level of confidentiality is expected
    • How often will we try to communicate? (Should be at least once per month and preferably more at the beginning.)
    • Will it be by phone, e-mail, or face-to-face?
    • What days/times work best?
    • What are the roles of the mentor and the mentee?  
    • What expectations do we have about the way the two of you will communicate (e.g. formally, informally)?

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