The following are suggested mentoring tips based on feedback from former participants of ASHA’s Student to Empowered Professional (S.T.E.P.) mentoring program and Mentoring Academic-Research Careers (MARC) program. Current participants can use these tips to help develop a successful mentoring relationship.
Tips for Communication
- Contact one another immediately. Once paired with a mentor or mentee, you should reach out to one another and begin discussing goals for the program and your preferred mode of communication. These exchanges can be very informal e-mails or calls, or more formal written introductions with résumé/vitae—it all depends on the mentoring pair.
- Keep the lines of communication open. This is critical. Everyone is busy these days, so it is not uncommon for individuals to let things lapse. The goal of the S.T.E.P. and MARC programs is to foster a mentoring relationship. The specific communication will be determined by each pair. That being said, if there is a communication breakdown, be sure to contact the S.T.E.P. or MARC program coordinators, who can provide guidance on how to help. If, for some reason, one member of the pair cannot continue, ASHA can work with you to arrange another match, if available. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
- Carefully read the e-mails that S.T.E.P. and MARC send. The mentoring programs regularly send e-mails that share new resources and programs that may be of interest, articles on timely topics, and friendly reminders. Many mentors and mentees have found these e-mails helpful to stimulate conversation and provide guidance and resources. If you are not receiving these e-mails, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We don't want to overload your inboxes; we try to provide a balance of helpful information with relevant, timely topics while allowing the mentoring pairs to set their own goals and guidelines.
Tips for Goal Setting
- Get to know your program.
- S.T.E.P. was designed for students at all education levels—undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate. Each student has goals relative to their educational level, and the mentor should tailor their guidance according to the student’s expressed needs. Mentoring pairs are encouraged to use S.T.E.P.’s helpful goal-setting resource to help you get to know the program.
- MARC participants are PhD students, postdocs, and entry-level faculty. Their mentoring needs typically address completing their doctoral degrees and learning about topics related to entering and advancing careers in academia.
- For mentees: Adjust your expectations about what you’ll be learning. Not all mentoring topics will be about communication sciences and disorders (CSD) program issues. They will also cover topics critical to supporting your ability to succeed in a CSD career—topics such as maintaining work–life balance, managing academic and career goals, and managing time effectively.
- For mentors: Proactively provide guidance and assistance to those who need it. Mentors should be aware of and attuned to mentees who may not be adequately informed about a particular topic or who may not be taking the appropriate steps to achieve their goal. It’s OK that the mentee might not know the correct process: That’s where you come in! Your feedback can be very helpful.
Tips for Mentor/Mentee Matching
- Use the online system to select who you’re paired with. Through ASHA’s online mentor/mentee matching system, participants have the opportunity to mindfully self-select who they are paired with. The online system recommends to mentees which mentors they best match with and provides a percentage score that indicates how closely the mentee’s and mentor’s interests align. Mentees should request mentors with the highest percentage match score. If you are having difficulty finding the right match for you, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
- Meet in person whenever possible. ASHA strongly encourages mentor/mentee pairs to consider opportunities for face-to-face meetings. Events such as the ASHA Convention and other CSD conferences provide excellent opportunities for meeting in person and working on goals.
Tips for Ongoing Engagement
- Develop your relationship based on each person’s needs. S.T.E.P. and MARC are designed to create a culture where people can proactively support the development of one another. Once a mentee and mentor self-match, the pair should work together to develop their relationship based on each person’s identified needs. This makes the relationship more personal and tailored to each mentee and mentor.
- Get needed information by consulting the ASHA website.
- Be open to getting and giving guidance. The mentee usually knows best what their needs are, but there are cases where they don’t—that’s when they need the mentor’s guidance to get there. Some students may have difficulty articulating that need, and that is where the experience of the mentor is particularly helpful.
- For mentees: Don’t be shy in asking for support from your mentor. That’s why this program exists.
- For mentors: Stay attuned to the mentee’s need for guidance and support. The mentee may request it directly, or, their behavior may suggest that they need it (without specifically asking for it). Regardless of how support is requested, be ready to provide it—and to give it generously and graciously.