Download the Mentee Prep Toolkit

 


 

Print Section Form: Mentee Needs Self-Assessment


 

Self Assess

Think about the type of mentoring you need and want, prioritize, and then begin to think about the best mentors for you.

Don't be a passive mentee!

Just as not all mentees want the same kind of mentoring, not all mentors are effective at every type of mentoring. Each mentoring relationship is unique and re-negotiable at any point. A mentee should consider seeking multiple mentors, each of whom might offer a unique skill set, insight, and communication style. 

  • What are you looking for from a mentor?
  • What qualities would you like your mentor to possess?
  • In what areas are you looking for mentorship?
    • Research and scholarship?
    • Career track and advancement?
    • Work-life coaching?
    • Teaching?
  • Would you consider multiple mentors? 

 

Print Section Form: Types of Mentoring Relationships


 

Prioritize

Self assess to determine what kind of mentoring you need, and then seek out the individuals who are most likely to help you meet your goals. At least one of your mentors should be knowledgeable about your career track's policies and procedures. 

 

One mentor cannot fulfill all of these roles. Communicate to each of your mentors the role you hope that they play.

 

I would like my mentor to be … 

A Confidant Who Will

  • Advise me on work-life balance, wellness, and resilience
  • Offer me a safe place where I can ask questions and share difficulties
  • Share with me how I am perceived
  • Offer honest evaluation

A High-Level Advisor Who Will

  • Advise me on career dilemmas
  • Strategize with me about career and organizational dynamics
  • Pose challenging questions
  • Identify opportunities for my professional development
  • Offer feedback on long and short-term career goals

A Skill Developer Who Will

  • Impart negotiation skills
  • Teach me scientific skills
  • Evaluate my teaching and presentation skills
  • Edit my grant proposals
  • Support my research enterprise infrastructure
  • Identify specific behaviors that are helping or hindering my career
  • Prescribe recommended actions

A Sponsor Who Will 

  • Help me navigate organizational politics
  • Operate as my information broker
  • Solicit invitations for me to speak
  • Find potential research collaborators for me
  • Nominate me for awards
  • Increase my visibility
  • Fosters networking opportunities for me

 


 

A Career Mentor

Faculty track systems are often unique to their institutions, so you should not rely on colleagues' experiences at other institutions to form your own expectations and understanding of how you will achieve reappointment and promotion here at the Perelman School of Medicine. At least one of your mentors should be knowledgeable about your career track's policies and procedures for reappointment, extensions, promotions, and your track timeline.

Other considerations for a career track mentor might be the following:

  • Is this person senior enough to have the informal or formal power to advocate for you within your own institute, center, department, or division?
  • Has this person successfully launched previous mentees into careers along your faculty track?
  • Does this person make an effort to stay up-to-date on school and university policies and procedures?

 

PSOM Career Tracks

An effective mentee will do their homework. Use these resources to educate yourself about your track. Share them with others who may not be up to date.

 

Finding Career Track Experts

These individuals should have the expertise to guide you toward potential career track mentors. 


 

Where to Find Mentors

So, how does one go about finding mentors practically? For potential mentors external to your organization, you may want to look to professional societies, editorial panels, reading groups, etc. For internal mentors, you may find these approaches useful.

 

Search Available Databases

 

Look for colleagues with similar research interests

Ask colleagues who are a few years ahead of you in their careers!

 

Talk to Colleagues


 

Print Section Form: Interviewing and Selecting Mentors


 

Select Mentors

You are assigned a mentor on your offer letter, but this individual may not end up being the best fit for you. Do not wait to be contacted by your assigned mentor.  Reach out for a meeting and determine as soon as possible whether this individual is the right mentor for you. Even if you are well matched with your assigned mentor, you should strategically and methodically seek out additional mentors. For example, you may not have personal chemistry with someone a colleague recommends. Better to select the right mentors than to have to extricate yourself from a mentoring relationship that just does not work. In addition to seeking advice from chairs, chiefs, and near-peer colleagues from both within and outside of your department, you should consider an initial informal meeting where you are able to ask poignant questions, such as those in Interviewing and Selecting Mentors, and ascertain the following information:

 

Reflect on Personal Compatibility

  • Does this person seem to understand where you are in your career? 
  • Is this mentor's primary focus on fostering your independent career or in you lending expertise to his/her projects?
  • How do you feel before meeting with this person? Excitement? Motivation? Dread? Anxiety?
  • Will you feel comfortable being yourself with this person or will you be acting a part with this person?
  • Does this person serve as a role model or model behaviors you want to develop in yourself?
  • Can this mentor help translate institutional and professional cultures and norms in a way that fosters your sense of inclusion and belonging?

 

Compare your Research and Scholarship Interests

  • How do your research interests overlap with this person?
  • What physical, intellectual (scientific, methodological) and fiscal resources do you need access to in order to achieve your research goals? Which one(s) could this person provide?
  • Will this person be able to provide opportunities to successfully teach you what you need to know to continue in your area of expertise?
  • Does this person create a positive and productive work/lab environment?
  • Would this person provide you access to the research collaborators that you need?

 

Assess Your Communication Styles

How compatible are your communication styles? The following three-step method may be used to compare communication styles. (Click to download forms.)

  1. Communication Style: Assessment Form
  2. Communication Style: Scoring Grid
  3. Communication Style: Thinking/Planning, Doing/Directing, Supporting/Collaborating, Visioning/Creating

 

Determine Realistic Availability

  • When you schedule an interview with this potential mentor, do you make the appointment directly with him/her or with his/her assistant?
  • Does this person respond to your emails or phone calls in what you consider a timely fashion?
  • When you meet, how balanced is the conversation? Who does most of the talking?
  • Does this person demonstrate active listening skills? Make eye contact? Show an engaging posture?
  • Does the mentor check if her/his perception of what you said matches what you intended to say?
  • How does this person demonstrate they have heard and understood you?

 

Reach Out

After you've determined the type of mentoring you want, and selected potential candidates, it's time to reach out. If you would like to be introduced, please don't hesitate to reach out to Faculty Affairs and Professional Development (FAPD). We would be happy to connect you to your colleagues.

If you reach out on your own, be sure to include the following information:

  • Brief introduction
  • Up-to-date CV
  • Rationale for selecting this individual
  • Your goals

 

Print Section Form: Meeting Agenda and Structure Guide


So you've found your mentors. Now What?

 

Set Goals

  • Identify annual goals, short-term goals (1-3 years), and long-term goals (3-5 years).
  • Make certain your goals are specific, time based, and realistic.
  • For each goal, create at least one correlating metric for success.
  • Ask yourself: what will I need to be successful in meeting my goals?

 

Take the Initiative

 

Communicate how your mentor can be most helpful to you

Do you need advice about how to achieve your goals? Are you looking for someone who can help to provide you with opportunities or networking? Tell your mentor how they can be most helpful to you. This means you need to be honest and real. Your mentor will be able to better help you if you are honest about what you want professionally and what you need to achieve that.

 

Create meeting agendas

Depending upon the nature of your relationship with your mentor, and your mentor's preferences and communication style, you should either send an agenda ahead of the meeting with your mentor, or start the meeting by reviewing your proposed agenda. Agendas should include a list of the key issues that need to be discussed (upcoming presentations, manuscripts, opportunities, etc), and meeting outcome goals.

 

Allow adequate time for your mentor to prepare for the meeting

Send relevant information, along with the agenda (if applicable, see above), prior to the meeting. If the goal is to review a manuscript or project proposal, send information to the mentor well in advance of the meeting.

 

Arrive on time for meetings, and be prepared to discuss projects and achievements

Come prepared with relevant materials, such as a literature search (for a research meeting), your teaching evaluations from TED (to discuss teaching), and/or your CV or Individual Development Plan (when discussing career advancement and promotion).

 

Ensure development of skills

Make certain that you have a clear idea of the “to do” items between this meeting and the next meeting. This is your action plan. What training or education do you need? Who should you meet with? You can follow-up a meeting by creating a summary to do list, indicating who is doing what. This summary can be sent to the mentor after the meeting, and is a good reference when setting the agenda for the next meeting.

 

Set a time for your next meeting

Arrange a follow-up meeting with your mentor either at the end of the meeting or via email.

 

Honor your commitments and be respectful of your mentor’s time

Your mentor is likely very busy. Always respond in a timely manner to mentor’s questions and requests. Don’t be late or disorganized. Similarly, make certain to do what you say you are going to do. Follow through is really important for your mentor to stay invested in you.

 

Be receptive to constructive feedback

Be open and willing to learn new things. 

 

Show appreciation and gratitude

Mentors are busy. "Thank you" is always appreciated.


 

Print Section Form: Evaluating the Relationship


 

At the end of each year, reflect upon your mentoring relationships.

It's important to establish that you will both be evaluating the relationship yearly. Some mentorship relationships last for years, others are more associated with a specific career phase. And sometimes the relationship does not work out. If the relationship wanes, the annual review is your opportunity to transition from mentee to colleague. 

When a mentoring relationship ends, this does not necessarily mean that it has failed. Often by design, mentoring relationships are effective for specific, discrete phases of a mentee's career, and often both mentor and mentee will come to the same conclusion.

 

When to Terminate the Relationship

It may be time to move on if ...

  • You can't think of anything you should discuss with your mentor
  • You are not making progress
  • Your mentor is not available to you

In the above situations, you may want to consider the following strategies for terminating the relationship. 

  • Avoid passive methods, such as distancing yourself and avoiding contact without explanation 
  • Specify for the mentor the goals you've achieved with his/her support
  • Discuss the additional ways you've benefited from the relationship
  • Be honest about your desire for a change in the relationship

 

If you are unsure how to terminate the relationship, seek advice from your other mentors, division/department leadership, and/or the Perelman School of Medicine Faculty Affairs and Professional Development.

 

It's advisable to move on if … 

  • You and your mentor have differing value systems
  • Your interactions have included patterns of personality clashes or miscommunications 
  • Your mentor seems to lack content area expertise you need
  • Your mentor does not deliver effective feedback for you

 

Move on, and consider elevating your concerns to your other mentors if ...

  • Your mentor has not kept your discussions confidential
  • Your mentor has taken credit for your work or not shared vital information with you 
  • Your mentor does not manage conflicts of interest
  • Your mentor exhibits behavior that you consider unprofessional

*Modified from the Group on Women in Medicine Toolkit, AAMC


 

Review the available tools below and use the guidelines, checklists, and agreements that suit your mentee style and the nature of your mentoring relationships.

 

Communication Style Assessments

 

PSOM Career Track Web Pages

 

Virtual Mentoring Programs for Mentees

  • National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) connects scientists at all career stages of research for structured, virtual mentoring relationships which include guided discussion and training elements.
  • MentorNet connects STEM students & professionals and engages them in effective online mentoring partnerships over 16 week.

 

References

  • AAMC Group on Women in Medicine and Science, "GWIMS Mentoring Women Toolkit for Mentees." Mary Lou Voytko, Wake Forest School of Medicine and Joan M. Lakoski, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.
  • AAMC Group on Faculty Development, "Role and Responsibilities of the Mentee." Jean S. Kutner, MD, MSPH, Gordon Meiklejohn Endowed Professor of Medicine Division Head, Division of General Internal Medicine Department of Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine
  • Perelman School of Medicine Asbury Mentoring Award of Excellence Winners Panel, 2012, “Getting the Most Out of Mentoring.”
  • Texas Tech University Health Science Center, "Quarterly Mentoring Progress Report."
  • University of California Davis, "Mentor/Mentee Agreement."
  • University of California San Francisco, "Mentoring Guidelines."
  • University of Pittsburgh, "Mentoring Agreement."