Key Points:

  • Mentoring is a learned skill.
    • Communication, setting expectations, addressing diversity, evaluating understanding, supporting independence, fostering professional development
  • Excellent mentors are respectful, admirable, and available for regular meetings.
  • Successful mentoring relationships have a personal connection with shared values and mutual respect.
  • Mentors should be rewarded with time and academic advancement.
  • Common misperceptions include that excellent mentoring can be learned on the fly and that mentoring is not rewarding
  • Mentoring relationships can be established as part of an established program or be informally set up between individual
  • Basic mentoring relationship characteristics:
    • Prepare by learning about the person you are mentoring
    • Schedule a defined length, time, and meeting location
    • Clarify expectations and level of confidentiality
    • Establish how long the mentoring will last
    • Establish boundaries, especially with mental health issues
    • Ask open ended questions
    • Be a good listener
    • Assist in decision-making without suggesting solutions 
  • Consider using a mentoring contract. Template links are available below. 
  • Common problems: gender mismatch, generational mismatch, cultural differences, unconscious bias



  • Improve your skills in mentoring students and more junior colleagues
  • Increase your effectivelness and satifaction when acting as a mentor


Recommended Resources: 

Brief Review


Mentoring the Next Generation. Michael Benko at TEDxOU. TEDx Talks. 6 minutes.

Modern Mentoring: The Good, The Bad and The Better. Karen Russell. TEDx Talks. 9 minutes.


Stiegler MP. A piece of my mind. What I learned about adverse events from Captain Sully: it's not what you think. JAMA. 2015 Jan 27;313(4):361-2. doi: 10.1001/jama.2014.16025. PubMed PMID: 25626033.

Mentoring Contract Templates

Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)

Kashiwagi DT, Varkey P, Cook DA. Mentoring programs for physicians in academic medicine: a systematic review. Acad Med. 2013 Jul;88(7):1029-37. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e318294f368. Review. PubMed PMID: 23702518

Straus SE, Johnson MO, Marquez C, Feldman MD. Characteristics of successful and failed mentoring relationships: a qualitative study across two academic health centers. Acad Med. 2013 Jan;88(1):82-9. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31827647a0. PubMed PMID: 23165266 

Ramani S, Gruppen L, Kachur EK. Twelve tips for developing effective mentors. Med Teach. 2006 Aug;28(5):404-8. PubMed PMID: 16973451

The Case of the Magnificent Mentor by Dr. Brent Thoma. ALiEM MEdIC Series case 1.05.


Principles of Medical Education: Maximizing Your Teaching Skills. Harvard Medical School. CME course given annually. $Fee Required

Premkumar K, Wong A. Mentoring Principles, Processes, and Strategies for Facilitating Mentoring Relationships at a Distance. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2010. The goals of this learning object are as follows. Introduce mentoring as a learning relationship that is rooted in principles of adult learning. To be able to identify the key tasks and processes for enhancing the mentoring relationship, provide examples of process tools and strategies for understanding and operationalizing the mentoring relationship. Identify the special challenges and opportunities that may occur when mentoring is conducted in a distance-learning context. Introduce some technology-mediated strategies that could help to bridge the gap when mentor and mentee are at a distance from each other.

Prunuske J, Chadwell M. Medical Student Mentoring Guide. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2014. This resource is intended for use by faculty that mentor medical students. It consists of a set of tools to guide mentors and provides a framework for approaching mentor-mentee interactions. The primary tool is a mentoring grid structured around common mentoring domains (Student Issues/Concerns, Academics/Performance, Professionalism, Career Planning, Personal/Social, Personal/Professional Balance, Research/Scholarship, and Electives/Extracurricular). The grid is further organized by medical student stage of training and provides sample discussion topics for each stage and mentoring domain. Additional resources include a series of mentoring prompts that are designed to stimulate discussion and guide conversations, and a PowerPoint presentation that provides an overview and introduction to the value and role of mentors in medical education.


In-Depth Review


Mentoring: My Story. UC Davis Health System. 48 minutes.

Mentoring In the Academy. Harvard University. 55 minutes.


Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Mentoring.

Monday Morning Mentoring: Ten Lessons to Guide You Up the Ladder by David Cottrell. 2008. $16.87


Welch J, Palmer M, Mitchell A, House D, Rodgers K, Wilbur L, Kline J, Ciccarelli M, Rusyniak D. Faculty Mentoring Workshop. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2014. This resource provides a strategy and materials for hosting a Faculty Mentoring Workshop. The goals of the workshop are to introduce faculty to mentor-mentee concepts, to provide a framework for building specific mentoring skills, and to instill an enthusiasm for a collective mentoring community within your department. The skill building sessions include the topics of "Characteristics of Effective Mentors," "Maintaining the Mentoring Relationship," "Generational Issues and Mentoring," "Medical Student Mentoring and Advising," "Mentoring in a Research Career," Giving and Receiving Feedback in the Mentoring Relationship," and "Mosaic of Mentoring Networks." Additional tools include a mentoring self-assessment form and a workshop evaluation.

Pauly R, Lombard G, Lansang M, Poulton W, Thorndyke L. Becoming a Skilled Mentor: Tools, Tips, & Training Vignettes. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2014. This program focuses on mentoring of junior faculty. The content presents a series of video scenarios of a typical first mentor/mentee encounter and provides guidelines for initiating a mentoring relationship. The program gives a summary of key points in outline form and specific tools: mentoring agreement, mentoring worksheet and peer teaching assessment form. It discusses important topics such as professional/personal life challenges, promotion and tenure, and institutional support.