OHSU

Tips for Mentees

Have realistic expectations.

Realize that a single mentor relationship probably will not satisfy all your needs over the course of your career, and that you need to build your own personal “coaching staff.”

Ask for specific advice and be receptive to input.

Consider the perspective others offer you, even if it is not what you want to hear.

Evaluate feedback and advice.

You don’t need to do everything your mentor says. Strategies and behaviors that work for your mentor may not work for you. Act on advice that fits for you.

Evaluate the relationship.

Is it difficult to contact the mentor? Does s/he cancel meetings at the last minute?

Take responsibility for the relationship.

If you want to have a mentor, be a mentor to others.  Cultivate awareness of what you have to give back in a mentoring relationship. If possible, participate in Learning opportunities and other mutually interesting functions with your mentor, even if this is a way just to keep in touch.

Keep in touch.

Be sure to communicate with your mentor. Give your mentor progress reports by email, try to see her or him at institutional events, or meet for coffee or lunch.

Be considerate.

Be prompt to meetings. If you need to reschedule, give your mentor plenty of advance notice (at least 24 hours). Recognize that your mentor is busy, and respect her or his time.

Be prepared.

Respect your mentor’s limited time and come to meetings prepared and organized.  Agree on what work should be completed for review.  Write down your list of questions.

Establish the nature of the relationship.

This needs to be done in conjunction with the mentor. Set specific goals for the relationship – what will you get out of it? How often do you want to meet?

Realize that relationships are dynamic.

Your relationship with your mentor may change over time, and be prepared to make changes or end the relationship if necessary.

Take advantage of opportunities to work with peers and senior colleagues.  

Don’t discount the value of peers in providing mentoring.

Maintain confidentiality.

Your mentoring relationship is a personal one. You need to establish with your mentor the degree to which this advice is kept confidential.

Express appreciation.  

Let your mentor know when s/he has helped you, and express appreciation for this guidance.  Be aware of what you have to give back to the relationship.