Reciprocity ·Mutual respect ·Clear expectations ·Personal connection ·Shared values
Matching Mentors and Mentees
The literature supports mentees having the opportunity to be involved in choosing a mentor as compared to the more traditional process whereby mentors and mentees are matched by an external party1,2,3. Evidence suggests that a mentee’s input into the matching process is associated with greater mentorship quality4.
Providing potential mentors and mentees a short questionnaire to fill out to highlight their interests and values is a great step to help foster meaningful matches within a mentoring program5.
It is crucial for mentorship programs to adopt the mentorship model that meets the needs of the individuals involved. This may result in differing mentoring models being adopted for different units within a faculty or institution. Regardless of the mentorship model adopted, mentors should be removed from any processes related to the appraisal of their mentee to avoid the risk of confidentiality breaches, role overlap, and assessment bias6.
To review mentorship models, click here.
Duration of the Mentoring Relationship
The literature suggests that the initial term for a mentoring relationship should be 1 year and renewable7. This provides enough time for the mentor and mentee to determine if they are satisfied with the arrangement. However, there is no real timeline as to how long the mentorship has to last.
Setting boundaries may not be easy, but it is a necessary step to clarify the behavior expectations of both the mentor and mentee. Establishing clear boundaries results in the creation of an environment of safety and trust within the mentoring relationship.
Some boundaries may be set by the rules and policies in place for an established mentorship program. However, it is important for both mentors and mentees to also establish individual boundaries for their mentoring relationship13.
Discuss boundaries from the very start of a mentoring relationship. Examples of boundaries to discuss include:
- When and where meetings will take place
- Mentor and mentee availability outside of meetings
- Appropriate means of communication (e.g. texts; emails; phone calls; video-conference)
- Self-disclosure/topics of discussion
- How to ensure confidentiality
The creation of a mentoring contract which outlines the boundaries within a mentoring relationship is strongly encouraged to help facilitate the boundary setting process. For more information on creating a mentoring contact, please see the Mentoring Contract section below.
Please click the following links below to review guides for setting boundaries within the mentoring relationship:
Establishing Boundaries: The how-to guide
Developing Your Mentoring Relationship and How to Set Healthy Boundaries with Your Mentee
If a mentor or mentee forgets about a boundary and oversteps, it is important to kindly remind them that you do not feel comfortable as stated by the boundary you set from the beginning13.
It is important to be kind and patient, but do not ignore the overstepping behavior. If it gets ignored, the behaviour could continue and evolve into a damaging mentoring relationship.
Mentoring Contract - Cultivating the Mentoring Relationship
- Once a match has been made, the mentoring relationship requires cultivation14.
- The creation of a formal mentoring contract between a mentor and mentee provides the opportunity to outline the following components of the mentoring realtionship2,14,15:
- Relationship objectives and goals
- Meeting frequency
- Key responsibilities of each party
- Relationship boundaries
- What to do if one or more parties feel that the relationship is not working
- How to monitor success
Such information is essential to clarify at the initiation of a mentoring relationship.
Click here to download a sample mentoring agreement template that you can adapt.