Mentorship Models

One-to-one Mentorship

The one-on-one model of mentoring (dyadic mentoring) is when one mentor meets with one mentee at a time1. Within an academic intuition, a mentor is often a senior professor, clinician, or faculty member who is more experienced than the mentee2.


  • Allows and encourages the mentor and mentee to develop a close relationship while working together.
  • Allows the mentee to receive one-on-one critical support, feedback, and attention.


  • Personality clashes
  • Power imbalance between mentor and mentee
  • Limited point of view and ideas available to the mentee
  • Lack of available mentors

Distance Mentorship

Distance mentoring involves the use of services such as email, Skype calls, telephone calls and other online services to establish communication between a mentor and mentee2. When a mentor and mentee have limited face-to-face contact, distance mentorship can be a useful alternative.
To be successful, both the mentor and mentee must be content with the lack of face-to-face communication. Distance mentoring can be facilitated by establishing a relationship locally prior to the long-distance relationship and having occasional in person communication7

  • Greatly expands the pool of potential mentors; provides the opportunity for mentees to look outside their institution for mentors, particularly when an area of expertise is not represented in their own institution.
  • Lessens restrictions on time and location of communication.
  • Offers the possibility of rapid, less costly, knowledge transfer and capacity-strengthening.


  • Lack of impromptu meetings
  • Often requires more time and effort to grow the relationship and to establish trust.
  • Misunderstandings due to phone and e-mail communications.
  • Technical problems with communication mediums.

For more information on ways to maximize distance mentoring relationships, please review the following article:
Eight ways to make distance mentoring more effective.

Group Mentorship

The most common form of group mentorship utilizes 1-2 mentors who are more experienced or skilled with multiple mentees (>5) in a group setting10.
When utilizing group mentorship methodology, the individual development of the mentee is still the goal; each mentee should still have their own unique learning objectives11. The group should also strive to create a safe and confidential environment where personal challenges can be discussed and explored.

  • Allows a limited number of mentors to spread across a larger number of mentees.
  • Fosters a safe environment for mentees who are uncomfortable meeting one-on-one with a mentor.
  • Eliminates problems relating to chemistry between two people (or lack thereof).
  • Allows for multiple viewpoints of issues and ideas.


  • Difficulty balancing individual mentee needs with the needs of the overall group.
  • Lack of the "personal" relationship often developed in one-on-one mentoring.
  • Scheduling difficulties.
  • Confidentiality may not be achieved to the level possible in a one-on-one relationship.
  • Group dynamics may hinder progress.

Peer Mentorship

In peer mentoring relationships, individuals at a similar level of professional development mentor each other.
Peer mentorship can be described as co-mentoring or collaborative, where the lines are blurred between the mentor and mentee and participants focus on reciprocal learning1.
Near-peer mentoring describes a relationship where the mentor is only slightly more experienced than the mentee (e.g., Fourth year medical student mentors a first year medical student)1.
A common delivery of peer mentorship programs is through the creation of peer groups composed of individuals who have similar academic or professional interests. Facilitated peer mentorship involves peer-peer guidance with a facilitator who regulates discussion between its members2,14. The facilitator can be a more experienced individual to help guide the peer group with their personal and/or professional development.


  • Enhances the ability for mentees to expand their social network with experienced peers who are willing to share their knowledge and ideas.
  • Peers are often better positioned to help address the daily issues facing their colleagues, especially if they have recently navigated similar experiences.
  • Peers can be perceived as more approachable for certain discussions.
  • Promotes collegiality and reduces mentee isolation.


  • Peers may not wish to expose themselves or be vulnerable to one another.
  • Peers may lack the experience or knowledge necessary to address the needs of mentees.


  1. Summary, E. et al. Supporting instructors to improve teaching effectiveness: Recommendations for fellowship and mentorship programs.
  2. Santhus, E., Dhariwal, C. & Masumali, M. Mentoring in Medicine : A Retrospective Study. 42–52
  3. Mentoring Matters: Three Essential Elements Of Success. Available at: (Accessed: 20th September 2019)
  4. Pololi, L. H., Knight, S. M., Dennis, K. & Frankel, R. M. <Innovative Collaborative Mentoring Program in Medical Schools.pdf>. 4, 377–384 (2002).
  5. Moss, J., Teshima, J. & Leszcz, M. Peer group mentoring of junior faculty. Acad. Psychiatry 32, 230–235 (2008).
  6. The Common Pitfalls in Mentoring Programs. Available at: (Accessed: 20th September 2019)
  7. Luckhaupt, S. E. et al. Mentorship in academic general internal medicine: Results of a survey of mentors. J. Gen. Intern. Med. 20, 1014–1018 (2005).
  8. Top 3 Pros and Cons of Distance Mentoring. Available at: (Accessed: 20th September 2019)
  9. Zerzan, J. T., Hess, R., Schur, E., Phillips, R. S. & Rigotti, N. Making the most of mentors: A guide for mentees. Acad. Med. 84, 140–144 (2009).
  10. Group mentoring becomes more and more popular - KMP+. Available at: (Accessed: 20th September 2019)
  11. Carvin, B. N. The hows and whys of group mentoring. Ind. Commer. Train. 43, 49–52 (2011).
  12. The Pros and Cons of Group Mentoring. Available at: (Accessed: 20th September 2019)
  13. Lord, J. A. et al. A peer mentoring group for junior clinician educators: Four years’ experience. Acad. Med. 87, 378–383 (2012).
  14. Varkey, P. et al. The positive impact of a facilitated peer mentoring program on academic skills of women faculty. BMC Med. Educ. 12, 14 (2012).
  15. Pololi, L. & Knight, S. Mentoring faculty in academic medicine: A new paradigm? J. Gen. Intern. Med.20, 866–870 (2005).
  16. Andre, C., Deerin, J. & Leykum, L. Students helping students: vertical peer mentoring to enhance the medical school experience. BMC Res. Notes 10, 1–7 (2017).
  17. Cox, E. Individual and Organizational Trust in a Reciprocal Peer Coaching Context. Mentor. Tutoring Partnersh. Learn. 20, 427–443 (2012).