Tips For Mentors

In order for a mentoring relationship to be collaborative and reciprocal, it is important that both the mentor and mentee have clear expectations of their roles.
Characteristics of an Effective Mentor
The mentor's role is to inspire, counsel, and encourage the mentee in developing their vision for the future1.
An individual who wishes to be an effective mentor should strive to be an active listener and possess the following characteristics: altruism, patience, honesty, professionalism, responsiveness, and accessibility.
Being a mentor is a time commitment; a successful mentoring relationship requires a genuine commitment by the mentor to invest the time necessary to build a rapport with their mentee and to remain accessible, even if located at a distance2. It is important for mentors to also understand that they can say no to an inquiring mentee if they feel they are not the best fit for the needs of a mentee.
Successful mentors value mentoring as part of their professional role3 and act as champions and advocates for the success of their mentees4.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Mentor5,6,7,8,9

  • Maintain confidentiality about shared information
  • Set and model appropriate boundaries
  • Assist the mentee in focusing goals and career development plans
  • Provide appraisal and formative feedback
  • Serve as a role model of professional competence and behaviour
  • When appropriate, provide the mentee with networking opportunities including introductions to institutional leaders and increase their exposure in the institution
  • Facilitate insight and change
  • Foster independence in a mentee
  • Recognize the potential in the mentee
  • Enhance a mentee’s problem solving and leadership skills
  • Assist a mentee in adapting to cultural norms and academic bureaucracies
  • Create a space where frustrations, doubts, concerns can be voiced without fear of reprisal
  • Have fun and create an enjoyable relationship

For more information regarding characteristics of effective mentors, please review the following resources.
Davis, O. C. & Nakamura, J. A Proposed Model for an Optimal Mentoring Environment for Medical Residents: A Literature Review.
Straus, S. E., Johnson, M. O., Marquez, C. & Feldman, M. D. Characteristics of Successful and Failed Mentoring Relationships: A Qualitative Study Across Two Academic Health Centers


  1. Mentoring | Learning and Development | Memorial University of Newfoundland. Available at: (Accessed: 26th August 2019)
  2. Straus, S. E., Johnson, M. O., Marquez, C. & Feldman, M. D. Characteristics of successful and failed mentoring relationships: A qualitative study across two academic health centers. Acad. Med. 88, 82–89 (2013).
  3. 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).
  4. Law, A. V. et al. A checklist for the development of faculty mentorship programs. Am. J. Pharm. Educ.78, (2014).
  5. Department of Medicine Mentoring Program | Department of Medicine. Available at: (Accessed: 18th October 2019)
  6. Mentoring and Role-Modeling | Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. Available at: (Accessed: 27th August 2019)
  7. Eller, L. S., Lev, E. L. & Feurer, A. Key components of an effective mentoring relationship: A qualitative study. Nurse Educ. Today 34, 815–820 (2014).
  8. Jackson, V. A. et al. ‘“Having the Right Chemistry”’: A Qualitative Study of Mentoring in Academic Medicine. Acad. Med. 78, 328–334 (2003).
  9. Davis, O. C. & Nakamura, J. A proposed model for an optimal mentoring environment for medical residents: A literature review. Acad. Med. 85, 1060–1066 (2010).