The purpose of the Mentorship Program (Program) is to assist students, early health care careerists and other health care professionals in their growth and development. In addition, the intention of the Program is to motivate students, early health care careerists and other health care professionals to be active members of ACHE at the national and local level throughout their career.
The mentoring relationship will last six to twelve months and may continue at the discretion of each mentor/protégé pair.
“What is a Mentor?”:
Mentoring or advising is perhaps the truest form of dynamic learning. It involves two people with a commitment to assisting each other in furthering their professional careers. One constant in discussions held with successful individuals is that, almost without exception, they had an advisor or a mentor. Making the decision to mentor another individual is a conscious decision to return to your profession some of the expert advice that you may have been given (or wished you had been given) in the pursuit of your personal career objectives. One method of distributing this advice is through the establishment of a mentor/protégé relationship with an early health care careerist.
In today’s highly competitive environment a protégé is expected to be proactive in seeking a mentor and in having set objectives and goals for the relationship. While a mentor offers the gifts of knowledge and experience, the protégé has the responsibility for taking full advantage of that knowledge by internalizing it, putting it into action, and ultimately for passing it on. There is only one way to pay back the debt owed as a result of a successful mentoring relationship, and that is by mentoring others.
The mentor/protégé relationship is open-ended, but not static. As career paths change and professionals move on, the relationship will transition to another level and hopefully result in an enduring friendship. By definition a mentorship relationship is one that fosters growth in both parties so is a relationship that is destined to end, at least in the formal mentoring sense.
Roles/Benefits/Pitfalls for a Mentor
Roles and Responsibilities:
Be fully committed to the mentoring relationship and make time for the process.
Be personally invested in the protégé’s ultimate success.
Respect the confidentiality of the information shared.
Challenge the protégé and provide him/her with a “reality check”.
Provide feedback in a manner that is constructive, task relevant and maintains the protégé’s self-esteem.
Co-develop the mentor/protégé agreement.
Actively seek opportunities for the protégé to acquire the requisite experience, knowledge and education.
Accept input and feedback in a non-defensive manner.
Respect differences in style and adapt accordingly.
Seek to gain the respect of the protégé.
Take responsibility for the “health” of the relationship.
Be a source of information and encouragement.
Help develop creative and independent thinking.
Suggest resources, reading materials, articles etc.
Listen actively and act as a sounding board for protégé.
Establish open, clear, two-way communication.
Provide motivation, enthusiasm and energy.
Ensure understanding of goals.
Provide exposure to new and different thinking styles, perspectives, and methods.
Greater appreciation of individual strengths and weaknesses;
Opportunity to renew your commitment to your profession;
Exposure to new and different thinking styles and perspectives;
A chance to create a “legacy” and enhance self-esteem;
Strengthened critical coaching and feedback skills;
Enhanced leadership skills;
Heightened awareness of unconscious biases in the working world; and
Increased personal satisfaction.
Feeling pressured to take on the mentoring role;
Lack of key skills (coaching, feedback, interpersonal skills);
Lack of time;
Not seeing any payback or reward;
Mismatched with protégé – insurmountable personality clash;
Feeling threatened by protégé – mentor jealousy;
Breach of trust; and
Tendency to be overly controlling in an attempt to replicate oneself.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How often do I have to meet with my mentor/protégé?
Frequency of meetings is up to the individual mentors and protégés. However, it is recommended that matches meet at least quarterly in the form of a face-to-face, e-mail, or phone meeting.
Where do I meet with my mentor/protégé?
Mentors and protégés are invited to meet wherever it is convenient and comfortable.
What types of issues or topics are discussed when mentors and protégés meet?
Some suggested discussion areas include: skill development, career planning advice, giving and receiving feedback on performance, how to deal with problems in an ethical way, action planning, and balancing personal, professional, and academic life. It is to be noted that the mentor is not responsible for finding the protégé an internship or job.
We are both so busy with work, school, and our lives, how will we fit this in to our schedule?
It is important to remember that it is not the frequency of the meetings that is important, but the quality of the interaction. It is understandable that with the pressure and responsibilities of our day-to-day lives it is often hard to fit one more thing in. Record your meetings with your mentor or protégé in your calendar and view them as a part of your regular routine. Interaction between a mentor/protégé does not always have to be a lengthy face-to- face meeting. It can happen in short, frequent intervals such as a quick e-mail or phone call.
I am out of town with my job at least 3 days a week, how can I make mentoring work for me without disappointing my protégé?
Let your protégé know you will be out of town for duration of time. Instead of face-to-face meetings, let your protégé know you will be getting in touch via e-mail or phone.
What if my protégé asks my opinion on matters that are of a personal nature?
It is recommended that at the start of the mentoring relationship, both parties identify what is and is not appropriate to talk about. Some matches may be comfortable talking about personal issues as they may relate to job performance and others may want to stay clear of personal matters all together. Each mentor/protégé pair should determine the boundaries of their mentoring relationship.
What if we just don’t get along?
It is important to note that either participant has the option to close the match. We highly encourage you to give the relationship a few months to develop.
“What is the Mentor/Protégé Relationship Agreement?”
Past mentoring efforts reveal it is not enough to simply match mentors and protégés and send them off to start a relationship. The natural chemistry of spontaneously formed relationships may be lacking. Having a matched mentoring pair work toward specific objectives will put mentors and protégés at ease and allow relationships to develop more naturally. When you are matching participants, an agreement between the partners needs to be established.
The mentoring agreement is a critical element of the mentoring relationship. A mentor/protégé agreement is a written agreement, which details mutually agreed upon objectives for the match. It is the “road map” the match will follow to ensure the experience is successful and rewarding. The number one reason mentoring relationships are not successful is the lack of a clear, concrete action plan.
Depending on the participants and the type of mentoring program, the mentoring agreement can range from the simple to the complex. At minimum, the agreement should include listing of key objectives and strategies for attaining those objectives through the mentoring relationship. A more complex agreement may include: roles and responsibilities of each participant; duration of mentorship agreement; meeting dates and times; key skills to be developed; and measures of relationship success.