Mentoring Toolkit

This toolkit provides resources to assist mentees and mentors in making the most of the mentoring relationship by:

  • Recognizing different approaches to mentoring
  • Delineating key features of effective mentoring, including the qualities and responsibilities of the mentor and mentee, as well as the benefits to the mentor, mentee, and the organization
  • Defining mentoring, coaching and sponsoring
  • Guiding individuals in identifying mentors to create a mentoring network
  • Setting realistic goals using a reflective self-assessment, an Individualized Development Plan (IDP), conducted by the mentee and shared with a mentor(s)
  • Facilitating effective communication, including structuring productive one-time meetings, as well as initial and ongoing meetings for long-term relationships
  • Establishing mechanisms to agree upon specific goals of the mentoring relationship and how to monitor progress.

Information about Mentoring

The following resources provide definitions and approaches to mentoring, as well as checklists and other resources to guide mentors and mentees in conducting effective mentoring meetings:

Mentoring, Coaching and Sponsoring Defined

Mentoring and coaching are often confused due to the fact that both processes support individuals in setting and achieving goals. Sponsoring is yet another important element of career development, but also differs from mentoring and coaching.

The following chart details the major differences between mentoring, coaching and sponsoring:

Mentoring Coaching Sponsoring
Relationship oriented Task oriented Relationship oriented
Focus on career and professional development Focus on specific tasks or skills Focus on networks and specific opportunities
Short- or long-term Short-term, as needed Long-term with periodic contact
Short- or long-term Performance-driven Career advancement–driven
Mentor may or may not work in same department, division, institution Coach may or may not work in same department, division, institution Sponsor holds position of power and influence at same institution
Common Approaches to Mentoring

The traditional dyad model of mentoring has been generally shown to be highly successful. However, challenges exist with this model, including an insufficient number of senior faculty available to be paired with each junior faculty member seeking mentoring, as well as potential gender and generational differences between the mentor and mentee that may negatively impact the mentoring relationship. In addition, not all faculty wish to be formally mentored yet still need resources available to support their career development. Other models, including informal peer mentoring, facilitated peer mentoring, and micro-mentoring, may better meet the diverse needs of faculty. Ultimately faculty are best served when they create a network of mentors, including mentors, coaches, and sponsors, to support their developmental needs, at different points and from different perspectives, throughout their career.

Traditional Dyad
  • Most often involves a more senior experienced faculty member who assumes the responsibility for guiding and supporting the career development of a more junior faculty member
  • Tends to be highly structured, with clear goals for the mentoring relationship and agreed upon expectations of both the mentor and mentee
Informal Peer Mentoring
  • Pairs or groups of faculty of similar academic rank/years of experience that meet regularly to discuss topics of their choice, share their own experiences and advice with each other, and network
  • Can provide a sense of collegiality and opportunities for collaboration outside of one’s division or department.
Facilitated Peer Mentoring
  • Allows for groups of faculty to gain from the knowledge and experience of one or more experienced faculty, while in a collegial, collaborative environment
  • May include a formal curriculum or may be more dynamic based on the shared needs of the group
  • Establishes opportunities for an individual mentee to seek guidance from different mentors for specific, well- defined needs
  • Occurs over a short period of time (1-2 meetings)
  • Allows for assistance as different developmental needs arise
Key Features of an Effective Mentoring Relationship

Mentoring is a dynamic, collaborative relationship focused on mutual personal and professional development and benefits. There are multiple approaches to mentoring, both formal and informal, and short- and long-term. However, regardless of the approach, there are key features of an effective mentoring relationship, which are detailed on the Key Features page.

Structuring a Micro-Mentoring Meeting

Structuring a Micro-Mentoring Meeting

Micro-mentoring is a short-term, potentially one-time, meeting with a mentor with expertise in a specific area of developmental need identified by a mentee. Mentees may arrange multiple micro-mentoring meetings with different mentors as needs arise, and it is possible that micro-mentoring may lead to a long-term mentoring relationship, if agreed upon by both the mentor and mentee. Use this checklist to make each meeting productive. 

Before the meeting the mentee should complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP) to self-assess areas of professional development need and delineate measurable short- and long-term goals. 

Structuring Initial and Ongoing Meetings in a Long-term Mentoring Relationship

The traditional dyad approach to mentoring involves an initial meeting and ongoing follow up meetings. These checklists are intended to assist both the mentee and mentor in structuring productive meetings to set the foundation and ensure ongoing progress in a long-term mentoring relationship.

Other Resources

Nature's guide for mentors

University of Minnesota’s CTSI Optimizing the Practice of Mentoring: An Online Curriculum for the Professional Development of Research Mentors

Worksheets and Forms to Maximize Mentoring Experiences

The following resources are intended for faculty wishing to develop a career development plan and create a mentoring network based on their needs. A Mentoring Agreement and Mentoring Progress Report are intended to assist both mentees and mentors in developing and monitoring long-term, ongoing mentoring relationships.

Individual Development Plan

Individual Development Plan

a self-assessment conducted by the mentee to identify areas of professional development needs that may be used to develop measurable short- and long-term professional goals.

How to Find a Mentor

How to Find a Mentor

a one-page checklist of strategies and resources to find a mentor(s)

My Mentoring Network

My Mentoring Network

a one-page worksheet for faculty to identify individuals who may support their career goals and development needs.

Mentoring Agreement

Mentoring Agreement for a Long-Term Relationship

a mutually developed and signed document delineating the goals of an ongoing, long-term mentoring relationship, including potential barriers, roles and responsibilities of both the mentor and mentee, and plan for effective, ongoing communication.

Mentoring Progress Report

Mentoring Progress Report for a Long-Term Relationship

a one-page written record to document progress in an ongoing, long-term mentoring relationship in terms of achievement of goals, including updates and action items.