Health Services Research & Development

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Useful Tips for Mentors

  • Listen actively

    Be an "active" listener. That means doing the following:
    • Give your undivided attention.
    • Stay off your computer, and avoid disruptions.
    • Hear your mentee out. Avoid interrupting.
    • When meeting in person, be aware of your non-verbal cues such as nodding, smiling, and maintaining eye contact.
    • To ensure that you heard the person correctly,

    "As I understand . . ."
    "So, you're saying that . . ."
    "Let me see if I got that . . ."

    "So, your three concerns are . . ."
    "There seem to be a few issues . . ."

    So, our main goals at this time are . . ."

    • Provide constructive criticism and impromptu feedback.
    • Use your knowledge and experience to help your mentee to identify and build on his/her strengths.
    • Encourage and motivate mentee to move beyond his/her comfort zone.
    • Support and facilitate professional networking.
    • The best mentor relationships are reciprocal.

  • Time Saving Tips

    • Set specific goals and timelines with benchmarks/dates.
    • Have agenda items before each meeting - clear to both in advance.
    • Use email for news of events; grant opportunities; sending articles; encouragement.
    • Try attending events together - workshops, lectures, conferences as a face-to-face meeting.

  • Sample Structure of Meeting

    • First 5-10 Minutes
      • Engage in personal/professional "check-in" (i.e., how are things going for you, how is your family?).

    • Next 30-60 Minutes
      • Discuss current and long term goals and priorities.
      • Summarize discussion, clarify tasks, schedule follow-up meeting.