Structuring the Mentoring Relationship: Expectations and Boundaries

Publication ID Published Volume
10196 September 3, 2015 11

Abstract

This session can be stand-alone or used in conjunction with other topical sessions that were developed as part of the Faculty Mentoring Leadership Program, a nine-session, peer learning experience for a cohort of mid-career and senior faculty physician and scientist mentors to enhance their mentoring effectiveness. The cases and topics are relevant and adaptable for mentors across the academic continuum. The learning environment is enhanced by the interactive, case-based nature of the sessions with a cohort of faculty from various disciplines.

Occurring early in the nine-session Faculty Mentoring Leadership Program, this 90-minute session usually creates energetic discussion in both small and large groups about how to optimally structure the mentoring relationship. A week before this session, preassigned readings are distributed, and participants are asked to give input via e-mail regarding their experiences and challenges in structuring the mentoring relationship. The session itself consists of facilitated small breakout group discussions of a case with associated case questions. Following this, small groups report back to the large group, with further facilitated discussions focusing on the themes raised by the case and on mentoring agreements. Learning pearls are intentionally distributed at the end of the session to summarize and reinforce key take-home points, many of which the participants themselves will have raised in the preceding discussion.

On a 1-5 scale (1 = poor, 5 = excellent) over the five cohorts of the Faculty Mentoring Leadership Program (2009-2014), this session has averaged a 4.59 rating at the end of the 90-minute session and a 4.63 rating in the retrospective evaluation of the entire nine-month course after its end. The increased rating at the end of the course may suggest that over the nine sessions participants became even more aware of the value of clearly structuring the mentoring relationship as well as the perils inherent in unclear structure and expectations.

Citation

Dookeran N, Fuhlbrigge R, Gottlieb B, et al. Structuring the mentoring relationship: expectations and boundaries. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2015;11:10196. http://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10196

Educational Objectives

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Appraise the importance of, and ways to beneficially structure, the mentoring relationship, including the setting of expectations and boundaries.
  2. Recognize what leads to good and bad mentor-mentee fit.
  3. Recognize the importance of incorporating regular mentor-mentee assessments of the mentoring relationship.
  4. Learn how to use mentoring agreements both to help set expectations and boundaries and to facilitate dialogue throughout the life course of mentoring.
  5. Develop communication skills to foster open mentor-mentee dialogue about issues that may arise and how to address them.

Keywords

  • Faculty Mentoring, Mentoring Relationship, Mentoring Expectations

References

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  2. Association of American Medical Colleges. Compact between postdoctoral appointees and their mentors. Association of American Medical Colleges Web site. http://www.aamc.org/postdoccompact. Published 2006.

  3. Association of American Medical Colleges. Compact between resident physicians and their teachers. Association of American Medical Colleges Web site. https://www.aamc.org/download/49820/data/residentcompactpdf.pdf. Published 2006.

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  6. Brigham and Women’s Hospital mentoring agreement template. Brigham and Women’s Hospital Web site. http://bwhmentoringtoolkit.partners.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/BWHMentoringAgreementForm.pdf. Published 2012.

  7. Brigham and Women’s Hospital mentoring toolkit & curriculum. Brigham and Women’s Hospital Web site. http://bwhmentoringtoolkit.partners.org. Published 2015.

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