Optimizing Your Mentoring Relationship: A Toolkit for Mentors and Mentees

Publication ID Published Volume
10459 September 23, 2016 12

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Mentorship is a vital component of academic and professional development. Mentees report positive impacts from mentorship programs, yet institutions and societies may struggle to meet their mentees’ needs due to factors such as mentor fatigue and lack of mentor training. To address this in our own professional society, the Association of Pediatric Program Directors, we developed a mentor toolkit in order to utilize a variety of mentoring models, provide faculty development for midlevel mentors, and offer guidance to mentees. This toolkit has successfully served as a self-guided resource at national meetings for many years, garnering positive feedback from mentors and mentees alike. Previously published curricula focus on specific subcomponents of mentoring and professional development in academic medicine, such as mentee-driven mentoring, long-distance mentoring relationships, skills building for mentors, facilitated peer mentoring models, professional development planning, and effective networking skills. Our resource aims to serve as a one-stop shop for individuals leading mentoring programs for their institutions. In addition to the previously published topics, we incorporate content on how to audit one’s mentoring relationship, how to prepare and maintain one’s CV, how to deliver feedback to mentees, and how to implement dyadic and speed mentoring sessions. The principles and methods are easily generalizable and may be used to guide mentorship programs within institutional and professional societies, as well as to assist mentors and mentees in optimizing their individual mentoring relationships.


Aylor M, Cruz M, Narayan A, et al. Optimizing your mentoring relationship: a toolkit for mentors and mentees. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2016;12:10459. http://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10459

Educational Objectives

After reviewing this toolkit, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the skills and attributes of effective mentors and successful mentees.
  2. Articulate the benefits of mentoring for both mentors and mentees.
  3. Participate in a variety of different mentoring models.
  4. Provide effective feedback on mentee strengths and areas for growth and development, and make progress towards goals.
  5. Perform a reflective audit of their mentoring relationships.


  • Mentoring, Mentors, Mentee, Professional Development


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  2. Cruz M, Bhatia D, Calaman S, et al. The mentee-driven approach to mentoring relationships and career success: benefits for mentors and mentees. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2015;11:10201. https://www.mededportal.org/publication/10201

  3. Cutrer W, Brown R, Fleming G, et al. Junior faculty development program using facilitated peer mentoring. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2014;10:9905. https://www.mededportal.org/publication/9905

  4. Gusic ME, Zenni EA, Ludwig S, First LR. Strategies to design an effective mentoring program. J Pediatr. 2009;156(2):173-174. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.11.012

  5. Kashiwagi DT, Varkey P, Cook DA. Mentoring programs for physicians in academic medicine. Acad Med. 2013;88(7):1029-1037. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0b013e318294f368

  6. Luckhaupt SE, Chin MH, Mangione CM, et al. Mentorship in academic general internal medicine: results of a survey of mentors. J Gen Intern Med. 2005;20(11):1014-1018. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.215.x

  7. Morrison LJ, Lorens E, Bandiera G, et al. Impact of a formal mentoring program on academic promotion of Department of Medicine faculty: a comparative study. Med Teach. 2014;36(7):608-614. http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/0142159X.2014.899683

  8. Narayan A, Acholonu R, Spector ND, et al. APPD mentoring session. Session presented at: Association of Pediatric Program Directors Annual Spring Meeting; April 11, 2013; Nashville, TN.

  9. Narayan A, Acholonu R, Spector ND, et al. APPD mentoring session. Session presented at: Association of Pediatric Program Directors Annual Spring Meeting; April 3, 2014; Chicago, IL.

  10. Narayan A, Spector ND, Anderson M, et al. APPD mentoring session. Session presented at: Association of Pediatric Program Directors Annual Spring Meeting; March 27, 2015; Orlando, FL.

  11. Pauly R, Lombard G, Lansang M, Poulton W, Thorndyke L. Becoming a skilled mentor: tools, tips, & training vignettes. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2014;10:9844. https://www.mededportal.org/publication/9844

  12. Pololi L, Knight S. Mentoring faculty in academic medicine: a new paradigm? J Gen Intern Med. 2005;20(9):866-870. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.05007.x

  13. Pololi LH, Knight SM, Dennis K, Frankel RM. Helping medical school faculty realize their dreams: an innovative, collaborative mentoring program. Acad Med. 2002;77(5):377-384. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00001888-200205000-00005

  14. Premkumar K, Wong A. Mentoring principles, processes, and strategies for facilitating mentoring relationships at a distance. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2010;6:3148. https://www.mededportal.org/publication/3148

  15. Saks N, Pasquale S, Rose S. Advancing your career: effective strategies for taking the initiative and building professional networks. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2013;9:9528. https://www.mededportal.org/publication/9528

  16. Sambunjak D, Straus SE, Marusic A. A systematic review of qualitative research on the meaning and characteristics of mentoring in academic medicine. J Gen Intern Med. 2010;25(1):72-78. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11606-009-1165-8

  17. Spector, ND, Acholonu R, Anderson M, et al. APPD mentoring session. Session presented at: Association of Pediatric Program Directors Annual Spring Meeting; April 3, 2012; San Antonio, TX.

  18. Spector N, Sectish T. Professional development planning for academic faculty. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2012;8:9280. https://www.mededportal.org/publication/9280

  19. Straus SE, Johnson MO, Marquez C, Feldman MD. Characteristics of successful and failed mentoring relationships: a qualitative study across two academic health centers. Acad Med. 2013;88(1):82-89. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0b013e31827647a0

  20. Thorn PM, Raj JM. A culture of coaching: achieving peak performance of individuals and teams in academic health centers. Acad Med. 2012;87(11):1482-1483. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0b013e31826ce3bc

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