What to expect from your mentor and how to optimize the mentoring process
Mentorship refers to a developmental relationship between a more experienced mentor and a less experienced partner referred to as a protégé or mentee - a person guided and protected by a more prominent person. And no matter if a person is very young in his or her career or has already some experience, there is still the need for a mentor.
It is important to have a person who helps to sort out the big stones of challenge from the gravel, as Stephen R. Covey explains in his book “The 7 habits of highly effective people” (1992 Covey Leadership Center, Inc).
There are two types of mentoring relationships: formal and informal. In well-designed formal mentoring programs, there are program goals, schedules, training (for mentors and mentees), and evaluation. Mentors inspire their mentee to reach their goal and support them on their way. A study shows that, in institutions that have a formal mentoring program, employees stay in average twice as long as in institutions without mentoring.
Mentoring means provision of: resources, opportunities, advice and protection (David L. Sackett, Clin Invest Med 2001, 24:94-100).
- space to work
- productivity enhancing equipment
- money to go to courses and participate in meetings
- to carry out review of manuscripts and grants
- to accompany mentors to meetings of ethics and grant review committees
- to accept requests from prominent, reviewed journals to write editorials, comments or essays (together with the mentor)
- to become lead author of such papers
- to learn how to network properly
- Creativity: a mentor should encourage the mentee to be creative, for example, to use lateral or horizontal thinking, beside vertical thinking (Hauser MJ, Feinberg D. Problem solving revisited. J Psychiatr Nurs Ment Health Serv. 15(10):13-17 Oct 1977)
- Fairness: to connect up with other researchers and to be fair! (Aristotle)
- Honesty: to be honest about results
- Active listening: should focus on the mentee’s development as independent thinkers
- Learn to prioritize
- rehearse the presentations in front of the mentor and the team
- to recognise and respond appropriately to critical letters from editors and reviewers for publications
There are important mentoring programs from different institutions: Articulum fellowship; EULAR: Objectives 2012; EMEUNET.
Mentoring and networking always start in the team.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared