The Mentorship Mindset: Reminders and Advice for both Mentors and Mentees

Establish an agreement and set expectations. When matched, mentors and mentees should immediately establish a set of expectations for the mentorship relationship by completing the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program Agreement Form, found in the Resources Section or by visiting this link: Mentorship Agreement Form. The agreement asks mentors and mentees to list their goals for the relationship, which is a critical component to the success of a mentorship relationship. Learn more about setting your goals by using these resources: Goal Setting: What is a SMART Goal?, Goal Setting: Essential Questions to Ask to Facilitate the Goal-Setting Process, Goal Setting: SMART Goals Worksheet and Checklist.

Meet in person when possible. We encourage you to meet face-to-face whenever possible. In-person discussions tend to be the most meaningful and impactful for both parties. If you are not able to meet face-to-face, we encourage mentors and mentees to connect via webcam using services like Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts.

Strive for mutual benefits. A mentorship relationship, when done right, is mutually beneficial for both parties. The key to achieving this is taking the time be thoughtful and upfront about your needs and expectations for the relationship. Both the mentor and mentee should spend time thinking about what they want out of the relationship and share that with each other.

Commit to confidentiality and honesty. Mentors and mentees should commit to maintaining an environment of confidentiality. This is a critical component in building trust and rapport between one another. In order to truly develop as an individual, committing to honesty and transparency is critical; admitting your mistakes and limitations as a professional will help you to learn from your mistakes and grow from them.

Take goal-setting seriously. We cannot stress enough how important it is to articulate clear and measurable goals. Setting thoughtful, clear, and measurable goals is critical to the success of a mentorship partnership because goals give you something toward which to strive. Goals also enable you to measure the success of the partnership. Achieving your goals should be what drives the relationship forward and checking on your progress should be something that you do in every interaction or meeting. Take the goal-setting process seriously and use our worksheets and goal-setting resources to help facilitate the process of writing goals. These resources can be found in the Resources Section or by visiting these links: Goal Setting: What is a SMART Goal?, Goal Setting: Essential Questions to Ask to Facilitate the Goal-Setting Process, Goal Setting: SMART Goals Worksheet and Checklist.

Share feedback and ideas about the program. You should expect to hear from the NAA periodically asking for updates on your progress. As this is a new program, we hope that you will take every opportunity to share your experience and suggestions for improvement. You can always send feedback directly to mentor@northwestern.edu.