Skip Navigation

Roles and Responsibilities for Mentors

Mentoring roles typically fall into two categories - psychosocial and career. Psychosocial roles serve to enhance the personal aspects of the relationship while career-related roles function to stimulate career advancement for the mentee (Kram, 1985). Here are some examples:

Green Line


Active Listener:

  • Focuses on what the mentee is saying in order to summarize what was said, in a way that they would agree with
  • Provides uninterrupted time to meet with mentee, with mentee having a clear understanding regarding frequency and length of meetings
  • Pays special attention to understanding what the mentee is actually saying
  • Allows mentee the time to explain the situation completely before offering advice
  • Asks questions to gather information and check accuracy of what they heard
  • Be alert to nonverbal clues


  • Provides vocal and enthusiastic support for mentee's efforts
  • Displays upbeat attitude to uplift mentee's own attitude
  • Encourages and demonstrates confidence in mentee
  • Offers comments to reinforce the belief in positive potential for mentee to grow beyond
  • the current situation
  • Celebrates success of mentee

Compassionate Supporter:

  • Recognizes mentee as an individual with a private life and values them as a person
  • Listens to mentee's career concerns and responds appropriately
  • Acts as an empathetic sounding board for ideas and concerns
  • Establishes an environment for open interaction and reflection
  • Offers non-judgmental, sensitive responses to assist in clarification of emotional states
  • Is sensitive to issues of sexual harassment or discrimination of any type
  • Pays attention to mentee's need for direction, refocus, change and respite

Role Model:

  • Demonstrates successful professional behavior (lead by example)
  • Teaches the value of integrity
  • Is secure in own professional status and is not threatened by mentee's successes
  • Does not betray confidences
  • Shows respect for all views, even those he/she disagrees with
  • Provides example of how to treat others
  • Is not afraid to admit own ignorance
  • Follows through on commitments
  • Does not use mentee to further own goals (i.e. using mentee as uncredited research assistant

Work/Life Integration Coach:

  • Helps mentee plan strategies to achieve mutually agreed upon personal goals
  • Helps mentee evaluate appropriateness of career options in relation to personal values
  • Connects mentee with other faculty with similar work/life situations
  • Identifies resources to help mentee with issues outside of work

Green Line 



  • Communicates the informal and formal realities of progression in the institution
  • Defines expectations about the different career paths (clinical, research, administrative, education)
  • Recommends appropriate strategies for career direction
  • Reviews mentee's development plan on a regular basis
  • Helps mentee to identify obstacles to career progression and to take appropriate action
  • Helps mentee prepare for annual performance reviews and promotion
  • Works with mentee to identify and understand career-related skills, interests and values
  • Helps mentee plan strategies to achieve mutually agreed upon professional goals
  • Helps mentee identify source of performance issue problems and map out next steps to overcome issues
  • Maintains a steady presence in mentee's career with meetings, phone calls, emails, etc.


  • Intervenes on the mentee's behalf if necessary, representing the mentee's concerns to higher authority for redress on specific issues


  • Expands mentee's network of professional contacts, within and outside the immediate institutional circle
  • Helps bring together different mentees who might mutually benefit by helping each other
  • Helps link mentee with appropriate educational or employment opportunities
  • Helps mentee identify resources required for career progression


  • Helps clarify performance goals (long- and short-term) and developmental needs
  • Encourages independent behavior but invests sufficient time in working with mentee
  • Teaches managerial and technical skills
  • Reinforces effective job performance
  • Recommends specific behaviors in which the mentee needs improvement
  • Clarifies and communicates institutional goals, objectives policies and procedures
  • Offers learning challenges and opportunities; encourages change when and where needed

Constructive Feedback Provider:

  • Uses careful probing to assess readiness of mentee to accept and benefit from different points of view
  • Provides descriptive feedback based on observations rather than inferences
  • Focuses on the most likely strategies and behaviors for meaningful change
  • Avoids owning and solving mentee's problems
  • Accepts reciprocal feedback from mentee
  • Confronts and clarifies assumptions, perceptions and issues
  • Does not condemn mistakes, take credit for successes, threaten or lose critical oversight

Networking Agent:

  • Illustrates the importance and "know-how" of networking
  • Identifies resources to help the mentee with specific problems
  • Follows up to ensure that the referred resources were helpful
  • Provides letters of recommendation

Quick Reference



9 am-4:30 pm
"Like" us on Facebook.
Find A Doctor Ways to Give
Last Updated: 07-15-2016
Wake Forest Baptist Ranked among Nation’s ‘Best Hospitals’  26 Years in a Row by U.S. News & World ReportComprehensive Cancer Centers National Designation is Renewed2017-2018 Best DoctorsNursing Magnet StatusJoint Commission Report

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.

© Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157. All Rights Reserved.