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It’s My Mentor a Perfect Fit?

The mentee’s needs within an organization are psychosocial in nature. In a mentoring relationship, the degree to which the mentee perceives psychosocial benefits determines the extent of perceived vocational benefits. The primary intention of mentoring is to socialize individuals into an organizational culture in a systematic and personalized manner (Bierema, 1996). The mentor assists the mentee to reflect on experiences and achieve different perspectives. At the heart of mentoring is an interpersonal dialogue, which allows for collaborative critical thinking, planning, reflection, and feedback (Galbraith and Cohen, 1995). Whether a mentoring program within an organization is formal or informal, to be successful, the mentee needs to have a voice in the selection of a mentor. Mentoring programs are rated as being far more likely to be successful if there is training or orientation. In addition, to be effective, the mentor needs support or coaching, and the process needs to be evaluated, not militarized (Scandura and Siegel, 1995).

Successful mentoring relationships are characterized by reciprocity, mutual respect, clear expectations, personal connection, and shared values. The mentee is not a sponge absorbing all mentor’s advice and assistance. Rather, the mentee should always be an active participant and driver of the relationship. Mentees should take the initiative for cultivating the relationship. This means preparing for meetings, having an outline for discussion, being responsible, paying attention to timelines, and completing tasks that were previously assigned, ask, and receive feedback.

The mentee should take full responsibility for keeping her/his mentor in the loop when they wish to deviate from original agreement or decide to follow a completely different path based on their learnings along the way. It is critical for a mentee to understand their role and responsibility in the areas of her/his growth and development and seeks the kind of person they respect based on the knowledge they possess.

The mentee is the one that drives the relationship by determining the role model they wish to emulate and the goals they need to achieve through them. The mentee either completely bought in to the advice from its mentor and act on it or do not hesitate to share and voice her/his opinion when it conflicts with their ideas. Mentees should aspire to honesty, receptivity, self-assessment, initiative, and appreciation of the mentor’s talent and time. Mentees should reflect on their personal work styles, strengths, weaknesses, and potential emotional triggers, and over time should learn these about their mentor(s). To optimize the chances of success, the mentee should take the time to define specific, measurable goals and a work plan and timeline to achieve them. The mentor and mentee should periodically review concrete measures of progress and success. Creating a mentor mentee expectation document can be helpful.

Remember, you are the CEO of your life. Hire, fire, and promote accordingly! #MSLABOY


Bierema, L. (1996) “Development of the individual leads to more productive workplaces”, New Direction for Adult and Continuing Education. Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Retrieved on June 20, 2021 from:

Galbraith and Cohen, (1995), “Mentoring in the Learning Society”, New Direction for Adult and Continuing Education. Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Retrieved on June 20, 2021 from:

Scandura, T. (1998), “Dysfunctional mentoring relationships and outcomes”, Journal of Management volume 24, Issue 3, 1998, Pages 449-467.

Zerzan JT, Hess R, Schur E, Phillips RS, Rigotti N. Making the most of mentors: a guide for mentees.

Acad Med. 2009;84(1):140-144

Sanfey H, Hollands C, Gantt NL. Strategies for building an effective mentoring relationship. Am J Surg. 2013;206(5):714-718

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