Mentoring: Giving Constructive Feedback (Helen Roberts, Mentor Workshop, SPH, October 2006.)
Tips for Mentors and Mentees
Potential mentoring activities:
- Listen to your resident
- Focus on asking “powerful questions” (questions that are challenging, but in a friendly way)
- Focus on being a resource, catalyst, facilitator, idea generator, networker, and problem-solver, NOT a person with all the answers.
- Help the resident solve problems
- Help the resident prepare for “first” experiences
- Sharing personal experiences, successes and failures
- Involve resident in social and extracurricular professional activities
- Encourage resident to be involved in professional activities and societies
Issues for potential discussion between mentors & residents:
- “Inside information” on the organization and its political functions
- The profession and the local, provincial, national context
- Administrative and organizational policies and procedures
- How is the project progressing?
- What were resident personal goals and objectives for the rotations completed? Were they met?
- What’s happening with the resident’s ePortfolio?
- Presentation skills
- Literature evaluation skills
- What are two areas you wish to improve (identified by resident and preceptor)? How will you do it?
- What are 2 areas you feel you are improving (identified by resident and preceptor)? How will you maintain them?
- Are they happy?
Tips for residents to get the most out of the relationship:
- Prior to your first meeting with your mentor, write down at least three things you would like to achieve through mentoring. Rank the three items in order of importance to you. Also write down three things that concern you most about meeting with your mentor. Rank these three things in order of importance.
- If not included in either of the lists created above, write down at least three attitudes or perspectives you will be able to provide during the mentoring sessions. If possible, write down three things about yourself that might get in the way of you being able to make the most of the mentoring opportunity.
- If not included in your lists, write down at least three things you would like your mentor to provide.
- Share your ePortfolio with your mentor (e.g., email the URL). This can provide an insightful basis for discussion, progress, and understanding.
- Prepare a brief autobiography based on the above lists that you can share with your mentor when you first meet. Be sure to also include your own vision, mission or life goals.
- It is likely that you selected your mentor or were matched with your mentor because of the mentor's resources. This typically means that you mentor has both considerable gifts and a tight time schedule. Dealing with time is a key aspect of the success of mentoring. Make sure you are clear about your needs.
- Be prepared to do some homework in order to demonstrate initiative, leadership and self-reliance. Explore alternative options for asking questions or gaining information other than just relying on your mentor. For example, if there is a policy manual, make sure you have read through it before asking your mentor about it. On the other hand, keep your mentor in the picture by letting the mentor know why you are asking a particular question after having explored other options.
- The focus of most successful mentoring is mutual learning. Feel free to explore what you have to offer the mentor. A sense of humor and a sense of enjoyment of your time together are essential as well. If your needs are not being met, discuss this with your mentor. Terminating a mentoring relationship or switching to a different mentor are not signs of failure. Recognizing your changing needs and finding a respectful way to meet your learning goals are one of the keys to successful executive mentoring.
Other resources for mentors:
Strengths of a “formal” mentorship program like this:
- Strong organizational message that mentorship is valued is sent by having such a program
- Assignment of pairs ensures that all residents will have an opportunity to be mentored
- Encourages mentors to take their responsibilities seriously and reduces opportunities for abuse of the relationship by mentors