Fundamentals of Professional Mentoring Workshop Q&A

Q: I have served as a mentor for many years to at least two dozen mentees. Is there anything new I can learn from this workshop?

Absolutely! We learn something new every time we teach the workshop. Much work has been done in recent years to advance our understanding of developmental relationships, which include mentoring, advising, sponsoring, and coaching. We’ll discuss these differences and challenge you to think about which approach is best for a given situation. Many of the best mentoring relationships develop organically. Formalizing a mentoring relationship by setting ground rules and commitments at the start helps a mentee learn to manage up and creates a structure for dealing with conflict or dysfunction if it develops. And your wisdom and experience will enrich the learning of all participants making the workshop even more valuable!


Q: I have been working with mentees for several months. Are there any takeaways from the workshop I can implement with my mentees right away? Or should I wait until I have a new mentee?

The workshop will focus on skills and approaches you can immediately incorporate into your existing mentoring relationships. During the workshop, you will practice coaching skills, which are a powerful way to increase connection, trust, creativity, and effectiveness in a mentoring relationship. A major mentoring pitfall is moving immediately into advice giving. This can be avoided through coaching, which encourages exploration of the mentee’s goals and experiences. Applying core coaching skills as a mentor requires curiosity, active listening, and thoughtful, mentee-centered questions, such as “What are your goals?” and “How can I help you reach them?” See the Winter AUA Newsletter for more details on coaching in a mentoring framework.


Q: I have never mentored but I am about to begin. Is there a process or framework that I will learn at your session?

First off, you have probably done lots of mentoring without recognizing it. And, yes, the workshop will give you a rich introduction to framing a mentoring relationship: considering what developmental relationship skills you should use in each context, understanding what you bring to the table as a mentor, setting ground rules and commitments, building trust, and using coaching skills in mentoring. You will receive the University of Utah’s 60-page Fundamentals of Professional Mentoring Workbook, which includes well-referenced approaches across the mentoring life cycle, numerous practical worksheets, and reflections to help you establish how you want to mentor.


Q: I would like to mentor more, but quite honestly my schedule (as well as those of my potentials mentees) rarely allow for it. Are shorter term mentoring relationships helpful to mentees?

Mentoring does not have to be a longitudinal relationship. Even one hour of time in support of a mentee’s goals can be transformative. Everyday interactions provide numerous opportunities to listen, support, challenge, and offer advice. You may find that the topics covered by the workshop (see August AUA Newsletter for details) can expand your capacity for mentoring, by clarifying expectations and appropriately coaching the mentee to set the agenda and take responsibility for taking agreed-upon action between meetings. Although it won’t be covered in this introductory workshop, the workbook contains a section on life cycles of mentoring, which may help you recognize current mentoring relationships that have reached a point of transition.


Q: My organization has a formal mentoring process. Is there anything I can learn from the workshop that I will be able to overlay onto my organization’s process?

Yes! Many of the skills and worksheets introduced by the workshop are well-suited for application to existing programs and relationships. The workbook includes discussion of mentoring teams that may provide new ideas and approaches to increase their effectiveness.


Q: My mentee is very concerned with quantifying the results of our relationship. What are the measurement metrics for a mentor/mentee relationship? Will the workshop delve into this?

The workshop and the workbook will give you tools for establishing agreements that include working with your mentee to establish and refine their goals, define what success looks like, and establish milestones to track their progress. The workbook also includes content, worksheets, and reflections on mentoring lifecycles and mentoring up that will help build your mentee’s expectations for each role in the relationship.


Q: I have been a mentee but never a mentor. Can I register for this?

Absolutely! Mentoring is one of the most rewarding opportunities in medicine, and you don’t want to miss out. It’s likely you are already viewed as a mentor by students, residents, and others—this workshop will help you engage more effectively in those relationships and embrace future opportunities. You will have an opportunity to reflect on what you bring to the table as a mentor, which will build your confidence in this role. Then you will learn specific skills that will strengthen your future mentoring relationships.


Download the Fundamentals of Professional Mentoring agenda

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Harriet W. Hopf, MD, FUHM, FASA
Professor and Executive Director of Faculty Development and Academic Affairs, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative & Pain Medicine
Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Co-Director, Utah Coaching and Advancement Network (U-CAN)
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
Susie Martinelli, MD, FASA
Chair, Educational Advisory Board
Residency Program Director
Edward A Norfleet, MD ’70 Distinguished Professor
Professor of Anesthesiology
The University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Chapel Hill, North Carolina