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Nonprofit Management

Seven habits of highly effective mentors.

How to make the most of being a mentor.

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By Jennifer Przybylo & Nina Vasan Jun. 3, 2013

The concept of a mentor was introduced to us by Homer: In The Odyssey , on the eve of his epic voyage, Odysseus leaves his son Telemachus in the care of his trusted friend, Mentor. It is later revealed that Mentor is actually Athena—goddess of wisdom, inspiration, skill, and strategy—in disguise.

Mentors, whether professors or practitioners, play a critical role in the personal and professional development of individuals—in the nonprofit world and beyond. They are also invaluable to society as a whole, as the insight and practical experience they provide pave the roads to success for future generations, enabling them to explore new ground and take on new challenges more swiftly by avoiding some the journey’s initial stumbling blocks.

As students, we are fortunate enough to encounter potential mentors on a regular basis. Our experience engaging with possible mentors has ranged from never getting a reply, to getting an introductory email, to learning to count someone as family. What turns an advisor or boss into a trusted mentor, someone whom others turn to for wisdom, inspiration, skill, and strategy? What can you do to maximize your effectiveness as a mentor? Below we present—from the perspective of a mentee—seven habits of highly effective mentors:

1. Humanize yourself . Sometimes the impressive titles on your desk and the awards on your wall can make you seem pretty intimidating, discouraging us from speaking frankly about our problems or asking questions we fear will seem silly. We wouldn’t be meeting with you if we didn’t already respect and admire you, so don’t be afraid to admit your own stumbling blocks. Make yourself more relatable by sharing a big mistake you made, a regret you have, or something you’d do differently in hindsight. Such a confidence makes it easier for us to admit our own struggles and helps us see that failures are natural pit stops on the road to success. Step off the pedestal we’ve placed you on, and remind us that even the Greek gods could be fallible like mortals.

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2. Make regular appearances . Just as constellations offered ancient civilizations comfort with their seasonal presence, you give us reassurance when you check in with us periodically. Sometimes we hesitate to contact you until we have something big to report. Make an effort to keep in touch, especially if you haven’t heard from us in a while. An unsolicited email with a link to an article of interest and a line asking how we’re doing is a thoughtful and easy way to reach out. One of Jennifer’s mentors makes a point to wish her happy birthday every year via Facebook or a quick email. It is a small but powerful gesture that makes him stand out.

3. Provide balanced feedback . Once you feel you’ve gotten to know us, give us honest feedback about our performance and personality. This is valuable insight that you are in a unique position to offer. One of Nina’s most influential mentors is like a coach. When Nina was having a hard time, this mentor told her that she believed in Nina’s potential and listed qualities she saw as her strengths. She shared a few things Nina hadn’t identified, and her encouragement changed the way she thought about herself. Even more empowering is this mentor’s constructive feedback. She told Nina not only how she could improve, but also gave her specific, actionable recommendations for how to do so. She anticipated the hurdles Nina might face and provided strategies for how to best tackle them.

4. Ask for something in return . No good relationship is one-sided. You are giving a lot to your mentees, and while many mentors consider the feel-good nature of mentoring reward enough, don’t hesitate to ask your mentee for a favor or two. For example, if you’re a professor, perhaps your student mentee can write to the Dean about how much she enjoyed your class, advise incoming students on how to make the most of a research internship with you, or serve on a department curriculum review committee to determine more effective ways of teaching the material. We’re flattered to be asked and welcome the opportunity to show our gratitude.

5. Foster community . Establish a sense of community by inviting us and your other mentees to group get-togethers outside the office or classroom. This “behind-the-scenes” exposure to your world allows us to learn about the many other parts of your life you value beyond work, such as family, friends, and hobbies. Jennifer’s mentor hosts a holiday party each year with his family, as well as periodic happy hours at local restaurants. His mentees always look forward to the chance to get to know students from different years, as well as the opportunity to spend time with our mentor outside a formal work setting. Jennifer was touched when another advisor invited her to share Thanksgiving with his family after learning she wasn’t going to be able to fly home to see her own.

6. Make introductions . Just as companies have a board of directors to guide their growth, we benefit from developing a diverse board of mentors or a mentoring team. Like the pantheon atop Mount Olympus, a group of mentors can offer broad expertise and even create the opportunity for new partnerships. Encourage us to think critically about whose guidance can build on yours and address the other needs or facets of our life. Connect us with individuals you know, and ask us if there is anyone else we might like to meet. Make an email introduction, or even better, arrange a coffee break or lunch during which you can introduce us personally.

7. Be a mentee . Our experience as mentees has been the foundation for our own budding efforts as mentors. Everyone from the middle-school student to the most senior CEO can benefit from being both a mentor and a mentee. Continue investing in yourself and your own development.

Whether you’re a seasoned mentor with many mentees or a new mentor just starting to cultivate your first mentoring relationship, keeping in mind these points will help ensure that both you and your mentees grow and strengthen as a result of your mentorship.

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The role of mentoring and coaching as a means of supporting the well-being of educators and students

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education

ISSN : 2046-6854

Article publication date: 15 October 2019

Issue publication date: 15 October 2019

Kutsyuruba, B. and Godden, L. (2019), "The role of mentoring and coaching as a means of supporting the well-being of educators and students", International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education , Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 229-234.

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

With the ever-changing and conflicting professional demands, work-related stress, anxiety, burnout and increasing work–life imbalance, now more than ever educators are in need to attend to their well-being ( Kutsyuruba et al. , 2019 ; Cherkowski and Walker, 2018 ). Well-being here is broadly understood to include both hedonic aspects of feeling good (positive emotions) and more eudemonic (conducive to happiness) aspects of living well that entail experiences of positive relationships, meaningfulness in life and work, senses of mastery and personal growth, autonomy, and achievement ( Keyes, 2002, 2003 ; Ryan et al. , 2008 ; Seligman, 2011 ). Working in different roles and at different levels of teaching practice and career stages, many educators are rightfully concerned with the impact that well-being (or the degrees of its absence) can have on everyday functioning of students in their classrooms, lectures or other learning environments, recognizing their own limited knowledge about how to develop environments conducive to student thriving and flourishing ( Daniszewski, 2013 ; Gagnon et al. , 2017 ). However, the need is great for ensuring that educational professionals are also attuned to the importance of their own well-being as an essential grounding for their job satisfaction, and caring for and fostering well-being among those they serve and with whom they work ( Aguilar, 2018 ; Sturmfels, 2006 ).

In parallel to this, we see a strong need for research on the role of mentoring and coaching in supporting the holistic well-being and ongoing development of educators. Similar to Hobson (2016) , we believe that supporting the well-being of mentees and protégés is an essential part of the mentor’s role. Mentoring thus becomes a relationship between less experienced colleagues (mentees) and more experienced colleagues (mentors), where the latter aim “to support the mentee’s learning, development and well-being, and their integration into the cultures of both the organisation in which they are employed and the wider profession” (p. 88). Coaching, whether used interchangeably with mentoring, seen as one of the aspects of mentoring, or used as a standalone term, also focuses on the relationship between coach and coachee to help with the skill development, psychological well-being and social circumstances of the latter ( Clutterbuck, 1992 ; Fletcher and Mullen, 2012 ; Popper and Lipshitz, 1992 ).

As such, the potential impact of mentoring and coaching on the well-being of educators and students transcends the educational levels and contexts. Beginning teachers need support to not only survive but also thrive, grow professionally, and build their capacity to maintain and sustain their well-being (personal and of others), including through support systems such as teacher induction and mentoring programs ( Hobson and Maxwell, 2017 ; Kutsyuruba et al. , 2019 ; Shanks, 2017 ). Coaching and mentoring are not only limited to early career stages but also instrumental for experienced teachers and school leaders ( Campbell et al. , 2017 ; Feiman-Nemser, 2012 ; Hobson et al. , 2009 ). Experienced teachers who no longer have the formal supports through induction can benefit from peer coaching and informal mentoring. School principals and leaders, likewise, value professional and institutional structures and supports in the form of mentoring and coaching aimed at leadership development ( Hobson and Sharp, 2005 ; Searby and Armstrong, 2016 ). Beyond the K–12 education system, university faculty members also appreciate supportive structures to help them with orientation, socialization and acculturation to the new workplace ( Ramaswami et al. , 2014 ; Thomason, 2012 ). Similarly, youth taught by educators at these various educational institutions increasingly find mentoring and coaching practices beneficial for their overall development and learning (e.g. Hamilton et al. , 2019 ; Hylan and Postlethwaite, 1998 ).

Mentoring and coaching in education often have the dual aims of personal support and professional learning because the protégés are being helped to assimilate into new roles or responsibilities as well as to develop employment-related skills. The primary intended beneficiaries of the mentorship and coaching may be students, recently qualified or more experienced teachers, and instructors in schools, colleges and university settings. However, there is limited research on the role of mentoring and coaching in supporting holistic well-being and ongoing development of educators at these various levels. Therefore, we endeavored to seek out research that explores the role that mentoring and coaching practices play in helping educational professionals attune to the importance of maintaining their own well-being and fostering the well-being among those they serve and with whom they work. Of particular interest for us was to learn how mentorship and coaching can support the well-being and mental health of educators who work under demanding conditions, often in complex and stressful environments, and how their well-being capacity can contribute to the well-being of their mentees/protégés/coachees, students and colleagues. Furthermore, learning how educator well-being is supported through coaching and mentoring in different locales and diverse settings would help with understanding the specific, contextualized factors conducive to flourishing in educational institutions.

With this special issue of the International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education ( IJMCE ) we aimed to examine potential benefits, challenges and implications of mentorship and coaching as supportive structures for the well-being of educational professionals and students in a variety of educational contexts, including compulsory and post-compulsory educational settings. We also intended to contribute to and enhance the body of literature pertaining to the role of mentoring and coaching in supporting the holistic well-being and ongoing learning and development of educators and students.

We are enormously pleased by an overwhelming response to our call for papers to this special issue and with the final selection of accepted papers presented here, which we believe provides a rich, deep, and fairly comprehensive picture of the connection between mentoring and coaching and well-being in the field of education. The special issue features ten papers from across Canada, Malta and the USA that examine the role of mentoring and coaching in supporting the well-being of educators and students in a variety of roles and contexts. It should also be noted that many more submissions worthy of inclusion in this issue were received, but regretfully, publication constraints did not allow us to include all of them. Some of these will be published in subsequent, regular issues of the IJMCE .

Below, we provide an overview of each of the ten papers. The first paper addresses mentorship of pre-service teachers. Next, the second, third and fourth papers highlight the role of mentoring in supporting early career teachers (ECT), and the fifth and sixth papers focus on mentoring and coaching of experienced teachers. In the seventh paper, the authors discuss the well-being of teacher-leaders and principals, whereas the eighth and ninth papers deal with supports for the university faculty members, both new and experienced. We close with a paper that addresses how faculty members provide support for graduate students.

Virtual mentor partnerships between practising and preservice teachers: helping to enhance professional growth and well-being

In this paper, Patricia Briscoe presents the findings from a qualitative mixed-methods study of 77 pre-service teachers who participated in virtual mentorship with practising teachers. The qualitative self-reports provided by the pre-service teachers highlighted their learning and professional growth, and Briscoe shows that after engaging with the virtual mentorship from an experienced teacher practitioner, the pre-service teachers felt more prepared, confident and supported to enter the teaching profession. On the basis of her findings, Briscoe suggests that the virtual approach to mentorship eliminates some of the access barriers that have impacted upon the face-to-face mentoring approach, with implications for the virtual mentorship to open up opportunities to connect teachers both across nations and the world.

The well-being of the early career teacher: a review of the literature on the pivotal role of mentoring

This paper is the first of three that consider the well-being of ECTs who work in compulsory education. Vicki Squires concentrates on peer-reviewed articles published over the past decade, including additional seminal works published between 2000 and 2010. In her review, Squires highlights promising practices and models of mentorship focused on providing personal and professional support for ECTs that helped develop resiliency and support well-being. Squires concludes that the adoption of a holistic approach, where strong relationships built on trust are formed between mentors and mentees, has the capacity to provide ECTs with social and emotional support to foster their well-being.

The benefits of mentoring newly qualified teachers in Malta

Michelle Attard-Tonna uses a grounded theory approach to explore the reflections and online conversations of 15 mentors from 10 schools who were each supporting a newly qualified teacher (NQT) for one academic year. Attard-Tonna notes that a mentoring approach based on reflection and dialogue promoted positive relationships that ultimately led to professional growth in the NQTs. Importantly, Attard-Tonna establishes that the school and school environment played a significant role in defining the challenges faced by NQTs and the interactions between the beginning teachers and their mentors.

The impact of mentoring on the Canadian early career teachers’ well-being

Benjamin Kutsyuruba, Lorraine Godden and John Bosica selectively analyze 35 survey questions from an online New Teacher Survey that examined the perceptions and experiences of 1,343 ECTs teaching in publicly funded schools across Canada. Through the mixed-methods exploration, Kutsyuruba and colleagues establish a strong correlation between the mentoring experiences and well-being of Canadian ECTs. Kutsyuruba et al. argue that purposeful, strength-based approaches for mentoring could help create environments in which ECTs can flourish.

Educators’ perceptions of the value of coach mindset development for their well-being

This paper is the first of two that consider the well-being of more experienced teachers who work in compulsory education. Kendra Lowery qualitatively examines five high school educators’ perceptions of training to develop a coach mindset, and whether the training contributed to the professional and personal well-being of the teachers. Lowery determines that adopting a coach mindset may increase educators’ well-being as they learn to build positive student, collegial and personal relationships within their schools.

“I love this stuff!”: a Canadian case study of mentor–coach well-being

Trista Hollweck shares the findings of her qualitative case study that employed Seligman’s well-being theory (PERMA) to examine the potential benefits, challenges and implications of the mentor–coach role as a supportive structure for experienced teachers’ well-being and flourishing in schools. Hollweck concludes that the mentor–coach role is not a panacea for well-being; rather, the quality and effectiveness of the mentoring and coaching relationship are the determining factors that facilitate teachers’ positive emotion, engagement, relationships and sense of accomplishment.

Mentorship for flourishing in schools: an explicit shift toward appreciative action

In this paper, Sabre Cherkowski and Keith Walker utilize findings from a multi-year qualitative research project to show the agency of principals and teacher-leaders in building developmental relationships and mentoring cultures that orientated and supported teachers toward well-being. Cherkowski and Walker offer four domains of inquiry and a model for flourishing schools that encourage principals and teacher-leaders to develop habits of mind and heart that in turn enact positive and appreciative methods of sustaining the work of teaching and learning. Cherkowski and Walker’s conceptual models provide strong indicators for nurturing developmental approaches to mentoring to form appreciative and growth-based approaches that enhance the well-being of entire school communities.

Not a solo ride: co-constructed peer mentoring for early career educational leadership faculty

Benterah Morton and Elizabeth Gil present a co-constructed peer-mentoring model intended to support mentoring opportunities that would enhance faculty development and well-being for early career educational leadership faculty from historically underrepresented populations. The model includes intentional practices aimed at fostering healthy work–life balance, developing support systems, increasing faculty agency and opportunities for storytelling for well-being. The authors suggest that the model has implications for preparing institutional leaders to institutionalize mentoring programs that promote professional growth and personal wellness.

Thriving vs surviving: benefits of formal mentoring program on faculty well-being

In the second paper that considers the well-being of faculty members, Shanna Stuckey, Brian Collins, Shawn Patrick, Kathleen Grove and Etta Ward discuss the findings from a mixed-methods study, based on grounded theory, to evaluate a formal mentoring program (EMPOWER) aimed at addressing the challenges faced by women and underrepresented minority (URM) faculty members. Stuckey and her colleagues posit that EMPOWER not only framed positive mentoring relationships and a wellness model, but also demonstrated such indirect benefits as creation of a safe space, continued relationships between mentees and mentors, networking benefits, acculturation to campus and increased understanding of organizational politics and how these might positively impact faculty well-being.

Exploring professors’ experiences supporting graduate student well-being in Ontario faculties of education

Michael Savage, Vera Woloshyn, Snezana Ratkovic, Catherine Hands and Dragana Martinovic conclude this special issue with a qualitative study that explored seven Ontario education professors’ perceptions of and support for their graduate students’ well-being. Savage and colleagues argue that supporting the graduate students’ psycho–socio–emotional well-being was a critical aspect of faculty members’ roles. The seven participating professors intentionally used a number of strategies to support their graduate students, including the creation of inclusive learning environments, providing academic accommodations, nurturing caring relationships, and promoting on-campus supports and events. Savage and colleagues conclude with several recommendations for supporting graduate student mental health and well-being.


This special issue focuses on the role of mentoring and coaching as a means of supporting the well-being of educators. The aim has been to contribute to and enhance the body of literature pertaining to the role of mentoring and coaching in supporting the holistic well-being and ongoing learning and development of educators. The collection of articles in this issue addresses the notion of well-being of educators in different geographical locations and in a variety of educational contexts. The range of papers included here is indicative of a circle of support where at different levels of education, professionals are able (through mentoring and coaching) to support the development of others and to facilitate the well-being of peers, colleagues and students. Our hope is that this special issue will serve as a guide for academics, policymakers and practitioners in their quest to find answers about the benefits, challenges and implications of using mentorship and coaching programs and initiatives to promote educator well-being and flourishing in their respective milieu.

Aguilar , E. ( 2018 ), Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators , Jossey-Bass , San Francisco, CA .

Campbell , C. , Osmond-Johnson , P. , Faubert , B. , Zeichner , K. , Hobbs-Johnson , A. , Brown , S. , DaCosta , P. , Hales , A. , Kuehn , L. , Sohn , J. and Stevensen , K. ( 2017 ), “ The state of educators’ professional learning in Canada: final research report ”, Learning Forward, Oxford, OH .

Cherkowski , S. and Walker , K.D. ( 2018 ), Teacher Wellbeing: Noticing, Nurturing, Sustaining, and Flourishing in Schools , Word & Deed Publishing , Burlington, ON .

Clutterbuck , D. ( 1992 ), Mentoring , Henley Distance Learning , Henley .

Daniszewski , T. ( 2013 ), “ Teachers’ mental health literacy and capacity towards student mental health ”, thesis, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, available at: (accessed August 16, 2019 ).

Feiman-Nemser , S. ( 2012 ), “ Beyond solo teaching ”, Educational Leadership , Vol. 69 No. 8 , pp. 10 - 16 .

Fletcher , S. and Mullen , C.A. (Eds) ( 2012 ), The SAGE Handbook of Mentoring and Coaching in Education , SAGE Publications , Thousand Oaks, CA .

Gagnon , M.M. , Gelinas , B.L. and Friesen , L.N. ( 2017 ), “ Mental health literacy in emerging adults in a university setting: distinctions between symptom awareness and appraisal ”, Journal of Adolescent Research , Vol. 32 No. 5 , pp. 642 - 664 .

Hamilton , L.K. , Boman , J. , Rubin , H. and Sahota , B.K. ( 2019 ), “ Examining the impact of a university mentorship program on student outcomes ”, International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education , Vol. 8 No. 1 , pp. 19 - 36 .

Hobson , A.J. ( 2016 ), “ Judgementoring and how to avert it: Introducing ONSIDE Mentoring for beginning teachers ”, International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education , Vol. 5 No. 2 , pp. 87 - 110 .

Hobson , A.J. and Maxwell , B. ( 2017 ), “ Supporting and inhibiting the well-being of early career secondary school teachers: extending self-determination theory ”, British Educational Research Journal , Vol. 43 No. 1 , pp. 168 - 191 .

Hobson , A.J. and Sharp , C. ( 2005 ), “ Head to head: a systematic review of the research evidence on mentoring new head teachers ”, School Leadership & Management , Vol. 25 No. 1 , pp. 25 - 42 .

Hobson , A.J. , Ashby , P. , Malderez , A. and Tomlinson , P.D. ( 2009 ), “ Mentoring beginning teachers: what we know and what we don’t ”, Teaching and Teacher Education , Vol. 25 No. 1 , pp. 207 - 216 .

Hylan , I. and Postlethwaite , K. ( 1998 ), “ The success of teacher-pupil mentoring in raising standards of achievement ”, Education + Training , Vol. 40 No. 2 , pp. 68 - 77 .

Keyes , C.L. ( 2002 ), “ The mental health continuum: from languishing to flourishing in life ”, Journal of Health and Social Behavior , Vol. 43 No. 2 , pp. 207 - 222 .

Keyes , C.L.M. ( 2003 ), “ Complete mental health: an agenda for the 21st century ”, in Keyes , C.L.M. and Haidt , J. (Eds), Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived , American Psychological Association , Washington, DC , pp. 293 - 312 .

Kutsyuruba , B. , Walker , K.D. , Stroud Stasel , R. and Al Makhamreh , M. ( 2019 ), “ Developing resilience and promoting well-being in early career teaching: advice from the Canadian beginning teachers ”, Canadian Journal of Education , Vol. 42 No. 1 , pp. 288 - 321 .

Popper , M. and Lipshitz , R. ( 1992 ), “ Coaching on leadership ”, Leadership & Organization Development Journal , Vol. 13 No. 7 , pp. 15 - 18 .

Ramaswami , A. , Huang , J.C. and Dreher , G. ( 2014 ), “ Interaction of gender, mentoring, and power distance on career attainment: a cross-cultural comparison ”, Human Relations , Vol. 67 No. 2 , pp. 153 - 173 .

Ryan , R.M. , Huta , V. and Deci , E.L. ( 2008 ), “ Living well: a self-determination theory perspective on eudaimonia ”, Journal of Happiness Studies , Vol. 9 No. 1 , pp. 139 - 170 .

Searby , L.J. and Armstrong , D. ( 2016 ), “ Supporting the development and professional growth of middle space educational leaders through mentoring ”, International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education , Vol. 5 No. 3 , pp. 162 - 169 .

Seligman , M. ( 2011 ), Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being , Free Press , New York, NY .

Shanks , R. ( 2017 ), “ Mentoring beginning teachers: professional learning for mentees and mentors ”, International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education , Vol. 6 No. 3 , pp. 158 - 163 .

Sturmfels , M. ( 2006 ), “ Stress, morale and well-being as constructed by teachers in Victorian government schools and their impact on school organizational health: a research-in-progress ”, Post-Script , Vol. 7 No. 1 , pp. 21 - 33 .

Thomason , T. ( 2012 ), “ A week in the life of a university professor: issues of stress, workload, and wellness ”, Counseling and Wellness: A Professional Counseling Journal , Vol. 3 , pp. 23 - 35 .


We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Professor Andy Hobson, Editor-in-Chief of the IJMCE , Associate Editor Pam Firth, Content Editor Lauren Malone, and all the reviewers for their generosity with time and expertise. Without their help, this special issue would not be possible. We would also like to thank all the authors who responded to our call for proposals and contributed their research and conceptual articles to this special issue. Finally, we would like to express our appreciation to all the mentors and coaches in the field of education from whom we have benefited and continue to learn, in both our personal and professional lives, and whose devotion and support have greatly affected our own well-being.

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National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Policy and Global Affairs; Board on Higher Education and Workforce; Committee on Effective Mentoring in STEMM; Dahlberg ML, Byars-Winston A, editors. The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2019 Oct 30.

Cover of The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM

The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM.

  • Hardcopy Version at National Academies Press

2 The Science of Mentoring Relationships: What Is Mentorship?

Mentorship is an activity in which science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) professionals engage to help develop the next generation of STEMM professionals. While that statement may be a truism, it does not adequately address three important questions: What exactly is mentorship? What makes it effective? How does it occur in various settings? Mentoring relationships can be intentionally created and developed, and there is a substantial scholarship—a science of mentoring relationship 1 —to inform this process. This chapter provides an overview of historical and evolving perspectives on mentoring, introduces a working definition of mentorship, and summarizes several theoretical frameworks supporting this definition.


Historical Perspectives

The word “mentor” comes from the character Mentor in Homer's Odyssey. When Odysseus, king of Ithaca, went off to fight in the Trojan War, he asked his trusted friend Mentor to advise and teach his son, Telemachus. In time, the term mentor came to refer to someone who is a guide and educator, and a mentoring relationship was seen as a relationship between a teacher and student. The notion of mentorship is largely idealized as a positive thing, though original Greek conceptions painted a more complex picture of the relationship between Mentor and Telemachus ( Garvey, 2017 ). A mentoring relationship, like any relationship, has good and bad moments—and good and bad outcomes—and mentoring experiences can range from effective to dysfunctional ( Scandura, 1998 ). Mentoring involves both benefits and costs to those engaged in mentoring relationships.

A 1991 review of the then-current state of the mentoring literature across disciplines identified 15 different definitions ( Jacobi, 1991 ). This review noted three commonalities among the definitions:

  • Mentoring relationships emphasize helping the individual grow and accomplish goals and include several approaches to doing so.
  • A mentoring experience may provide professional and career development support, role modeling, and psychosocial support; mentoring experiences should include planned activities with a mentor.
  • Mentoring relationships are personal and reciprocal, though online mentorship options are creating opportunities to build virtual mentoring relationships.

By the time a subsequent review of the literature published between 1990 and 2007 was conducted, researchers had created more than 50 definitions for mentoring ( Crisp and Cruz, 2009 ).

While definitions of mentoring vary, they often refer to core functions of mentoring relationships. Groundbreaking work published in 1983 identified two primary functions in mentoring: providing psychosocial support that includes role modeling, and offering career or instrumental support that includes providing challenging work toward skill development ( Kram, 1983 ). 2 Table 2-1 presents a summary of various mentoring functions, organized according to whether they relate to psychosocial or career support.

Historically in the United States, and especially in STEMM, mentoring has carried a connotation of a mostly unidirectional relationship between a more senior individual using life experience and acquired knowledge to guide the development, growth, or entry of the mentee into future life stages or career paths. Typically, mentoring has been used to describe an extended relationship distinct from the relationship with a teacher, which is often more focused, shorter-lived, and devoted primarily to mastering and applying new knowledge. Unlike teaching, which has evolved a rich base of pedagogical practices often based on rigorous experimental design, mentoring has usually been based on the individualized practices of mentors who often tenaciously resist structure or approaches that would limit their domain of “expertise.”

TABLE 2-1 Mentorship Functions

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Brunsma et al. (2017) , Cohen (1995) , Kram (1983) , Levinson (1978) , Miller (2002) , Robert (2000) , Schockett and Haring-Hidore (1985) ;

Davidson and Foster-Johnson (2001) , Eby et al. (2013) , Hernandez et al. (2017) , Syed et al. (2011) ;

Syed et al. (2011) ;

Cohen (1995) ;

Robert (2000) ;

Levinson (1978) ;

Kram (1983) , Schockett and Haring-Hidore (1985) .

SOURCES: Crisp and Cruz, 2009 ; Gershenfeld, 2014 ; Nora and Crisp, 2007 .

Evolving Perspectives

Over the past two decades, a paradigm shift has led to reframing mentoring relationships as definable, reciprocal, and dynamic. According to this new framing, effective mentoring requires complex skills that can be taught, practiced, and mastered, and it accrues measurable benefits for mentees and mentors. Mentoring relationships are now seen as collaborative processes in which mentees and mentors take part in reciprocal and dynamic activities such as planning, acting, reflecting, questioning, and problem solving ( McGee, R., 2016 ).

A 1997 National Academies report, Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On Being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering , noted that the mentor's roles comprise multiple dimensions, including those listed in the report's title, and that the mentee's roles include committing to the mentoring relationship, sharing responsibility with the mentor for the quality of that relationship, and clearly communicating needs and expectations ( NAS-NAE-1OM, 1997 ). Most roles described in the report reflect the psychosocial support functions of mentoring and a focus on mentoring behaviors the mentor demonstrates toward the student. This unidirectional mentoring view is consistent with the apprenticeship model that has been a central paradigm in training future professionals for centuries ( McGee, R., 2016 ). In the apprenticeship model, the role of mentors has been focused historically on replicating the mentors' skills in the apprentices or mentees. Expanding beyond the apprenticeship model is another shift in perspectives on mentoring relationships, one that emphasizes the mentees' role and agency in their mentored experiences ( Balster et al., 2010 ; Lee et al., 2015 ). Although Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend continues to be a useful mentoring resource in STEMM, knowledge about mentoring relationships has since expanded. The contexts in which they occur are more varied, and the number of individuals participating in a given relationship has increased, prompting the request for new perspectives about, and resources for, both mentors and mentees.

The definition of mentoring has been expanded to go beyond a relationship between two individuals—a dyadic mentoring relationship—to include a broad array of additional constructs and relationships. This expansion has come about through the recognition that, in many cases, there are more efficient and more effective ways for mentees to develop wisdom and expertise than by having it imparted by a single mentor and that one mentor is not likely to fulfill all of a mentee's needs ( Higgins and Kram, 2001 ). Moving beyond the “one mentor–one mentee” approach to mentoring relationships becomes especially critical in contexts where relatively few mentors are available to meet the mentoring requirements of many mentees or when one mentor cannot meet all the mentoring commitments of a particular mentee.

Early research investigated mentoring relationships that occurred naturally over the course of a person's life ( Levinson, 1978 ). To confer the advantages of informal mentoring relationships more systematically and broadly to those who might not otherwise have access to them, formal programs developed in workplace settings, youth programming, and academic environments across many disciplines. Some examples of possible mentoring relationships are provided in Box 2-1 .

The Variety of Mentoring Relationships.


With the evolution of mentoring practice and having reviewed the extant literature, the committee concluded that the term mentorship shifts focus away from a set of unidirectional actions of the mentors toward the mentoring relationships that are based on experiences across numerous approaches, structures, and contexts. This relationship-centric focus emphasizes mentoring processes and experiences in the context of a developmental partnership. For the purposes of this report, the committee worked from a broad-based definition of mentoring relationships in STEMM that includes both the intense, lasting, reciprocal relationships that form between one mentor and one mentee and the increasingly recognized forms of group and peer relationships, all of which complement the critically formative relationships in research training. The committee developed the following definition as a common starting point for STEMM practitioners and researchers, as well as for the purposes of this report:

Mentorship is a professional, working alliance in which individuals work together over time to support the personal and professional growth, development, and success of the relational partners through the provision of career and psychosocial support.

Mentorship is operationalized for STEMM contexts through the career support functions (e.g., career guidance, skill development, sponsorship) and psychosocial support functions (e.g., psychological and emotional support, role modeling) aimed at mentee talent development. Mentorship complements other developmental processes like teaching or coaching to support mentees in developing knowledge and skills, 3 and is essential to the holistic development of scientists, technologists, engineers, mathematicians, and physicians, including but not limited to developing a strong identity as a STEMM professional, developing confidence in one's ability to work as a STEMM professional, and successfully navigating the culture of STEMM.

The clinical construct known as the working alliance or therapeutic alliance is an important element within the committee's definition of mentorship. The working alliance is a variable in the psychotherapy process that helps explain behavior change ( Ackerman and Hilsenroth, 2003 ) and emphasizes a conscious and active collaboration between therapists and clients—or in this case, mentors and mentees. Three features applicable to all support relationships, of which a mentoring relationship is one type, characterize the working alliance as “an agreement on goals, an assignment of task or a series of tasks, and the development of bonds” ( Bordin, 1979 ). The committee included the notion of a working alliance in its mentorship definition to call attention to both technical (e.g., career functions) and relational (e.g., psychosocial functions) aspects in mentorship that contribute to effective mentoring relationships and mentee outcomes. 4

Mentorship is often conflated with coaching, advising, role modeling, and sponsorship. All of these behaviors can occur within mentorship and reflect the various activities in the psychosocial and career mentorship functions. Shifting from the classic conceptualization of mentoring (i.e., unidirectional from mentor to mentee) to the concept of mentorship encourages refocusing on the specific roles that mentors and mentees both play in their mentoring relationships. This shift begins to focus on “assets” that reflect skills and abilities that mentees must develop, with mentors using a variety of strategies to cultivate success in STEMM ( Johnson and Bozeman, 2012 ). For example, coaching is most often focused on addressing specific issues for achieving career aspirations or imparting specific competencies in the near term, such as how to write a scientific paper ( Grant, 2006 ; Ragins and McFarlin, 1990 ), while advising typically provides feedback about specific questions, such as the classes a student needs to take to graduate ( NAS-NAE-IOM, 1997 ). Role modeling, which provides an example of professional behavior for someone to emulate, does not necessarily involve a relationship, whereas sponsorship involves a senior person publicly acknowledging the achievements of and advocating for a mentee ( Kram, 1985a ; Ragins and McFarlin, 1990 ).

To some extent, the practice of mentorship in academic STEMM settings has focused on career support and development of mentees' skills and research productivity, as well as on career choice. However, effective mentorship should also provide meaningful psychosocial support that addresses the ongoing emotional and social needs of mentees ( Eby et al., 2013 ; Gurin et al., 2002 ; Paglis et al., 2006 ; Schockett and Haring-Hidore, 1985 ) and enhances an individual's sense of competence, identity, and effectiveness in a professional role ( Kram, 1985a ). 5 Psychosocial functions of mentorship work at an interpersonal level ( Simon et al., 2008 ) and represent a more relational aspect of the mentoring relationship ( Allen et al., 2004 ).

Effective Mentorship Behaviors

Every mentoring relationship is different. There are, however, core behaviors of mentees and mentors that are likely to yield effective mentoring relationships, regardless of whether they are created formally or informally. Such behaviors include aligning expectations, building rapport, maintaining open communication, and facilitating mentee agency. 6 Empirical evidence shows that mentors enacting these behaviors have mentees who favorably rate the quality of their mentoring relationships ( Pfund et al., 2014 ). Effective mentorship behaviors also include addressing diversity factors and being mindful of equity in the mentoring relationship ( Pfund et al., 2013 ). 7 Emerging evidence suggests that mentoring practices that include navigating power differentials between mentors and mentees especially across racial or gender differences, reducing stereotype threat, and affirming a sense of belonging and science identity may contribute to fuller representation of individuals from underrepresented groups in the sciences ( Byars-Winston et al., 2018 ; Estrada et al., 2017 ). 8

Effective mentorship occurs when mentors and mentees develop trust, share strengths and limitations, and identify with and authentically engage with one another ( Blake-Beard et al., 2011 ). Some researchers call this mentorship attribute interpersonal comfort , or the ability to speak freely and express opinions without repercussion. Research has also shown that interpersonal factors and having deep-level similarities between mentees and mentors is associated with interpersonal comfort, 9 which in turn predicts the provision and receipt of psychosocial and career (instrumental and networking) support ( Brunsma et al., 2017 ; Ortiz-Walters and Gilson, 2005 ). 10

Mentorship Stages

Mentorship behaviors can be applied in some or all stages of mentoring relationships. Groundbreaking research published in 1985 conceptualized four sequential stages through which mentoring relationships evolve based on qualitative research in organizational settings ( Kram, 1985a ):

Initiation , when mentors and mentees form expectations and get to know one another

Cultivation , when the relationship matures and mentors typically provide the greatest degree of psychosocial and career support

Separation , when mentees seek autonomy and more independence from mentors

Redefinition , when mentors and mentees transition into a different form of relationship characterized by more peer-like interactions or terminate the relationship

Over the course of their academic and career pursuits, mentees' expectations and needs are likely to change ( McGowan et al., 2007 ). As such, the type of support needed from and provided by mentors will vary across different mentorship stages ( Pollock, 1995 ). One investigator, for example, found that mentees in the initiation stage reported perceiving they received less career and psychosocial mentorship than those in the other three mentorship stages ( Chao, 1997 ). Because mentors and mentees have various expectations of one another based on their own needs, which can change over time, challenges may arise from misaligned expectations in their relationship across mentorship stages. For example, an empirical study of working professionals found that those who were just entering into a mentoring relationship reported fewer challenges regarding that relationship than did those in the mature or ending stages of their relationships ( Ensher and Murphy, 2011 ). Together, these findings suggest that attending to the mentorship needs and potential relational challenges that can arise across mentorship stages is critical to overall quality of and satisfaction with mentorship.


Although much of the mentorship that takes place at the nation's institutions of higher education is done on an ad hoc basis, there is, in fact, a breadth of theory and supportive research that is potentially informative for understanding and improving mentorship. The committee's intent in this section is to provide enough information to engage in a conversation about use of theoretical models or frameworks that other fields have found useful for understanding human behavior, including students' decision-making processes and choices, and to incorporate these principles into their mentorship work and research. The six theories presented here are not a comprehensive list of the frameworks used by researchers in developing an understanding of mentorship. Rather, the committee hopes this information will help frame a set of greater conversations by providing language, constructs, and theoretical underpinnings that in turn can guide the creation of a culture of effective and inclusive mentorship. The information presented here can encourage and stimulate both more theoretically informed and evidence-based mentorship practices and more practitioner-informed research. Table 2-2 summarizes some primary elements for each theory. For each theory presented, its primary tenets are explained first, followed by a description of the theory as applied to mentorship.

Ecological Systems Theory

Primary tenets.

According to the ecological systems theory framework, individuals participating in mentorship bring to a mentoring relationship various behaviors, personal factors, and environmental variables that shape their mentorship needs and expectations and their responses to mentorship. Rather than focusing on mentorship as a primarily individual-level exchange between a mentor and mentee, this theory emphasizes that mentoring relationships occur over, and are influenced by, five levels or systems varying in degree of direct effect on the relationship:

Microsystem refers to the one-on-one relationships and the level at which most people think about mentorship.

Mesosystem refers to the interaction of these microsystems or the linkages between the microsystems. An example of a mesosystem would be the relationship between a faculty mentor and another professor who teaches a mentee in class.

Exosystem refers to the linkages between microsystems that do not involve the person, such as the relationship between a mentee's school environment and neighborhood or between a mentee's family and school. Other examples of influences on mentorship that operate at the exosystem level include disciplinary norms and institutional supports.

Macrosystem refers to the cultural influences on the micro-, meso-, and exosystems. Workforce trends, national politics, and global developments all affect mentorship at the macrosystem level. Institutionalized racism and stereotype threat also operate at this level.

Chronosystem refers to changes over time. For example, beliefs about women attending college have changed dramatically since the 1960s, when many women could not apply to certain universities, let alone engage in mentorship.

TABLE 2-2 Theory Decoder for Thinking about Mentorship


While a mentoring relationship develops among individuals, it also occurs in the context of a department, college, and university, each with policies and practices that influence the success of both the mentee and the mentoring relationship. In addition, the success of the mentoring relationship depends at least in part on the cultural and social attitudes and practices of the individuals in that relationship ( Bronfenbrenner, 1993 ). One study on mentorship with graduate psychology students from underrepresented backgrounds revealed that effective mentorship addressed the students' contexts and the interconnections across those contexts or systems ( Chan et al., 2015 ). For those reasons, ecological systems theory can inform concepts of communities of practice 11 and a culture of mentorship according to two guiding propositions: that individuals develop through prolonged interaction with others and that immediate and distant environments influence this development.

Mentorship, from an ecological systems theory perspective, requires accounting for individual and environmental systems being reciprocal and interdependent and not independent of one another ( Chandler et al., 2011 ). For example, a mentor might do well to identify and attend to how a mentee is managing different values and priorities across multiple systems and how that influences the mentee's academic and career development. From an ecological perspective, mentorship can be thought of as a systems property rather than as an interaction between a mentor and mentee, which suggests that research on mentorship and the practice of mentorship should also focus on developmental networks, institutional context, and societal macrosystems.

Social Cognitive Career Theory

Building on formative work on social cognitive theory ( Bandura, 1986 ), researchers have articulated social cognitive career theory (SCCT) to explain individuals' motivation, goal setting, and persistence in achieving a desired academic outcome and career path ( Lent et al., 1994 ). Those mechanisms include two primary factors influencing individuals' choices and actions: self-efficacy beliefs and outcome expectations. Self-efficacy refers to the belief individuals have in their own abilities to meet the challenges they face and complete a task successfully, and outcome expectations refer to a belief about the likelihood of the behavior leading to a specific outcome. Together, these inform an individual's capability to self-regulate, engage in self-directed learning, motivate oneself, set goals, and persist in the pursuit of those goals ( Byars-Winston et al., 2010 , 2017 ). College and university students who are confident in their ability to do well in their classes and who are sure in the belief that obtaining a STEMM degree will help fulfill their aspirations will be more likely to continue to pursue their degrees and set goals to accomplish that pursuit, even while having to overcome challenges. SCCT also recognizes that factors outside of individuals, such as family support and economic need, can affect how people make choices regarding the educational and career paths they choose ( Pfund et al., 2016 ). Studies with individuals in STEMM fields have generated considerable empirical evidence supporting SCCT as a plausible model to explain factors affecting persistence across gender, racial and ethnic groups, and career stages, from undergraduates to early career faculty ( Bakken et al., 2010 ; Byars-Winston et al., 2010 ; Gainor and Lent, 1998 ; Lent et al., 2005 ).

SCCT was used recently to depict how academic and career-related behaviors in STEMM domains occur through interactions with individuals, including mentors and mentees, and their environments. Importantly, SCCT specifies four sources of learning that give rise to and shape self-efficacy and outcome expectancy beliefs: previous performance, vicarious learning, affective/emotional arousal, and social persuasion ( Byars-Winston et al., 2016 , 2017 ). Investigators have applied the SCCT model to explain how mentored research is a learning experience in itself in that mentorship provides one or more of the four sources of learning that subsequently influence mentees' self-efficacy beliefs and outcome expectations ( Byars-Winston et al., 2015 ). Therefore, how mentees perceive the quality and content of mentorship they receive is likely to have a significant influence on their academic and career outcomes. Indeed, an empirical test of an expanded SCCT model with biology undergraduate mentees found that mentees' perceptions of their mentors' effectiveness strongly shaped their beliefs in their own research skills and career knowledge and predicted their research self-efficacy beliefs, which in turn predicted their enrollment in a Ph.D. or graduate medical program ( Byars-Winston et al., 2015 ).

An expanded SCCT model incorporating the sources of learning gained from mentorship has also been tested and found to support the association between sources of learning and research self-efficacy beliefs and between sources of learning and science identity, with some group differences by race/ethnicity and gender for Black/African American and Latinx STEMM students ( Byars-Winston and Rogers, 2019 ). SCCT holds promise for investigating effective mentorship, and for guiding interventions when mentorship is poor, by providing an understanding of how mentees' beliefs and behaviors related to academic and career choice processes are socially influenced and strongly shaped by interactions with others, particularly mentors.

Tripartite Integration Model of Social Influence

The tripartite integration model of social influence (TIMSI) explains how individuals become socialized and integrated into a given community. Integration into any community is based on an individual becoming oriented to the rules, roles, and values of that community. In the context of STEMM fields, rules refer to how to do science, roles refer to science identity and how to be a scientist, and values refer to the internalization of the scientific value system. TIMSI has served as a framework for understanding how individuals become integrated into and identified with the scientific community ( Estrada et al., 2011 , 2018 ; Hernandez, 2018 ). The assumption is that students' intention to continue to pursue a scientific career is predicated on becoming part of the scientific community in the future. This model illustrates the importance of how students' professional identity—in this context, their science identity—and their endorsement of scientific community values predict their intentions to persist in STEMM career pathways.

Examining mentorship through a TIMSI lens suggests that faculty mentors socialize students into science careers and culture by providing an example of the attitudes, norms, and behaviors required to achieve success similar to that of the mentor. Empirical findings from a sample of underrepresented (UR) undergraduate and graduate students in STEM revealed that science identity and internalization of community values were significantly predictive of students' persistence ( Estrada et al., 2011 ). 12 Another study found that the influence of mentorship on UR students' postbaccalaureate persistence in STEM pathways was mediated by science identity ( Estrada et al., 2018 ). The TIMSI lens helps elucidate the role of mentorship in facilitating UR mentees' integration not just into STEMM careers but into STEMM culture. For example, UR graduate students in STEM may have acquired the skills and knowledge to successfully perform in their chosen fields and even internalized the community values of their disciplines, but they may experience different social interactions with their mentors and peers that result in different socialization into the field. This is especially challenging given numerous studies chronicling the suboptimal mentorship experiences UR students have at predominantly White institutions, 13 sometimes characterized by racial microaggressions and overt discrimination from both faculty mentors and peers, 14 as well as a lack of institutional support, leaving some students doubting their STEMM abilities and wondering, “Is STEMM for me?” ( Alexander and Hermann, 2016 ; Johnson et al., 2011 ; Ong et al., 2011 ).

Social Exchange Theory

Social exchange theory ( Blau, 1964 ) holds that people are self-interested actors who engage in relationships to reach their goals and objectives by accruing valued resources or benefits in exchange for providing something of value to the other participants in the relationship. This type of interaction generates obligations ( Emerson, 1976 ). Since every relationship incurs benefits and some tangible or intangible cost, individuals will make choices about their relationships based on how they weigh the perceived costs and benefits. In addition to its use in analyzing mentees' experiences, social exchange theory provides a framework for understanding the costs and negative experiences that mentors may encounter from mentorship, including psychosocial costs such as burnout, anger, grief, and loss, and career costs such as decreased productivity, diminished reputation, and risk of ethical transgressions ( Eby et al., 2013 ; Lunsford et al., 2013 ). If the costs outweigh the benefits, individuals will likely reduce how often they participate in a relationship—in this case, mentorship.

Social exchange theory provides a means for understanding the potential benefits and costs of mentorship for both mentors and mentees, thereby enabling institutions to create structures and put policies in place to maximize the benefits and minimize or mitigate the costs. Social exchange theory emphasizes that the interdependent transactions between the participants in a relationship have the potential to generate high-quality relationships when the benefits of the exchange are greater than perceived costs ( Cropanzano and Mitchell, 2005 ). Beyond commonly noted benefits of mentorship for mentees, such as career advancement, skills development, and academic benefits (e.g., grades, degree attainment, obtaining fellowships), social exchange theory also holds that mentors learn and obtain a variety of benefits from their mentoring relationships, such as improved productivity and professional reputation ( Griffin, 2012 ). Applying this theory to mentorship draws attention to considering how mentees and mentors in mentoring relationships appraise the value—the relative benefit to cost—of their relationships. Having structures and policies that minimize or mitigate costs and increase the potential for positive interactions can enhance the possibility of beneficial outcomes for mentors, increasing the probability of mentors experiencing the rewards of being a good mentor.

Social Capital Theory

Social capital theory addresses the social reproduction of inequality, or how those who have power take advantage of their social networks and connections to retain power from one generation to the next ( Bourdieu, 1977 , 1986 ). Social capital comprises the knowledge, information, and resources an individual gets from social structures such as the social networks that determine who has access to key resources and information ( Thompson et al., 2016 ). Social capital exists in the relationships among people (i.e., mentors and mentees), in their exchange of information, and in the changes in the relationships among persons that facilitate action ( Aikens et al., 2016 ; Coleman, 1988 ). Social capital theory provides a framework that builds on assets and experiences rather than deficits, though much of social capital suggests that individuals who are outside of key networks are not positioned to attain information vital for success. The main components of social capital are as follows:

Trustworthiness, expectations, and obligations . For example, when a mentor does something for the mentee and trusts the mentee to take a certain action, it creates an expectation in the mentor and an obligation for the mentee.

Information channels , or who an individual can access to gain knowledge. Information is important because it provides a reason for action. For example, a faculty mentor might make a mentee aware of scholarship opportunities for which the student might apply.

Norms and effective sanctions . An individual can internalize some norms, though external rewards can support other norms, such as selfless behaviors, and undermine others, such as selfish actions. Norms and effective sanctions can both facilitate certain actions and constrain others. For example, scholars find that good mentors often set expectations about the importance of informal exchanges or supportive lab environments ( Nakamura and Shernoff, 2009 ).

Funds of knowledge , which are the assets and experiences an individual brings to a relationship ( Hogg, 2011–2012 ). For example, first-generation students may find it disrespectful to question their elders, while students who had parents who attended college know to challenge answers that do not make sense to them.

Social capital is defined by its function ( Coleman, 1988 ), with the result that social capital theory prompts an examination of the ways in which mentors and mentees access information and resources in their mentoring relationships. A social capital framework can help examine how mentors transfer information channels (e.g., skill sets, resources) to their mentees about securing federal funding in the form of fellowships or grants and whether those information channels flow similarly across different mentees. For example, a high-performing, highly qualified doctoral student in STEM with multiple publications can be challenged when looking for a job because of a lack of social capital to activate personal connections and advocacy that could increase the student's visibility and attractiveness to potential employers. Social capital theory can also provide insights into the extent mentees are evaluated differentially in STEMM by mentors based on established norms and how those norms advantage some mentees and disadvantage others.

An investigation into how social capital is accessed through academic mentorship revealed that race, gender, and power dynamics influenced closeness in mentoring relationships, which in turn was associated with social capital creation ( Smith, 2007 ). The author of this study concluded that a significant issue in mentorship programs is the lack of institutional accountability to ensure students from UR backgrounds in particular can build and sustain social capital needed for academic and career success. Social capital theory suggests that mentors should help mentees learn the values of their professions and fields of study. This theory also supports the idea that mentors should help their mentees maintain personal and professional integrity and navigate cultural and political systems ( Csikszentmihalyi, 2009 ; Pfund et al., 2016 ; Zambrana et al., 2015 ). Mentors may benefit from being seen as having the skills to bring others along, often expected in academia, or by attracting additional excellent students to their labs through word of mouth. The theory also begs consideration of how social networks in mentorship operate to create knowledge and information, and suggests that mentors can learn new perspectives and approaches to mentorship and gain insights regarding scientific norms from mentees.

Social Network Theory

Social network theory (SNT) addresses the role that social relationships play in transmitting information, channeling personal or media influence, and empowering attitudinal or behavioral change ( Dunn, 1983 ). The main premise underlying SNT is that social structure influences the patterns of interactions and relationships among individuals in a social group, thereby playing an important role in determining human behavior ( Whitehead, 1997 ). SNT includes four primary assertions:

Individuals have different social experiences.

The indirect connections individuals have matter.

Individuals have different levels of importance in a given social network.

Social network connections in one context can influence social dynamics in other contexts.

SNT holds that upward mobility and the ability to mobilize resources and adapt to social situations are more common among individuals with large and diverse social networks than among those whose social networks are small and undiversified ( Packard, 2003b ; Santos and Reigadas, 2004 ; Zippay, 1995 ). Similarly, having acquaintances with ties to different social environments is likely to make it easier for an individual to access resources that are not in that individual's existing social networks.

SNT holds mentorship to be a system of interacting components in which the relationships in that system can represent a range of social behaviors—cooperative, competitive, hostile, or aggressive, for example—and where individuals in those systems vary in their degree of relatedness. Viewing mentorship through the lens of SNT can illustrate who in a given mentorship social network is connected to whom, by what relationship, and to what end. Consequently, the behavioral strategies used by individuals in a given mentorship system, that is, the social structure, will depend on how they are connected, to what degree they are connected, and for what purpose. The frequency of contact, shared attributes between mentors and mentees, and perceived emotional quality of the mentoring relationship have been found to positively associate with mentees' self-efficacy beliefs, academic success, and a positive sense of identity ( Haeger and Fresquez, 2016 ; Santos and Reigadas, 2004 ). Questions to ask when applying SNT to understanding effective mentoring relationships might include the following ( Flaherty et al., 2012 ):

  • Who is connected within the mentorship and tied to other professional networks, either directly or indirectly?
  • What flows across the network ties (e.g., tacit information, affective/psychosocial information, resource information)?
  • What ties or connection patterns are most effective in developing the mentee in the social network? How can mentors help mentees build and expand their networks?

According to an SNT framework for mentorship, mentees should build developmental networks from multiple, simultaneous relationships that provide valuable developmental assistance and advice ( Higgins and Kram, 2001 ). Developmental relationships are either strong or weak depending on the degree of personal closeness, mutual exchange, and frequency of communication. Strong ties are used frequently and require regular management to stay healthy. With a greater degree of connection comes an increased capacity to trust and to convey complex information. Weak ties in a developmental network, such as those between members of the same academic department, are called upon infrequently, yet they can become conduits to necessary resources that are unavailable through strong ties and bridge gaps in a developmental network.

The Integration of Theoretical Models in Mentorship

Because theories operate with different foci and aims and at different levels, multiple theories may be needed to guide scholarship or the development of a program or intervention. A single theoretical model would fall short of adequately integrating the different theoretical, as well as the underlying philosophical, assumptions of models derived through qualitatively and quantitatively oriented work.

Mentorship research has been informed by myriad theoretical frameworks, including the six that are discussed here. There is no single theoretical framework that integrates all relevant variables (e.g., antecedents, processes, correlates, outcomes), and studies of mentorship have, based on different aims and objectives, utilized several theoretical models. Much of the mentorship intervention or education literature is not as strongly guided by theory, nor does it explicitly test theory. Instead, it is often driven by practical considerations. 15 Table 2-2 provides a collation of theoretical components from the six theories that captures individual-, social-, and institution-level factors that empirical data show affect mentorship processes and outcomes and may be useful as a resource to guide further inquiry. In each of the remaining chapters, a box highlights how theory may inform the concepts that are discussed. However, the theories that are discussed in this chapter and referenced throughout this report are not meant to be exhaustive or definitive, but rather are intended to spark further investigation, identification of other relevant theoretical frameworks, and continued generation of theory-driven studies of mentorship.

For this report, science refers to “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of structures and behaviors through observation, experiment, and theory.” This definition was adapted from https://www ​.realclearscience ​.com/blog/2012 ​/11/we-talk-about-science-a-lot-but-what-is-it.html ; accessed August 16, 2019.

A great deal of conceptual and empirical work on mentorship applicable to STEMM fields has been reported in the industrial and organizational psychology literature.

Coaching refers to activities that are most often focused on addressing specific issues for achieving career aspirations or imparting specific competencies in the near term, such as how to write a scientific paper.

Researchers investigating the working alliance construct in the context of mentorship and advising of graduate students in applied psychology have found positive correlations between the strength of working alliance and students' attitudes toward and self-efficacy for doing research ( Schlosser and Gelso, 2001 , 2005 ). Findings from another empirical study revealed that the working alliance moderated the impact of mentoring relationships on mentee outcomes for college students ( Larose et al., 2010 ).

Identity refers to the composite of who a person is, the way one thinks about oneself, the way one is viewed by the world, and the characteristics that one uses to define oneself, such as gender identification, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, nationality, and even one's profession.

Mentorship behaviors are discussed in more detail in Chapter 5 .

The roles of diversity, equity, and identity in mentorship are explored more fully in Chapter 3 .

Power differential refers to the “perceived difference between mentor and mentee with regard to status, authority, and self-efficacy. High power-differentials limit the ways in which mentor and mentee regard one another, resulting in decreased mentee empowerment, creativity, and initiative” ( Starr-Glass, 2014 ). Stereotype threat refers to a “socially premised psychological threat that arises when one is in a situation or doing something for which a negative stereotype about one's group applies.” According to stereotype threat theory, members of a marginalized group experience negative stereotyping of their group, and they demonstrate apprehension about confirming the negative stereotype by engaging in particular behaviors or thoughts that can compromise their performance in a given domain ( Steele and Aronson, 1995 ).

Interpersonal factors may include a mentor's attachment to the mentoring relationship and the mentor being oriented to the outcomes of the mentee. Deep-level similarities include shared attitudes, goals, interests, values, and even perceived similarity in problem-solving style ( Eby et al., 2013 ; Ortiz-Walters and Gilson, 2005 ).

Effective mentorship behaviors and education to facilitate both mentors and mentees enacting them are reviewed in detail in Chapter 5 .

Communities of practice refers to “groups of people who share a concern or passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” ( Lave and Wenger, 1991 ).

This report refers to UR groups as including women of all racial/ethnic groups and individuals specifically identifying as Black, Latinx, and American Indian/Alaska Native. Where possible, the report specifies if the UR groups to which the text refers are Black, Latinx, or of American Indian/Alaska Native heritage.

For example, see Packard, 2016 .

Microaggressions refer to “the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. In many cases, these hidden messages may invalidate the group identity or experiential reality of target persons, demean them on a personal or group level, communicate they are lesser human beings, suggest they do not belong with the majority group, threaten and intimidate, or relegate them to inferior status and treatment” ( Sue, 2010 ).

There are exceptions, namely intervention and education work examined in Chapter 5 (e.g., Pfund et al., 2006 ).

  • Cite this Page National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Policy and Global Affairs; Board on Higher Education and Workforce; Committee on Effective Mentoring in STEMM; Dahlberg ML, Byars-Winston A, editors. The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2019 Oct 30. 2, The Science of Mentoring Relationships: What Is Mentorship?
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How to Build a Great Relationship with a Mentor

  • Mark Horoszowski

essay on effective mentoring

Eight easy steps.

While 76% of working professionals believe that a mentor is important to growth, more than 54% do not have such a relationship. If you’re one of these people, there are a few things you can do to find a mentor and build a strong relationship: define your goals and specific needs; write a “job description” for your ideal mentor; search for mentors through your second-degree network; make the ask (and keep it simple); have a first meeting; create a mentorship agreement; and follow up to say thank you over the long term.

The research on the power of mentorship is pretty clear: People with mentors perform better, advance in their careers faster, and even experience more work-life satisfaction. And mentors benefit , too. After all, “to teach is to learn twice.” Despite all these benefits, and even though 76% of working professionals believe that a mentor is important to growth, more than 54% do not have such a relationship.

  • Mark Horoszowski is the cofounder and CEO of He also serves as a volunteer with the American Cancer Society, cochairing its National Volunteer Leadership Advisory Team.

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The Concept of Mentoring Essay

What is mentoring.

A personal development that involves a mentor and mentee is called mentoring. Mentoring is the process of correlating an individual’s personal skills with empowerment tools. Mentoring principles include synergy, relationship, and uniqueness. Synergy describes the combination of two variables to produce a greater effect. Mentoring synergy creates a learning environment. Thus, the mentee will develop learning skills. Relationship principle creates partnership between the mentor and mentee. The relationship principle describes the coaching process and pattern. The uniqueness principle creates a channel for productive learning. The mentoring process is guided by synergy, uniqueness, and relationship. Thus, mentoring can be summarized as a powerful partnership process that creates a learning environment for the mentee.

What is a mentor?

A mentor is a guide who builds an individual’s personal learning skills. The responsibilities of a mentor include training, inspiring, and teaching. Other responsibilities of a mentor include availability, support, guide, patient, and respect. A mentor acts as a guide, teacher, counsellor, motivator, coach, advisor, referral agent, and a role model. The roles of a mentor create a positive learning process for the mentee. A successful mentor makes the mentee independent after the mentoring process. A mentor must have appreciative inquiry, listening skills, empathy, respect, warmth, focus, self-disclosure, observation skills and a good storyteller. Appreciative inquiry describes the personal character of the mentor. An effective mentor must listen as a child and act with precision. Thus, a mentor creates learning strategies that develop the mentee.

What is a mentee?

A mentor provides assistance using suitable experience. An experienced mentor shortens the learning process of the mentee. The ability to guide a mentee depends on the learning strategy (Johnson & Huwe 2003). Thus, a mentor determines the strategies of the mentoring process. A mentor creates a mutual bond with the mentee. The mentor builds the communication chain with the mentee. A successful mentoring process can be achieved with a positive relationship. A mentor identifies the mentee’s weakness using corrective strategies. Thus, the responsibility of a mentor describes the objective of the mentoring program.

A mentee is the person who receives training, coaching, and experience from a mentor.

The relationship between mentor and mentee

A mentee’s desire to learn is backed up with the willingness and ability to absorb the mentoring process. The progress of the mentoring process depends on the role played by the mentee. The responsibilities of the mentee include positive attitude, willingness to learn, patience, good listener, punctual, respect, proactive, trust and charisma. The mentee usually organizes the mentoring process. Thus, a proactive mentee will guarantee the smooth operations of the mentoring process. Trust is a principle in the mentoring process. A successful mentoring process is built on confidentiality. The skills required by the mentee includes listening ability, creating scenarios, responsibility, reflection, commitment, fellowship, initiatives, connection, communication and learning skills.

Who can participate in the mentoring program?

The participants include the mentor and mentee. The mentor is a guide, teacher, coach, motivator, trainer, and a role model. The mentee is an individual willing to learn from an experienced teacher. Thus, an eligible participant must be willing to teach or learn during the mentoring program.

A mentee must be ready to receive advice and instructions. A mentee must respect and acknowledge the experience of the mentor. The driving force in a mentoring process is a willingness to learn. Thus, a mentee determines the success of the mentoring process. The roles of a mentee can be summarized in four phases. Phase 1 describes the initiation process. The mentee understands the reason for the mentoring process. Phase 2 describes the learning outcomes of the learning process. The mentee creates his or learning need. Communication expectations are development phase two. Phase 3 describes the working relationship between the mentor and mentee.

Am I obligated to accept a match?

No one is obligated to accept a match in a mentoring program. The match determinants include similarity, compatibility, mutuality, and proximity. Thus, the match determinants evaluate the participants.

The fourth phase describes the overall mentoring process. The mentee updates the mentor with the learning outcomes.

The relationship between the mentor and the mentee defines the mentoring process. Thus, we can be summarized the keys for an effective mentoring process into four categories.

  • Trust: An effective mentoring process is determined by the communication pattern.
  • Responsibility: The role of the mentor must be identified. The role of the mentee in the mentoring program must be identified. The mentor must list the order of events during the learning process.
  • Create long and short-term plan: The learning process must be defined by short and long-term goals. For example, the weakness of the mentee will be treated as a short-term goal while the overall mentoring objectives will be a long-term plan.
  • Collaborate: The collaborative effort of the mentor and mentee defines the success of the program. For example, the mentor and mentee must collaborate to solve, plan, and discuss the mentoring process. Other tips for a successful mentor and mentee relationship includes open communication, support, expectations, contact, honesty, participation, innovation, creativity, reliable and consistent.

What happens during a mentor-mentee meeting?

During a mentor-mentee meeting, the mentor creates counsel schedules and objectives.

Other activities of the mentor during the meeting include storytelling, discuss, counselling sessions and mentee’s growth. The activities of the mentee include creating agendas, organise the meeting, and summarize the mentoring goals.

How do you match mentors with the mentee?

The matching process should be guided by six considerations.

  • Guardian/parental approval.
  • Common interest.
  • Expectations of the participant.
  • Family backgrounds of the participants.
  • Life expectations and preferences of the participants.
  • Strength and weakness of the participants.

How often do the mentor and mentee meet?

The participants will determine the meeting schedule. However, the mentor and mentee must meet within the first three weeks of the program.

Additional follow-up will be required within the next three months. The meeting sessions may continue for a year, depending on the mentoring agreement.

What is the job description of operation manager?

The operations manager aligns the goals of the organisation with the available resources (Slack, Johnston & Chambers 2007). Thus, operation managers must understand the firm’s objectives, create an operational strategy, design the operational process, and improve the performance of the organisation.

What is the job description of the Training Evaluation Manager?

A training evaluation manager creates, develops, execute, and evaluate operation strategies (Filstad 2004). The personal requirements of an evaluation manager include initiative, maturity, learning, and research knowledge, communication, and organizational skills. The training and evaluation manager conducts research survey and analyses. The manager develops training modules based on the organizational strategy. An effective evaluation strategy is determined by a proper training session. The evaluation manager provides training materials for new employees.

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IvyPanda. (2024, March 13). The Concept of Mentoring.

"The Concept of Mentoring." IvyPanda , 13 Mar. 2024,

IvyPanda . (2024) 'The Concept of Mentoring'. 13 March.

IvyPanda . 2024. "The Concept of Mentoring." March 13, 2024.

1. IvyPanda . "The Concept of Mentoring." March 13, 2024.


IvyPanda . "The Concept of Mentoring." March 13, 2024.

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  • Published: 08 July 2022

The role of mentoring, supervision, coaching, teaching and instruction on professional identity formation: a systematic scoping review

  • Rachelle Qi En Toh 1 , 2 ,
  • Kai Kee Koh 1 , 2 ,
  • Jun Kiat Lua 1 , 2 ,
  • Ruth Si Man Wong 1 , 2 ,
  • Elaine Li Ying Quah 1 , 2 ,
  • Aiswarya Panda 1 , 2 ,
  • Chong Yao Ho 1 , 2 ,
  • Nicole-Ann Lim 1 , 2 ,
  • Yun Ting Ong 1 , 2 ,
  • Keith Zi Yuan Chua 1 , 2 ,
  • Victoria Wen Wei Ng 1 , 2 ,
  • Sabine Lauren Chyi Hui Wong 1 , 2 ,
  • Luke Yu Xuan Yeo 1 , 2 ,
  • Sin Yee See 1 , 2 ,
  • Jolene Jing Yin Teo 1 , 2 ,
  • Yaazhini Renganathan 1 , 2 ,
  • Annelissa Mien Chew Chin 3 &
  • Lalit Kumar Radha Krishna 1 , 2 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8  

BMC Medical Education volume  22 , Article number:  531 ( 2022 ) Cite this article

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Mentoring’s pivotal role in nurturing professional identity formation (PIF) owes much to its combined use with supervision, coaching, tutoring, instruction, and teaching. However the effects of this combination called the ‘mentoring umbrella’ remains poorly understood. This systematic scoping review thus aims to map current understanding.

A Systematic Evidence-Based Approach guided systematic scoping review seeks to map current understanding of the ‘mentoring umbrella’ and its effects on PIF on medical students and physicians in training. It is hoped that insights provided will guide structuring, support and oversight of the ‘mentoring umbrella’ in nurturing PIF. Articles published between 2000 and 2021 in PubMed, Scopus, ERIC and the Cochrane databases were scrutinised. The included articles were concurrently summarised and tabulated and concurrently analysed using content and thematic analysis and tabulated. The themes and categories identified were compared with the summaries of the included articles to create accountable and reproducible domains that guide the discussion.

A total of 12201 abstracts were reviewed, 657 full text articles evaluated, and 207 articles included. The three domains identified were definitions; impact on PIF; and enablers and barriers. The mentoring umbrella shapes PIF in 3 stages and builds a cognitive base of essential knowledge, skills and professional attitudes. The cognitive base informs thinking, conduct and opinions in early supervised clinical exposure in Communities of practice (COP). The COPs’ individualised approach to the inculcation of desired professional characteristics, goals, values, principles and beliefs reshapes the individual’s identity whilst the socialisation process sees to their integration into current identities.

The mentoring umbrella’s provides personalised longitudinal support in the COP and socialisation process. Understanding it is key to addressing difficulties faced and ensuring holistic and timely support.

Peer Review reports


Mentoring plays a critical role in nurturing professional identity formation (henceforth PIF) or helping medical students and physicians (henceforth physicians in training) “think, act and feel like physicians” [ 1 ]. This role is premised on the notion that mentoring’s personalised, longitudinal and holistic support helps physicians in training integrate the relevant professional values, beliefs, expectations, standards, codes of conduct, culture and principles of the medical profession into their individual identities [ 2 ]. However, efforts to understand mentoring’s precise role in PIF has been limited by the presence of a variety of different forms of mentoring [ 3 , 4 , 5 ] and its conflation with distinct practices such as role modelling, supervision, coaching, tutoring, teaching and instruction [ 6 ]. Two new developments promise to change this impasse and offer new insights into mentoring’s role in PIF.

The first is evidence that role modelling, supervision, coaching, tutoring, teaching and instruction take on characteristics that liken them to mentoring when applied in a longitudinal manner to enduring and personalised educational relationships [ 7 ]. Krishna et al. (2019) suggest overlaps with traditionally understood concepts of mentoring, allowing these approaches to be considered part of a larger concept called the ‘mentoring umbrella’.

The second is the notion that professional identity is part of a larger concept of identity and that self-concepts of identity are intimately related and informed by self-concepts of personhood or “what makes you, you” [ 8 ]. As such, the influence of effective mentoring on the PIF of physicians in training may be understood through the lens of personhood. This is especially useful amidst evidence that evaluations of self-concepts of personhood did allow for better appreciation of changing notions of identity particularly when current tools fail to effectively evaluate such evolving concepts.

Ring theory of personhood

Radha Krishna and Alsuwaigh [ 9 ]’s Ring Theory of Personhood (RToP) is a clinically evidenced tool that maps changing concepts of personhood and captures evolving notions of identity. The RToP suggests that personhood is comprised of the Innate, Individual, Relational and Societal Rings (Fig.  1 ) [ 10 , 11 , 12 ]. With each ring encapsulating the values, beliefs, and principles of the particular aspect of the clinician’s identity, each ring also represents the corresponding aspects of identity (Fig.  1 ) [ 12 , 13 ].

figure 1

The Ring Theory of Personhood (RToP)

It is suggested that better understanding of these values, beliefs, and principles will reveal how a physician in training’s views their roles, responsibilities, and place within a team, family unit, professional community, and society and provide insights into the physician in training’s thinking, conduct and coping in the face of different situational, environmental, and/or relational influences [ 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 ].

At the core of the Ring Theory is the Innate Ring that houses the individual’s spiritual, religious and/or theist beliefs, values, moral ideals, and ethical principles. These are shaped by the individual’s demographical and historical features such as the ethnicity, culture, religion, family unit, gender, society, country, and social group they were born into. These considerations influence the individual’s Innate Identity and their thinking, goals, motivations, and actions.

The Individual Ring represents conscious function which includes the ability to think, feel, communicate, carry out actions, and interact with the environment. The Individual Ring houses the individual’s values, beliefs, principles, biases, preferences, thoughts, emotions, experiences, decision making and personality which shape Individual Identity.

The Individual Ring also acts to balance the thinking, goals, motivations, and actions drawn from the Innate, Relational and Societal Identities.

The Relational Ring consists of personal relationships deemed to be important to the individual, and the values and beliefs that stem from and inform these relationships. The Societal Ring contains societal, religious, professional, and legal expectations set out in the individual’s society to guide and police conduct. One’s professional identity resides here.

These identities may come into conflict when professional involvement in cases such as those involving palliative sedation, withdrawal or withholding of treatment, termination of pregnancy or familial determination arise.

Structured ‘mentoring umbrella’ approach

A structured ‘mentoring umbrella’ approach replete with a combination of mentoring, supervision, coaching, tutoring, teaching and instruction may be key to structuring and guiding this professional identity formation process. Indeed, Krishna et al. (2018) suggest that the most significant role of this holistic approach is its ability to support students, residents and junior doctors during periods of negotiation where new experiences and obstacles are either accepted, adapted to fit their particular circumstances or needs (compromised) or rejected [ 23 ]. Kuek, Ngiam [ 24 ], Ho, Kow [ 11 ], Ngiam, Ong [ 25 ], Chan, Chia [ 10 ] and Huang, Toh [ 13 ] suggest that ‘conflict’ sees the beliefs, values and principles housed in each of the four rings in ‘tension’ with professional norms and responsibilities introduced to each ring. If the ‘tension’ persists, dyssynchrony or identity dissonance arises [ 24 ]. This may increase the risk of burnout and a loss of interest in the profession [ 26 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 ]. Effectively supporting the processing and resolution of dyssynchrony will attenuate these risks.

With Sarraf-Yazdi et al. (2021) suggesting that mentoring helps each of the four identities adapt to the inculcation of these new professional values and responsibilities, evaluating elements of the ‘mentoring umbrella’ more closely may clarify its role within any proposed PIF focused training program.

A Systematic Evidence-Based Approach guided systematic scoping review (henceforth SSR in SEBA) is used to map what is known about the effects of mentoring, supervision, coaching, tutoring, teaching and instruction upon PIF [ 33 , 34 , 35 , 36 ]. Given its broader scope, we aim to study role modelling’s impact on PIF in a separate review.

This SSR in SEBA is overseen by an expert team comprised of medical librarians from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (YLLSoM) and the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), and local educational experts and clinicians at NCCS, the Palliative Care Institute Liverpool, YLLSoM and Duke-NUS Medical School who guide, oversee and support all stages of SEBA to enhance the reproducibility and accountability of the process [ 37 , 38 , 39 , 40 , 41 , 42 , 43 , 44 , 45 , 46 , 47 , 48 , 49 ] (Fig. 2 ).

figure 2

The SEBA Process

Stage 1 of SEBA: systematic approach

Determining the title.

The research and expert teams set out the overarching goals, study population, context and remediation programs to be evaluated.

Inclusion criteria

The PICOS format was used to guide the inclusion criteria Table 1 .

Identifying the research question

To identify the research question, the expert and research teams were guided by the Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome and Study Design (PICOS) elements of the inclusion criteria [ 50 , 51 ]. The primary research question was identified as follows: “ What is known about the effect of mentoring, supervision, coaching, tutoring, teaching and instruction on professional identity formation amongst medical students, residents and junior doctors? ”

In keeping with Pham, Rajić [ 52 ]’s recommendations on ensuring a viable and sustainable research process, the research team confined the searches to articles published between 1 st January 2000 to 31 st December 2020 to account for prevailing manpower and time constraints. Additional ‘snowballing’ of references of the included articles ensured a more comprehensive review of the articles [ 53 ].

Extracting and charting

Using an abstract screening tool, the research team independently reviewed abstracts to be included and employed ‘negotiated consensual validation’ to achieve consensus on the final list of articles to be included [ 54 ].

Stage 2 of SEBA: split approach

The split approach [ 55 ] sees concurrent analysis of the included articles by three independent teams. The first team summarised and tabulated the articles in keeping with recommendations drawn from RAMESES publication standards by Wong, Greenhalgh [ 56 ] and “ Guidance on the conduct of narrative synthesis in systematic reviews ” by Popay, Roberts [ 57 ]. The second team used the approach to thematic analysis by Braun and Clarke [ 58 ] to find meaning and patterns in the data whilst the third team employed the approach to directed content analysis by Hsieh and Shannon [ 59 ] to “ identifying and operationalizing a priori coding categories ” from “The Development of Professional Identity” by Cruess and Cruess [ 2 ] . ‘Negotiated consensual validation’ was used as a means of peer debrief in all three teams to further enhance the validity of the findings [ 60 ].

Stage 3 of SEBA: jigsaw perspective

The Jigsaw Perspective employs Phases 4 to 6 of France et al. [ 61 ]’s adaptation of Noblit et al. [ 62 ]’s seven phases of meta- ethnographic approach to view the themes and categories as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle where overlapping/complementary pieces are combined to create a bigger piece of the puzzle referred to as themes/categories. This process would see themes and subthemes compared with the categories and subcategories identified. These similarities were verified by comparing the codes contained within them. If they are complementary in nature, then the subtheme and subcategory are combined to create a bigger piece of the jigsaw puzzle Table 2 .

Stage 4 of SEBA: Funnelling

Themes/categories were compared with the tabulated summaries (Additional file 1 : Appendix A). The funnelled domains created from this process forms the basis of the discussion’s ‘line of argument’.

A total of 12201 abstracts were reviewed, 657 full text articles evaluated, and 207 articles included and coded. A total of 176 of the 207 articles were data-driven while 31 articles were opinion driven (commentaries, editorials, letters, perspectives, reflections) (Fig.  3 ). Of the data driven articles, 55 were quantitative studies, 75 were qualitative studies, 33 were mixed studies, and 13 were literature and systematic reviews.

figure 3

PRISMA flow chart

There were 163 articles on mentoring, 26 articles on supervision, 18 articles on coaching, 46 articles on teaching and 8 articles on instruction. There were a few articles that covered a variety of forms of mentoring.

Themes and categories identified

Scrutiny of the themes and categories from thematic and content analysis were consistent with one another. To avoid repetition, we discuss the themes identified using both approaches in tandem. The funnelled domains identified were:

A definition for each of the elements of the mentoring umbrella

How each element within the mentoring environment impacts PIF

Enablers and barriers to mentoring, supervision, coaching, teaching and instruction’s effects on PIF.

Defining mentoring, supervision, coaching, teaching and instruction. From the included articles it is possible to delineate an understanding of mentoring supervision, coaching, teaching and instruction . These are summarised in Table 3 .

Impact of mentoring, supervision, coaching, teaching and instruction impact PIF

To effectively evaluate the impact of the elements of the mentoring umbrella on PIF, we discuss each of them in turn through the lens of the RtoP.

Mentoring supports minority groups with guidance and networking opportunities [ 74 , 75 , 76 ] and helps female mentees balance their career demands and family responsibilities [ 77 , 78 , 79 , 80 , 81 ], underlying its role in the Innate Ring.

In the Individual Ring mentoring helps support the mentee’s career, personal, research and academic goals, beliefs, values, and motivations by boosting confidence [ 80 , 82 , 83 , 84 , 85 , 86 , 87 , 88 , 89 ], discipline [ 89 ] resilience [ 90 , 91 ], and self-efficacy of the mentee [ 86 ]. Mentoring also supports reflective practice [ 74 , 87 , 92 , 93 ] which increases career satisfaction [ 94 ], and boosts work-life balance [ 95 , 96 , 97 , 98 ], and reduces burnout and disillusionment [ 99 ].

Within the Relational Ring mentoring is credited with enhancing parenting skills [ 100 ], and improving relationships with family members [ 93 , 98 ]. In the Societal Ring, mentoring improves networking [ 101 ], sponsorship [ 102 ], interprofessional practice [ 98 ] and patient interactions [ 103 ].

  • Supervision

Supervision’s effect on the Individual Ring includes increasing interest in a particular field [ 104 , 105 , 106 , 107 ], influencing career decisions [ 104 , 105 , 107 , 108 ], boosting personal development/growth [ 71 , 106 , 109 , 110 , 111 , 112 ] and personal skills [ 110 ] and improves career satisfaction [ 110 , 113 ]. In the Societal Ring, supervision enhances academic [ 3 , 110 , 114 , 115 , 116 , 117 ], research [ 104 , 110 ], decision making skills [ 109 ] and clinical [ 71 , 73 , 107 , 109 , 114 , 116 , 117 , 118 , 119 , 120 , 121 , 122 ] competencies and supports socialisation of a professional identity [ 115 , 118 , 123 , 124 ].

In the Individual Ring, teaching improves interest in a particular field [ 104 , 105 , 106 , 125 , 126 , 127 ], influences career decisions [ 104 , 105 ], nurtures personal development/growth [ 106 , 110 , 128 , 129 , 130 , 131 , 132 , 133 , 134 , 135 , 136 , 137 , 138 , 139 ] and boosts career satisfaction [ 110 , 139 , 140 ]. In the Societal Ring, teaching increases academic [ 74 , 110 , 127 , 132 , 135 , 141 ] clinical [ 118 , 119 , 128 , 129 , 131 , 132 , 133 , 134 , 135 , 138 , 141 , 142 , 143 , 144 , 145 , 146 , 147 , 148 , 149 , 150 , 151 , 152 , 153 ] and research [ 104 , 110 , 126 , 154 , 155 , 156 ] competencies [ 110 , 118 , 119 , 130 , 136 , 137 , 139 , 143 , 149 , 155 , 157 , 158 ].

Within the Societal Ring, teaching advances networking [ 74 , 141 ], career goals [ 110 , 126 , 151 ] and research outputs [ 104 , 110 , 126 , 151 ], improves interprofessional working [ 104 , 118 , 135 , 141 , 149 ], patient interactions [ 118 , 128 , 131 , 133 , 134 , 135 , 138 , 141 , 142 , 146 , 147 , 149 , 157 , 159 ], social identity and a sense of community [ 141 ].

In the Individual Ring, coaching influences career decisions [ 104 ], boosts personal development/growth [ 65 , 66 , 68 , 69 , 110 , 139 , 160 , 161 , 162 ] and career satisfaction [ 66 , 110 ].

In addition, coaching improves academic [ 65 , 68 , 69 , 110 , 117 , 162 , 163 ] clinical [ 65 , 117 , 160 , 164 , 165 , 166 ] and research [ 104 , 110 ] competencies [ 3 , 110 , 139 , 160 , 164 , 165 ] in the Societal Ring.

  • Instruction

In the Individual Ring, instruction improves skills [ 133 ] and time management [ 167 ] and in the Societal Ring it improves clinical competencies [ 133 , 147 , 149 , 157 , 167 , 168 ] and interactions with patients [ 133 , 147 , 149 , 157 ] and fellow professionals [ 149 , 167 ].

There are factors that enhance (enablers) and hinder (barriers) the impact of mentoring, supervision, coaching, teaching and instruction upon PIF. These may be divided into mentee, mentor and institutional factors.


Mentee related factors influencing the efficacy of the mentoring umbrella include being motivated, proactive, invested in the mentoring process and relationships, reflective, willingness to take feedback and make necessary adaptations and assign sufficient time to training [ 35 , 82 , 83 , 97 , 102 , 118 , 169 , 170 , 171 , 172 , 173 , 174 , 175 , 176 ].


Mentor related factors consider all the roles played under the aegis of the mentoring umbrella. These include being motivated and invested in mentoring, having the abilities, availabilities and experience required, possessing good listening and communication skills, a commitment to self-improvement and learning, being open to feedback and learning from the mentee, being able to provide holistic and longitudinal support and understanding and abiding by the expectations and standards of practice expected of a mentor [ 74 , 78 , 80 , 83 , 86 , 87 , 89 , 95 , 170 , 177 , 178 ].


The host organization plays a critical role in matching, training, supporting and structuring the training process. The implementation of protected time and formal recognition of participation in mentoring help maintain motivation.

The host organization also plays a part in establishing clear codes of conduct, roles and responsibilities and expectations of all stakeholders, structuring the mentoring process, providing it a formal place in the curriculum, assessing and overseeing the program [ 3 , 80 , 83 , 84 , 87 , 89 , 90 , 97 , 100 , 118 , 170 , 174 ]. This is especially important when considering the hidden and informal curriculum influence workplace culture; career choice; impact upon the mentoring environment [ 67 , 86 , 90 , 93 , 100 , 102 , 113 , 130 , 179 , 180 ]; and acknowledgment and personal and team investment in the efforts of the mentoring umbrella [ 71 , 77 , 82 , 118 , 130 , 181 ].

Stage 5 of SEBA: analysis of evidence-based and Non-data driven Literature

The themes drawn from evidenced-based publications were compared with those from non-data based articles (grey literature, opinion, perspectives, editorial, letters) found that the themes from both groups to be similar and non-data based articles did not bias the analysis untowardly.

Most of the included articles were data-driven (175 out of 207) whilst the remaining articles were non-data-based articles (grey literature, commentaries, opinion, perspectives, editorial, letters). Despite non-data-based articles forming a small minority of articles, we examined themes drawn from the non-data-driven publications and compared them with those from data-based articles (grey literature, opinion, perspectives, editorial, letters). This process revealed similarities between the two groups suggesting that non-data-based articles did not bias the analysis untowardly.

A majority of articles only stated the outcomes of the mentoring umbrella without addressing mechanisms via which they exert their influence [ 65 , 66 , 67 , 68 , 69 , 71 , 74 , 75 , 86 , 93 , 94 , 97 , 100 , 109 , 118 , 123 , 130 , 149 , 150 , 177 , 182 ]. Given how mechanism papers formed the minority, there were concerns that non-mechanism papers would bias the data. There were also no papers describing the mechanism via which instruction influences personhood. Regardless, most of the mechanisms described were consistent with each other as well as the data derived from non-mechanism papers.

Stage 6 of SEBA: synthesis of SSR in SEBA

In answering its primary question, this SSR in SEBA of the mentoring umbrella’s effects on PIF provides a number of insights into the mentoring umbrella’s influence on the stages of PIF development and the role of the host organization.

When applied longitudinally to an individualised learning relationship, across different settings involving one learner or a small group of learners with common goals, abilities and experiences, the mentoring umbrella provides an individualised perspective of development. This approach accounts for the physician-in-training’s and the instructor’s, teacher’s, coach’s, supervisor’s and tutor’s abilities, availabilities, attitudes, context, competencies, demographics, experiences, goals, motivations, and needs, in addition to building upon the physician in training’s successes, failures and reflections to enhance their longer term development. The overlapping elements within the mentoring umbrella provide synergistic support in addressing the influences of the physician-in-training’s societal, professional, clinical, academic, research, and personal considerations, the regnant sociocultural considerations, the influence of prevailing healthcare and educational system and the impact of the local hidden, informal and formal curriculum, upon PIF. This affirms the notion that the mentoring umbrella may be applied widely and in the stage based manner that allows them mentoring umbrella to shape PIF.

The mentoring umbrella’s influence on PIF

Stage one. building a personalised cognitive base.

The first stage of mentoring umbrella’s influence on PIF begins with the building of a ‘cognitive base’ of knowledge, skills, relevant expectations, roles, responsibilities around the physician-in-training’s goals, abilities, milestones, experience and setting. The cognitive base also inculcates regnant standards of professionalism and sociocultural considerations. Much of this personalisation in this stage falls upon tutoring, teaching and instruction.

Applied longitudinally, the mentoring umbrella also advance mutual understanding, trust and open communication, networking, interprofessional collaborations, research output, and enhances clinical and research competencies.

Stage Two. Codes of Practice (COP)s

Early exposure to clinical practice builds upon a personalised cognitive base and occurs in communities of practice. Barab et al. (2004) define CoPs as “ a persistent, sustaining social network of individuals who share and develop an overlapping knowledge base, set of beliefs, values, history and experiences focused on a common practice and/or enterprise ” [ 183 ]. Here the mentoring umbrella facilitates personalised clinical exposure, supports the application and appraisal of knowledge, skills and competencies, provides feedback and oversees remedial exercises. In remedial processes the coaching and supervision elements of the mentoring umbrella focus attention on competency gaps and boost confidence in the learner’s Individual and Societal Rings.

Stage Three. The socialisation process

Cruess et al. (2015) [ 184 ] describes the socialisation process as “ a representation of self, achieved in stages over time during which the characteristics, values, and norms of the medical profession are internalised, resulting in an individual thinking, acting and feeling like a physician” .

Whilst technically part of the COP, the precise mechanism in which the socialisation process helps the integration of new values, beliefs and principles are integrated into current identities remains unclear. However it does appear that within the socialisation process the mentoring umbrella provides physicians in training with personalised, responsive, appropriate and timely support as they confront ethical, cultural, philosophical, religious and social issues that conflict with their Innate, Individual, Relational and Societal values, beliefs and principles. Here, coaching’s ability to observe [ 65 , 67 ], listen deeply [ 65 ], keenly question (218), evaluate and identify gaps [ 68 ], explore solutions [ 65 , 66 , 69 ], provide specific and concrete feedback [ 67 , 68 ], support reflection [ 65 , 66 , 69 ], set goals [ 69 ], develop a comprehensive study plan [ 69 ] and hold the individual accountable [ 68 ] helps focus efforts on particular areas of identity inculcation, career readiness [ 185 ], remediation of professional identities and character education [ 186 ]. Critically, coaching and supervision provide this help whilst being sensitive to the learner’s wellbeing, and goals [ 66 ]. Instruction impacts identity development in Individual and Societal aspects of personhood. These combinations of approaches would be critical to the provision of affirmation, feedback, facilitated reflection, career guidance, holistic and longitudinal support, introduction of a variety of opportunities and resources, sharing networks and “stress inoculation” important to facilitating reflection, the provision of feedback [ 187 , 188 ]. Addressing dyssynchrony also highlights the role of the mentor in assessing and supporting the mentees. This continuous multipronged approach facilitates the nurturing of an enduring and personalised mentoring relationship.

The role of the host organization

This review also underscores the role of the host organisation [ 82 , 171 ] in structuring effective mentoring relationships [ 170 , 173 , 174 ]. Echoing recent reviews on mentoring, the host organisation plays a critical role in the selection and matching of motivated mentees and trained and experienced mentors who share complementary goals. The host organization plays a critical role in establishing a common code of conduct, oversight [ 189 ] and assessment [ 190 ] process, as well as a supportive and nurturing environment. The host organization must also provide longitudinal ‘protected time’, support and recognition of trained mentors over the course of a mentee’s developmental journey. A further aspect in a mentor’s armamentarium must be access to user-friendly and robust communication platforms that enable timely, personal and appropriate feedback. Such a platform will also aid gathering of input on the mentee’s situation, development, goals and needs.

Here, the various aspects of the mentoring umbrella encapsulate many of the primary influences upon PIF set out by Cruess and colleagues (2015, 2018, 2019) [ 2 , 23 , 184 ]. Pending further studies, it may yet be possible to suggest that purposeful, structured nurturing of PIF is a mentored process.


One of the main limitations of this study was its inability to differentiate residents and junior doctors in training from more senior doctors such as consultants, attendings, specialists and senior consultants who have completed their training and physicians who are not in training programs. This limited the number of articles included. In addition, difficulties separating these groups also made analysis of the data difficult given the different levels of experience, roles, responsibilities and needs amongst the included groups of physicians given the diversity of the training programs and different settings and educational and healthcare programs adopted.

Moreover, whilst this study was intended to analyse the wide range of current literature on mentoring and PIF programs, our review was limited by a lack of consistent reporting of current programs. Furthermore, most of the included papers were largely drawn from North American and European practices potentially limiting the applicability of these findings in other healthcare settings. This was compounded by our focus upon articles that were published in English.

Whilst taking into account the limited resources and availability of the research and experts teams and limiting the review to the specified dates to increase the chances of completing the review, this too could have seen important articles excluded.

This SSR in SEBA highlights the role of mentoring umbrella in nurturing PIF. Whilst the three stages built on posits by Cruess and colleagues remain to be evidenced, it does underline the need for longitudinal and holistic evaluation of the mentoring umbrella’s impact on PIF. Further understanding of the mentoring umbrella and its role in PIF also demands better appreciation of the need for personalised, holistic and longitudinal assessments and individualised and timely support. These gaps represent some of the key areas for future studies seemingly as the role of portfolios and longitudinal assessment measures to enhance support of evolving concepts of PIF develop.

Availability of data and materials

All data generated or analysed during this review are included in this published article and its supplementary files.


Community of Practice

Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome and Study Design

  • Professional Identity Formation

Systematic Scoping Review

Systematic Evidence-Based Approach

Ring Theory of Personhood

Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

National Cancer Centre Singapore

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The authors would like to dedicate this paper to the late Dr. S Radha Krishna whose advice and ideas were integral to the success of this study.

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151. Dr Haili Hughes - mentoring scholars & effective study skills teaching Exam Study Expert: ace your exams with the science of learning

To kick off this week's special "for teachers" series, we're welcoming Dr Haili Hughes to talk about how to be an effective mentor to students in their study skills, and what good pedagogy for "learning to learn" should include. - Mentoring in Schools [book]:* - Follow Haili @HughesHaili: * Hosted by William Wadsworth, memory psychologist, independent researcher and study skills coach. I help ambitious students to study smarter, not harder, so they can ace their exams with less work and less stress. TEACHING RESOURCES: SPEAKING / WORKSHOPS: Get a copy of Outsmart Your Exams, my award-winning exam technique book, at* * As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases on suggested books.

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Overcoming the top 10 fears of approaching a potential mentor.

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Most mentors are not assigned, they are found organically. Knowing how to approach a mentor is key.

Research has shown that 76% of people understand that mentoring is pivotal for their advancement, but only 37% actually have a mentor. Why? Some people hesitate to approach a mentor for guidance for all sorts of reasons ranging from rejection to feeling like a burden. You can’t get anywhere if you are stuck in park. Learning to navigate these fears is essential for personal and professional growth. Here are ten common reasons people fail to reach out to a potential mentor, along with practical solutions to overcome them.

Fear of Rejection The fear of being turned down by a potential mentor can be paralyzing. However, it's important to remember that rejection is not a reflection of your worth but rather a part of the process.

Solution: Approach the mentor with humility and a clear understanding of what you hope to gain from the relationship. Even if they decline, thank them for their time and keep searching for the right fit. Consider asking them to recommend someone else.

Imposter Syndrome Many individuals fear that they are not worthy of mentorship or that they lack the skills to be successful. Solution: Recognize that imposter syndrome is common and remind yourself of your accomplishments and strengths . A mentor can help you navigate these feelings and build confidence in your abilities .

Fear of Being a Burden Some individuals worry that reaching out to a potential mentor will burden them with additional responsibilities. Solution: Approach the mentor respectfully, acknowledging their time constraints and expressing your willingness to be flexible. Assure them that you value their time and expertise, and will come to the meetings ready. Offer to send them in advance the topics you’d like to discuss and how much time you think will be needed.

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Fear of Not Being Prepared

The fear of appearing unprepared or clueless can deter individuals from reaching out to a mentor.

Solution: Take the time to research the mentor's background and expertise before reaching out. Prepare thoughtful questions and demonstrate a genuine interest in learning from them. It’s a good idea not to outright ask someone to be your mentor (it sounds like you are asking them to take on another obligation). Make sure they know you first and what you are capable of.

Fear of Being Vulnerable

Opening up to a mentor requires vulnerability, which can be intimidating. Solution: Remember that vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness. Be honest about your challenges and goals, and trust that your mentor will provide guidance and support without judgment.

Fear of Commitment

Some individuals fear that committing to a mentoring relationship will limit their independence or flexibility.

Solution: Mentorship is not a life sentence. Approach mentorship as a fluid and evolving relationship rather than a rigid commitment. If it no longer works for you, find another mentor.

Fear of Not Finding the Right Fit

Finding the right mentor can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack, leading to apprehension about the process.

Solution: Cast a wide net and explore various mentorship opportunities. Consider creating your own mentoring team who can offer varying perspectives. In addition to expertise, prioritize compatibility and shared values when selecting a mentor.

Fear of Being Overlooked

Individuals may fear that their request for mentorship will be overlooked or dismissed amidst the mentor's busy schedule.

Solution: Be persistent but respectful in your outreach efforts. Follow up politely if you don't receive a response initially, and demonstrate your genuine interest in learning from them.

Fear of Receiving Criticism

Constructive criticism is a crucial aspect of mentorship, but it can be difficult to receive.

Solution: Approach criticism as an opportunity for growth rather than a personal attack. Be open-minded and receptive to feedback, and use it as data to improve and develop your skills.

Fear of Wasting Time

Individuals may fear that investing time in mentorship will yield little or no return on investment.

Solution: Reams of research proves that mentorship does work. View mentorship as an investment in your personal and professional development. Even if the relationship doesn't pan out as expected, the lessons learned and connections made along the way are invaluable.

While the fears surrounding mentorship may seem daunting, they are surmountable with the right mindset and approach. By acknowledging these fears and proactively addressing them, individuals can unlock the transformative power of mentorship on their journey to success.

Dr. Ruth Gotian

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The mentoring lab: build skills for effective undergraduate research mentorship, may 14 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm.

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Join us for a two-part interactive discussion and workshop about best practices for mentoring undergraduate researchers. You will learn evidence-based mentoring techniques, articulate your own mentoring style, and engage with tools that you can use right now to enhance your mentoring practice. This workshop is ideal for the mentors of undergraduate researchers who would like to refine their mentoring practices or who are first-time mentors to undergraduate researchers.

In part one, we’ll use case studies and discussion prompts from the  Center for Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research  to explore foundational questions such as: “How can you set expectations for mentor and mentee to make sure the project and relationship stay on track? What are common challenges students face when getting started with research?”

In part two, we will engage with questions like “How can we ensure mentees feel welcome and support their growth and confidence as researchers?”

Additionally, we will preview new tools and resources being developed at Cornell as part of  Faculty Advancing Inclusive Mentoring (FAIM) Resource Center , primarily designed for use in graduate education and the professoriate, but highly relevant to mentors at all levels.

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Guest Essay

The Supreme Court Has Already Botched the Trump Immunity Case

A photo illustration of the front of the U.S. Supreme Court building, but the columns in front are rearranged as an optical illusion, where the tops and bottoms of the columns fade into nothingness before reaching the other side.

By Melissa Murray and Andrew Weissmann

Ms. Murray and Mr. Weissmann are co-authors of “The Trump Indictments: The Historic Charging Documents With Commentary.”

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear oral arguments in Donald Trump’s immunity-appeal case on Thursday may appear to advance the rule of law. After all, few, if anyone, think that a majority of the court will conclude that a former president is completely immune from federal criminal liability.

But the court’s decision to review the immunity case actually undermines core democratic values.

The Supreme Court often has an institutional interest in cases of presidential power. But the court’s insistence on putting its own stamp on this case — despite the widespread assumption that it will not change the application of immunity to this case and the sluggish pace chosen to hear it — means that it will have needlessly delayed legal accountability for no justifiable reason. Even if the Supreme Court eventually does affirm that no person, not even a president, is above the law and immune from criminal liability, its actions will not amount to a victory for the rule of law and may be corrosive to the democratic values for which the United States should be known.

That is because the court’s delay may have stripped citizens of the criminal justice system’s most effective mechanism for determining disputed facts: a trial before a judge and a jury, where the law and the facts can be weighed and resolved.

It is this forum — and the resolution it provides — that Mr. Trump seeks, at all costs, to avoid. It is not surprising that he loudly proclaims his innocence in the court of public opinion. What is surprising is that the nation’s highest court has interjected itself in a way that facilitates his efforts to avoid a legal reckoning.

Looking at the experience of other countries is instructive. In Brazil, the former president Jair Bolsonaro, after baselessly claiming fraud before an election, was successfully prosecuted in a court and barred from running for office for years. In France, the former president Jacques Chirac was successfully prosecuted for illegal diversion of public funds during his time as mayor of Paris. Likewise, Argentina, Italy, Japan and South Korea have relied on the courts to hold corrupt leaders to account for their misconduct.

Because the courts have been such crucial scaffolding for democracy, leaders with authoritarian impulses often seek to undermine judicial authority and defang the courts to advance their interests. As the national-security and governance writer Rachel Kleinfeld has pointed out : “democracies have been falling all over the world in recent years. The decline has largely occurred at the hands of elected leaders who use their popularity to ride roughshod over their countries’ institutions, destroying oversight by a thousand cuts.”

Consider India, Bolivia, Hungary and Venezuela, where the erosion of judicial independence of the courts has been accompanied by a rise in all-consuming power for an individual leader.

Within our constitutional system, the U.S. Supreme Court can still act effectively and quickly to preserve the judiciary’s role in a constitutional democracy. If the court is truly concerned about the rule of law and ensuring that these disputed facts are resolved in a trial, it could issue a ruling quickly after the oral argument.

It would then fall to the special counsel Jack Smith and Judge Chutkan to ensure that this case gets to a jury. Obviously, fidelity to due process and careful attention to the rights of the accused are critical. To get to a trial and avoid any further potential delay, Mr. Smith may decide to limit the government’s case to its bare essentials — what is often called the “slim to win” strategy. And Judge Chutkan has already warned Mr. Trump that his pretrial unruly statements with respect to witnesses and others may result in her moving up the start of the trial to protect the judicial process.

Before Election Day 2024, if at all possible, voters should know if the facts of a case establish that one of the candidates engaged in an elaborate election-interference scheme in 2020.

Justice Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the Manhattan criminal trial, and the New York appellate courts offer an instructive model of fair and expeditious case management. In less than a week, Justice Merchan has seated a jury, and he and many appellate judges have quickly ruled on Mr. Trump’s efforts to thwart the start of the trial.

If the Supreme Court resolves the immunity question quickly, allowing the federal election interference case to proceed, Judge Chutkan’s case management likewise will be pivotal in dealing with the intricacies of jury selection in a high-profile case and effectively distinguishing between frivolous and meritorious defense arguments that would prolong the trial timeline. These options may seem like a long shot, but they are the ones that remain.

Courts are supposed to serve as a neutral forum for the determination of facts and the adjudication of law. And, as examples in other countries illustrate, they can be a crucial bulwark for the rule of law in precarious times.

Politics and law are often seen as separate institutions, but in fact they regularly interact within our constitutional system as checks and balances — unless, as is the case here, the court takes on an overbearing role.

The Supreme Court’s review of the immunity issue delays indefinitely a jury trial of Mr. Trump’s role in obstructing the peaceful transfer of power — and therefore risks transforming our nation into a Potemkin village of democracy that bears the surface trappings of legal institutions but without actual checks on the executive branch of government.

Melissa Murray and Andrew Weissmann teach at the N.Y.U. School of Law and are co-authors of “The Trump Indictments: The Historic Charging Documents With Commentary.” They are co-hosts, respectively, of the podcasts Strict Scrutiny and Prosecuting Donald Trump .

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow the New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Instagram , TikTok , WhatsApp , X and Threads .


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    Background Mentoring's pivotal role in nurturing professional identity formation (PIF) owes much to its combined use with supervision, coaching, tutoring, instruction, and teaching. However the effects of this combination called the 'mentoring umbrella' remains poorly understood. This systematic scoping review thus aims to map current understanding. Methods A Systematic Evidence-Based ...

  21. 10 Common Mentorship Myths: A Guide to Unlocking Your Success

    Myth #2: Mentors Must be Older or More Experienced: Age and experience do not exclusively qualify someone as a mentor.Effective mentorship hinges on shared values, expertise, and the ability to ...

  22. Essay On Coaching And Mentoring

    Essay On Coaching And Mentoring. 705 Words3 Pages. There has been much debate on the differences and similarities of coaching and mentoring. Coaching and mentoring are used for a variety of purposes to develop managers and leaders. They support change in the working environment, help to reduce stress, develop independence and improve ...

  23. The Mentoring Lab: Build Skills for Effective Undergraduate Research

    Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ Ɂ (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ Ɂ are members of the Hodinǫ̱hsǫ́:nih Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York state, and the United States of America.

  24. PDF Effective Mentoring of Undergraduates PLEASE SIGN IN ON GOOGLE FORM IN CHAT

    •A mentor is a person, often more experienced, who can serve to offer training, advice, and guidance, through discussions, and through interest in the mentee's goals and experiences. •An effective mentor builds a two-way relationship with a mentee over the long-term based on trust. •To an undergraduate, a mentor can play a critical role in

  25. ‎Exam Study Expert: ace your exams with the science of learning: 151

    To kick off this week's special "for teachers" series, we're welcoming Dr Haili Hughes to talk about how to be an effective mentor to students in their study skills, and what good pedagogy for "learning to learn" should include. - Mentoring in Schools [book]:* - Follow Haili…

  26. Top 10 Fears Of Approaching A Mentor And How To Overcome Them

    Mastering fear when approaching a mentor is key to personal and professional growth. Explore effective strategies to conquer these top 10 fears and unlock your potential.

  27. Events for May 2024 : Graduate School

    The Mentoring Lab: Build Skills for Effective Undergraduate Research Mentorship. The Mentoring Lab: Build Skills for Effective Undergraduate Research Mentorship. May 14 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm ... You will learn evidence-based mentoring techniques, articulate your own mentoring style, and engage with tools that you can use right now to enhance ...

  28. Call for Papers: 27th International Service-Learning Conference (Buenos

    University Outreach and Engagement is a campus-wide central resource that assists MSU academic units construct more effective engagement with communities. Call for Papers: 27th International Service-Learning Conference (Buenos Aires) - University Outreach and Engagement - Michigan State University

  29. Opinion

    That is because the court's delay may have stripped citizens of the criminal justice system's most effective mechanism for determining disputed facts: a trial before a judge and a jury, where ...