University of Nebraska Medical Center

Information for Mentees

From career guidance to insights about navigating the UNMC culture, mentors serve an invaluable role in your success.

In addition to being a trusted confidant, mentors can increase your personal satisfaction and provide assistance in preparing for rank advancement and leadership roles.

A mentoring relationship is different for each person, as you will have different needs and goals. It can be formal or informal, or short-term or lifelong. Additionally, while mentors can provide guidance throughout your career, the type of mentorship can vary based on different stages of life. Frequently, it is best to have a network of mentors.

A mentor is often someone who "opens doors" for you to pursue opportunities in local or national organizations, research teams, important university or organizational committees, or other activities that will add to your professional growth. Mentors can speak up on your behalf within your department or by recommending you for external leadership. 

Remember, a good mentor wants you to succeed and will actively support your success both with words and actions.

Your Role as a Mentee

The mentoring process is a two-way street where each individual has their own role. The mentee's role includes:

  • Establishing clear goals and expectations based on your needs
  • Providing agendas in advance of each meeting
  • Maintaining confidentiality so you can discuss sensitive issues
  • Following through with recommendations and measuring outcomes
Potential Goals

Goals can include both professional and personal development, such as:

  • Rank advancement within 6 years
  • Consistent federal research funding
  • Leadership roles in regional or national organizations
  • Successful balance between work, outside pursuits and family
Use the self-assessment form to help determine your goals.
Mentoring Agreement

Having a written agreement between you and your mentor can avoid future conflicts. One of the first things the two of you should discuss is the time commitment involved and each of your expectations.

It is also important to include confidentiality as part of the mentoring agreement. This will allow you to seek counsel and discuss sensitive issues, especially those involving fellow faculty members or leaders. You should confirm there will be no direct feedback to your department chair or other leadership. Review an example of a mentoring agreement.

Mentoring Forms

Here are some forms you can use to ensure you get the most out of your mentoring experience:

Ending a Mentoring Relationship

During the mentoring relationship, both of you need to bring up any concerns about the process or the learning activities as soon as they develop. You should also periodically evaluate the effectiveness of the relationship, and make adjustments as needed before problems become too severe to overcome.

However, if both of you agree your mentoring relationship is not advancing, you should still end on a positive note and express your appreciation for the time spent.

Find a Mentor

You may have a more successful mentoring experience if you choose someone with the same clinical, educational or research interests, personal characteristics or background. However, don't limit yourself to just those factors. 

The easiest way to find a mentor is through an existing mentoring program established by your department or college. If you are unsure about whether your area has an existing program, email Faculty Affairs.

Icon of mentor vs icon of coach

Do you need a mentor or a coach?

There is a difference between mentoring and coaching, and each person can help you in different ways. Sometimes it’s even best to have one of each. Discover which is right for you.