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Step 1. Define Your Mentoring Needs

Start here if you have no clear idea of the areas where you need mentoring. This step will help you identify your needs for mentoring.

  • if you think you have broad needs for mentoring, use the Mentoring Checklist
  • if you are starting a project and need specific guidance, use the Functional Mentoring Worksheet

If you need to define your career goals and objectives, use the Individual Opportunity Plan.

Mentoring Checklist

Do you have any mentors who are guiding you? Where and how are they helping you? Where else do you need guidance? Complete the Mentoring Checklist to assess your needs for mentoring. Mark your top three areas where you think you need mentoring, then go to Step 2: Identify Your Mentor.

Functional Mentoring

Are you starting a new project? A new research study? A new course? A new clinical service? Do you have all the skills and knowledge to design, implement and evaluate your project? If not, use the Functional Mentoring Worksheet to identify what guidance you may need from a mentor. Complete the Worksheet, then go to Step 2: Identify Your Mentor.


The best mentor for you may be outside your area of expertise. For example, if you need help with writing a grant, you need someone with that skill—they do not have to be an expert in your content area.

Example: Jane Brown, MD

Dr. Brown has just been hired as a clinician-educator in the Ob-Gyn Department.  She has a busy practice in women’s health, specializing in infertility. Dr. Brown’s Chair has asked her to develop a new clinical rotation for 4th year medical students in reproductive endocrinology. She has the clinical skills and the content knowledge, but she has never created a curriculum before.
What should Jane do?

Jane assesses her needs: “I just completed my fellowship so I have excellent knowledge of  reproductive endocrinology and we have a great case mix here as examples for the students. BUT . . . I don’t know the first thing about designing a curriculum or assessing the outcomes of the course. I need a mentor who has that expertise.”