Mentoring is a relationship entailing formal or informal processes whereby a mentor provides intentional guidance, motivation, and encouragement. Mentors also share knowledge, experiences, and perspectives to empower the mentee in the advancement of specific goals that improve their lives and careers. Mentorship allows both mentor and mentee to build networks of resources, develop best practices and sustain connections for lifelong learning.
During the initation stage of the mentoring relationship, a key outcome is an understanding of mutual expectations and goals. Co-developed by both mentor and mentee, an agreement ensures that both parties understand the parameters and expectations of the relationship, properly placing ownership of the mentoring process, and holding both partners accountable to one another.
Download the PDF: Creating a Mentoring Agreement.
1. Overview of goals and desired outcomes
Address and mutually agree upon the primary goals of the mentorship as discussed, as well as desired outcomes, and how you will know when these outcomes have been achieved.
2. Frequency of Meetings
Determine how often you and your mentee will meet. Depending on the mentoring goals, you might meet as frequently as once per week, but no less than once per month.
3. Meeting specifics
Agree to a general meeting type (in-person, phone) and session length. For in-person, 60 minute sessions are recommended initially; shorter sessions may preclude adequate engagement of topics.
4. Duration of mentorship
Decide how long the formal mentorship will last. Within an education setting, mentorships often follow a semester- or academic-year based cycle.
5. Additional commitments
Mentor and mentee may agree to attend supplemental programs (workshops, seminars, social events) aligned with mentoring goals.
6. General expectations
Address common expectations and other best practices including parameters for confidentiality, boundaries and privacy (i.e. put limits to text messages or phone calls past a reasonable hour, etc.), meeting venues (i.e. on-campus, off-campus, public venues, etc.), and conduct expectations.
More information on Graduate College Mentor Network and stages of mentoring: graduate.asu.edu/mentoring