As an occupational therapy practitioner do you want to
...enhance your professional skills?
...keep your career alive and growing?
...strengthen your reputation and influence?

Then, continue on, and,
...consider being a MENTOR or a MENTEE.

Visit the following sections to learn more about mentoring:

1. Mentoring 101 (an introduction to mentoring)
2. Continuing Education Credit for Mentoring (how and where to obtain credit for occupational therapy practitioners)
3. Resources and References on Mentoring (electronic and paper sources)

1. Mentoring 101
(an introduction to mentoring)

What is a mentor?
A mentor has been defined as “An experienced colleague who offers advice, encouragement, moral support, and guidance along the career path.” (Joe, 1998, p. 14)

What is a mentee?
A mentee is the individual who has a mentor.

To Clarify-
Mentoring is NOT typically the same as
...role modeling which is admiring and emulating someone from afar -or-
...supervision which is a position responsible for molding someone for specific job competencies

Mentoring IS typically a personal relationship between two people that is
...face to face
...up “close and personal” (Robertson & Savio, 2003)
...nurturing, dynamic, and growth producing in nature (Marrelli, 2004)

Mentors often serve many roles that include the following:
1. Educator (Rogers, 1986)
2. Advocator (Rogers, 1986)
3. Supporter (Rogers, 1986)
4. Advisor (Kolodner & Hischmann, 1997)
5. Coach (Kolodner & Hischmann, 1997)
6. Teacher (Levinson, 1978)
7. Sponsor (Levinson, 1978)
8. Exemplar (Levinson, 1978)
9. Counselor (Levinson, 1978)
10. Tutor (Robertson & Savio, 2003)

It is a mentor’s role to ensure the success (Robertson & Savio, 2003) of his/her mentee and to provide (Daloz, 1999): to be the best
...a challenge to grow
...a vision for the future

Mentoring relationships can take many forms. They can be
...informal or highly structured (Shea, 1997)
...short term or long term (Shea, 1997)
...individual or group-oriented in nature (Horgan, 1992)

The benefits of mentoring are many. They are dual in nature as benefits are received from both serving as a mentor and being a mentee. Some of the benefits are listed below:

Benefits to the Mentor Benefits to the Mentee
1. Personal satisfaction
2. Strengthened professional reputation
3. Increased influence in organization/system
4. Development of supportive relationship
5. Goal attainment
(Baptise, 2001 as cited in Urish)
6. Higher job satisfaction
7. Formation of new friendships
8. Revitalization of practice
(Boice & Turner, 1989 as cited in Froehlich)
1. Improved clinical competency
2. Increased professional satisfaction
3. Possible career mobility
4. Increased knowledge and skills
5. Improved professional confidence
6. Development of supportive relationship
7. Increased awareness of strengths and limitation
(Baptise, 2001 as cited in Urish)
8. Increased job satisfaction
9. Higher productivity
10. Increased professionalism
11. Greater organizational power
(Marrelli, 2004)
How can one become a mentor or a mentee?
First of all, reflect upon your own personal and professional characteristics. Do you have the following?
Characteristics of a Mentor Characteristics of a Protégée
  • Provides a vision, broad view
  • Willing to support, counsel
  • Has access to professional networks
  • Has leadership experiences
  • Political awareness
  • Genuine interest in others
  • Belief in others’ capabilities
  • Responsive openness, available
  • Competent, authentic
  • Sensitivity
  • Teaching skills
  • Motivator
  • Strong moral fiber
  • Committed to relationship
  • Able to sustain close personal relationship
  • Understand others
  • Objective
  • Clear thinking
  • Able to confront and accept
  • Other:
  • Has potential to succeed
  • Capacity for intimacy, self-disclosure
  • Willing to learn
  • Confident to try new things
  • Able to convince others of self-worth
  • Good communicator
  • Trusting
  • Ambitious
  • Internal locus of control
  • High job investment
  • Values relationships
  • Sees relationship between personal and professional growth
  • Active learner
  • Direct, constant, focused
  • Other:
Taken from:
Robertson, S. (1992). How to find a mentor or be one. Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association, p. 5.
Reproduced by permission of the American Occupational Therapy Association. (2-05)

Then, prepare yourself. Start by reading. Much has been written on the topic of mentoring. There are “short reads”, books, book chapters, journal articles, and stories about occupational therapists who have mentored and who have been mentees. Internet sites on mentoring are also a source of information. All of these references are listed in the section on Resources and References. After reading, develop your goals and ideas for a mentoring relationship. Look ahead and visualize where you would like the relationship to go, tentatively plan what the relationship might look like including the kinds of activities, tasks, and/or discussions in which you might engage to meet your goals. Identify individual(s) for whom you may offer to be a mentor or individual(s) who may serve as an ideal mentor for you (you will be the mentee).

With a little knowledge and preparation, take the initiative to offer to be a mentor or as a mentee ask someone to serve as your mentor. When doing so make sure you:
...can make the time for and commit to the relationship

...choose your mentor or mentee carefully (someone you and others admire, someone who is well respected, and someone who has the knowledge base and/or expertise from which you can learn)
AND a collaborative relationship with both of you contributing to the determination of goals and activities/tasks

...consider obtaining professional development units (PDUs) from NBCOT or contact hours from the Ohio OT/PT/AT Board (see Section 2).

As you build and foster your relationship, keep the following tips in mind:

Tips for Mentors Tips for Mentees
1. Demonstrate managerial and communications expertise.

2. Be a role model in dress and actions.

3. Provide positive feedback and allow for growth.

4. When possible, meetings held outside the workplace are preferred.

5. Assist with goal setting and problem solving.

6. Follow-up and/or feedback on previous discussion is the next meeting’s first topic.

7. Anticipate both common and difficult management situations through discussion.

8. Recommend conferences that the mentee may want to attend (and discuss any goals for the conference).

9. Maintain and respect confidentiality and remain loyal.

10. Allow the mentee to make choices and discuss options in a nonjudgmental manner.

11. Identify books and other readings that would be helpful to the mentee.

12. Introduce mentee to key people; facilitate networking.

13. Arrange for mentee to participate in key opportunities.

1. Define and clarify your professional goals.

2. Choose mentors you admire and who have expertise in your area of interest.

3. Identify learning plans and their objectives.

4. Verbalize and prioritize what you want your mentor’s assistance with.

5. Make the time to apply the new information.

6. Undertake self-study, and study that which is encouraged by the mentor.

7. Know your weaknesses and strengths, and seek to work on both.

8. Organize your queries and concerns, and be respectful of the mentor’s limited time.

9. Ask the mentor if you can call them at home.

10. Accept feedback in a positive manner.

11. Thank your mentor throughout the process/relationship.

12. Always be open to change and welcome feedback.

13. Reflect upon each meeting and opportunity; learn from your experiences.

Items 1-11 for mentors and 1-12 for mentees from:
Marrelli, T. M., Home Health Care Management & Practice, 16 (2) pp. 122-123, copyright 2004 by Sage Publications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of Sage Publications, Inc.

As your relationship grows and evolves, you will find that you have
...enhanced your professional skills
...kept your career alive and growing
...strengthened your reputation and influence

all the while contributing to the strength and enrichment of the profession of occupational therapy! Congratulations!

on to Section 2.
Continuing Education Credit for Mentoring
(how and where to obtain credit for occupational therapy practitioners)

Back to Top

References for Section on Mentoring 101

Daloz, L. A. (1999). Mentor: Guiding the journey of adult learners (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Froehlich, J. (1994). A mentoring program: Learning from experience. Education Special Interest Section Newsletter, 4(2), 1-2.
Horgan, D. D. (1992). Multiple mentoring: All of the gain; none of the pain. Performance and Instruction, 31 (6), 20-22.
Joe, B. E. (1998). Lighting the path to success. OT Week, 12(40), 14.
Kolodner, E. L., & Hischmann, C. L. (1997). Mentors and protégés: Partners for professional development. Administration & Management Special Interest Section Quarterly, 13(3), 1-4.
Levinson, D. J. (1978). The season’s of a man’s life. New York: Knopf.
Marrelli, T. M. (2004). Management update: Why mentoring is important. Home Health Care Management & Practice, 16(2), 122-123.
Robertson, S. (1992). How to find a mentor or be one. Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association.
Robertson, S. C., & Savio, M. C. (2003). Mentoring as professional development. OT Practice 8(21), 12-16.
Rogers, J. C. (1986). Nationally speaking: Mentoring for career achievement and advancement. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 40(2), 79-82.
Shea, G. F. (1997). Mentoring: A practical guide (2nd ed.). Menlo Park, CA: Crisp Publications.
Smith, B. C. (1992). Mentoring: The key to professional growth. OT Practice, 3(3), 21-28.
Urish, C. (2004). Ongoing competence through mentoring. OT Practice, 9(3), 10.