What do you love about mentoring?

Happy Valentine’s Day to all mentors and mentees!

Istock 1459360511Istock 1459360511 “We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone…and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.”

—Justice Sandra Day O’Connor


There are many compelling reasons why mentorship is impactful. I want to take this opportunity to share with you what I love about mentoring relationships.

Mentorship is a relationship of mutual growth, learning and development. Thirty years of research shows it works. When done right, mentoring relationships can positively impact the mentees and mentors. Most successful people attribute their strong leadership skills and professional growth to the mentors who taught them how to lead.

There are three key reasons why I love mentoring:

1. The positive impact of a mentoring relationship can be immediate and long term. The impact of a mentoring relationship can include immediate pertinent feedback, career rejuvenation or a new career trajectory. Mentors can be a powerful influence on a professional’s career. More specifically, the connection can help cultivate more effective communication skills, critical thinking skills, self-sufficiency, and a deep understanding of professional identity and role.

2. Mentoring relationships enable both the mentor and mentee to access a fresh perspective. The benefits of mentoring relationships extend beyond the mentee. Successful mentorship is much more about active listening than giving one-way advice, and when approached from a place of reciprocity, there are substantial benefits to mentors. By engaging in rich dialogue around various concepts and ideas, it allows both the mentor and the mentee to gain greater insights about their lives and careers. 

3. The joy of seeing the mentee accomplish their goals.  Successful mentoring relationships emphasize helping the mentee grow and accomplish goals and include several approaches to doing so.  Mentorship is a partnership, a collaboration that could very well change the course of the mentee’s life.  Mentoring relationships create a valuable opportunity for the mentee to gain confidence and expand their networks. Ultimately, the mentee can become empowered and reach their ultimate potential.

There’s a great power that can be unleashed when sharing knowledge and skills between those who want it and can benefit the most. Mentoring relationships can signify a level of maturity, empathy, and experience that doesn’t happen overnight. The connection and meaning it can bring through rapport and clarity of purpose is invaluable.

I encourage all of you to reflect on what you love about your mentoring relationships.


As your mentoring relationship continues through the four phases: (1) initiation, (2) negotiation, (3) growth, and (4) closure, keep in mind the key points of each phase which aid the success of the relationship:


  • Building rapport – getting to know each other
  • Addressing ambivalence
  • Begin to build trust


  • Set boundaries
  • Goal setting: Formulate a working plan and map out strategies
  • Decide on the process for accountability
  • If the parties discover that they are incompatible it is at this stage to decide on how to part ways amicably.


• Expectations are clear.• Trust is apparent.• Authentic engagement - Mentor is sharing their knowledge, wisdom, and mentoring resources with the Mentee.• Learning phase for the Mentee• Goal tracking 







“Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson


This month's Mentoring Reminders!


Share what you love about mentoring on the Mentoring Program webpage, in the Best Practices section.
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Listen to NCDA podcasts on mentoring:

1. "Nurturing and Maintaining Mentoring Relationships" with Marty Apodaca and Sharon Givens. 

2. "Mentorship Through Professional Associations and Networking" with Dr. Spencer Niles.

3. "Mentoring Myths" - a panel conversation with Karol Taylor and Yangyang Liu, Ashley Osborne, Melissa Wheeler and Christian Chan.



We hope you find joy in your mentoring relationship!


Sharon Givens
Mentoring Program Visionary

Melanie Reinersman
Mentoring Program Coordinator

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