How to Create and Sustain a Successful Mentorship

Starting off on the right foot: Quality is key

As we all know, first impressions can have lasting effects on any type of relationship. As you compose your first few messages to your mentee/mentor counterpart, the most important thing is to find common ground to build the foundation of your mentorship. A good introductory message can contain the following components:

  1. Your hobbies and interests
  2. Your personal and academic background and goals
  3. Discuss what you hope to achieve through a mentorship
  4. Explain why you chose to work with your mentee/mentor counterpart (why do they seem like a good match?)
  5. Ask about your mentor’s/mentee’s background and experience


Gaining momentum:

After you’ve established introductions with your mentee/mentor it’s time to focus on achieving your goals for the mentorship. Frequent and open communication is the best way to keep the momentum going. To make the most of your communications/interactions:

  • Determine which mode of communication works best for the both of you (e.g. email vs. phone, once a week vs. once every two weeks, etc.)
  • Be open to feedback; Follow responses with open-ended questions
  • Be open to sharing things about yourself (stories are great!)
  • Continue to ask questions

For more tips visit our Mentee Discussion Suggestions and Mentor Discussion Suggestions.


Getting to the finish line:

Whether your mentorship lasts a month or several years, it’s important to wrap up the mentorship appropriately. This means thanking your mentor/mentee for their time and contributions. You can also show your appreciation by staying in touch from time to time. Most importantly, take some time to reflect on what you’ve learned and bring these skills to the next mentorship.