How do I make my peer mentoring relationships successful?

Establish Clear Expectations

Contracts or guidelines

Assess your own individual needs as a mentor or mentee

Mentees and mentors can complete a self-appraisal at the beginning of the year to determine what the mentee might need in order to thrive as a graduate student, and where the mentor might help. A sample Mentee Self-Appraisal is available on p. 6-7 in the Peer Mentoring Handbook.

Set Goals

Goal setting can be a central aspect of mentoring. Some mentors and mentees find it helpful to develop a "work plan" that includes short-term and long-term goals or objectives, and a timeframe for reaching them. A sample goal setting worksheet is available on p. 8 of the Peer Mentoring Handbook.

Reflect on how you can make peer mentoring work better for both mentor/mentee

Consider the value of co-mentoring

McGuire and Reger (2003) propose a model of feminist co-mentoring that works against hierarchical understandings of mentoring and offsets power differentials. We think this model might be a particularly useful way to frame to peer mentoring relationships, where the mentor and protege are often on more equal terms and can make their interactions mutually beneficial. More traditional peer mentoring relationships might also develop into co-mentoring partnerships as students progress in the program, develop their own expertise, and their needs change. Kathy Kram (1985) identifies "redefinition" as the fourth stage of a mentoring relationships, after the protege "separates" from the mentor; co-mentoring is one way to conceive of this redefinition.