Mentor Defined

  • A wise and faithful counselor1
  • Someone who is a counselor and teacher and instructs, admonishes and assists a junior trainee or colleague in attaining success2
  • An influential senior sponsor or supporter3

Key Roles of a Mentor 4

  • Establish a relationship of mutual respect and trust
  • Provide a professional and ethical role model
  • Provide support through good and bad times
  • Work with the protégé on career and life goals including work-life balance
  • Advise, counsel, guide, teach, inspire, motivate, challenge, correct, nurture, and enable the protégé

Characteristics of a Mentor 5

  • Able to share life experience, wisdom, and technical expertise
  • A profound listener
  • A careful observer
  • A good problem solver
  • Willing to know, accept and respect the goals and interests of the protégé


1. Homer, The Odyssey, Book II, Lines 255 and 268, 800 BC.

2. Ramani S, Gruppen L, Kachur EK. Twelve tips for developing effective mentors. Med Teach 2006;28:404-408.


4. Gough I. Mentoring: Historical origins and contemporary value. ANZ J Surg 78, 831.

5. Fassig, SM, editor. Associate's Survival Guide, AAHA Press, 2005.

Information taken in part/full, adapted and used with permission from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) and Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine Mentoring Handbooks - November 14, 2012: &