Mentoring is an excellent opportunity to build relationships and give back to your industry by helping a new employee successfully transition to a new role/company and further their career goals. Mentoring helps provide new employees with the information, support, and encouragement they need to be successful in their role.


Characteristics of a good mentor include being a good listener and communicator. Mentors like people and are willing to commit the time to being a mentor. They are consistent and demonstrate excellent work ethic. Mentors are patient and responsible role models.


Being a mentor has it benefits as well. By being a mentor you have the opportunity for your own self-improvement. Some benefits of being a mentor include the ability to:


  • Develop improved communication skills and gain an increased awareness of issues facing colleagues in their setting / department
  • Enhance coaching skills and gain additional experience for future leadership and professional opportunities
  • Share successes and challenges of your career
  • Personal fulfillment of sharing knowledge with emerging clinician and  leaders
  • Create a legacy by the lasting impact you make on your mentee


Keys to Being a Successful Mentor


  • Listen: Fully participate in the conversation by being an active listener and utilize some simple coaching skills such as reflecting, encouraging and asking questions. Be aware of your paraverbal communication (tone, volume, rate, and rhythm of your speech). Similar statements can have completely different meanings based on paraverbals used.


  • Ask open-ended questions: Any question that elicits a “yes/no” answer will not be as helpful as a “what, when, how, who” question. “Why” questions seem like they would get more information, but sometimes they can imply criticism and cause defensiveness so choose your words carefully.


  • Attend and respond to both content and feeling: Often there are two things going on at once – there is an issue, and the person has some kind of feeling or reaction to that issue. You need to acknowledge and respond to both. Consider this: “I’m so mad about forgetting to lock billing!” The content – performance in billing responsibilities; the feeling – anger, disappointment, failure? It’s important to attend to both. The issues presented to you could have some underlying themes and might even be symptoms of a larger problem.


  • Let the mentee solve the problem: It’s easy to want to try to solve things for people, but it is not as helpful as it might seem. Usually, the mentee knows the answer or knows how to solve the problem but just needs someone to ask the right questions and encourage their processing.


  • Refer to/use your resources: You are not a trained counselor or human resources expert. Don’t expect yourself to be. But know your resources and help your mentee make use of the appropriate resources. It’s OK to say, “I don’t know” as long as you get the information for the person or point them in the right direction.


  • Self-disclosure: Use it as long as it is helpful to the person and not just a story. “I had a similar situation and I successfully handled it this way…,” vs. “I was in that situation once and it was awful.”


One of the 6 core Values of Functional Pathways is relationships. In support of this value, Functional Pathways Aspire Peer Mentor Program was created. The Aspire Peer Mentor Program connects new hire Clinical Managers with an experienced Clinical Manager to support their transition to Functional Pathways and help establish long-lasting relationships. If you are a current Clinical Manager with Functional Pathways and would like more information on participating in the Aspire Peer Mentor program, consult with your Regional Manager.

Melissa Ward

Director of Clinical Services