Elements of a Successful Mentorship

Download PDF of Table 5.1


Considerations & Examples


Weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

Duration of meeting (quick consult vs check-in). Schedule to protect meeting times and reschedule if necessary. Decide on mutually agreed-upon times/days.

Determine how to inform each other of schedule changes and in what time frame changes need to be made (day before, etc.).


Consideration of cultural and personal differences.

Ask for consent if specific information is shared, and establish parameters on exclusions (safety, health emergency).

Safe Space
Create an environment where vulnerability is accepted and that includes a judgment-free zone. Prioritize physical, psychological, and emotional safety.

Model the Behavior
Demonstrate humility, admission of errors, creating a positive work culture, and modeling healthy self-care practices.


Explain how and why systems are developed.

Openness and Nonjudgment
Be open to new ideas, sentiments, feedback, and criticisms. Avoid judgment and assume positive intent.

Identify personal preference to determine the success of interpretation (e.g., discerning tone from a text message). Define the best mode of communication (email, text, phone call, or video chat).

Personality/Learning Styles
Consider the diversity of individuals (introspective vs extrospective). See DISC Assessment under Resources.

Conflict Resolution
Define the core problem, use reflective listening, collaboratively find a solution or adaptation to move forward.

Respect for All Identities and Barriers

Ensure that pronouns are defined and used properly in all communication.

Name Preference
Doctor vs first name, correct pronunciation and spelling of name.

DEIB Influences
Appreciate diversity, value inclusion, and support feelings of belonging. Seek ongoing training with a focus on implicit bias, impact of privilege, barriers, and limitations due to things like financial realities, life stage demands, roles as caretakers, and/or cultural differences and expectations.

The 2023 AAHA Mentoring Guidelines are generously supported by Chewy Health and Merck.

Chewy Health
Merck Animal Health