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A formal, dynamic and reciprocal relationship between a mentor and a novice (mentee) aimed at promoting the career growth of both. Mentoring usually takes the form of frequent hour-long meetings in which mentors provide feedbacks. The best mentor-mentee relationships are characterized by mutual respect, trust, shared values, and effective communication. Good mentoring more often resembles a professional parenting bond.


A coach teaches people how to improve in a particular skill or subject.  Coaches are distinct because they focus on performance related to a specific issue rather than growth in multiple dimensions. Coaches spend less time with mentees Although coaches play critical roles in mentee growth, they rarely serve as a primary mentor. They may be transient during a mentee’s career but are often vital to their success.


A sponsor is committed to the development of a program, project, or individual. Sponsors use their influence in a field to make mentees more visible. Sponsors risk their reputations when recommending junior colleagues. Sponsors may not be directly visible to the mentee; that is, mentees may not know when sponsors have supported them. Sponsors are perhaps more selfless than other mentor types.  They use their position to grow the field and pipeline of talent. 


Connectors pair mentors, coaches, and sponsors with mentees. Connectors are master networkers who have extensive social and political capital accrued from years of academic success. Connector's main interest lies in ensuring that the field attracts, retains, and grows promising faculty at all stages of development.  Connectors are motivated by legacy; they seek to use their extensive network to promote the growth of junior faculty within and across their specialty.

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