Because trust is the cornerstone of a mentoring relationship, it’s essential that the mentor and mentee agree on standards of confidentiality that will govern the relationship. Both parties to the relationship must feel confident that any personal experience or information they share will be kept confidential. Your agreement regarding confidentiality could be something as simple as agreeing that nothing you discuss is mentioned to anyone else, unless you both agree. As well, you should agree on circumstances where it is permissible for confidentiality to be breached, for example, if there are ethical violations or unlawful behaviour.

Though complete confidentiality is often desired, that may not be possible if the mentor and mentee work for the same organization and the mentor is required to provide feedback regarding the mentee. At a minimum, the mentee deserves to know that the mentor may provide feedback and the purpose for that feedback. In this kind of situation, the parties should agree on the type of information that may be shared and with whom it might be shared.

Consider a formal mentoring agreement

Many people believe it is important to sign a formal mentoring agreement. Such an agreement can be useful because it reminds the parties of their goals, commitments, and the ground rules they have agreed on. The level of detail and formality of the agreement is something you can discuss with your mentor.

  • Two people standing
    Sample mentoring agreement (Word)