NCFDD Mentoring Map

Introduction to the NCFDD Mentoring Map 

Traditional conceptions of mentoring overwhelmingly relied on mentoring dyads, or a bilateral relationship between two individuals. In these models, the less experienced member of the dyad (mentee) relied on the more experienced member (mentor) for support in all areas of their professional development. However, research strongly suggests that network-based structures of mentoring provide greater benefit to mentees and mentors. A network, or constellation, structure typically places the mentee at the center of a large group of mentors, each of whom supports the mentee according to their own strengths. The NCFDD Mentoring Map is a tool that allows individuals to visualize their own mentoring networks. It can be especially useful in thinking through whom a mentee can rely on for different types of career or psychosocial support. 

How to Fill in the Mentoring Map 

The NCFDD Mentoring Map places you at the center, with 9 large categories of support around you. Each category is further broken down into subgroups and/or blanks where you can fill in names of mentors who support you in that area. It is possible that you might leave some blanks empty or you might add extra lines if you have additional mentors in a category. You might use some names only once; others you might repeat. Mentoring maps typically grow and diversify over the course of an individual’s training and career. The NCFDD Mentoring Map is a means to think about what mentoring needs you have, and how those needs are being met. You might think of it as a guide rather than as a worksheet to be fully completed. 

Some of the categories of mentoring have specific definitions within mentoring research. For example, a “Sponsor” is a person who advocates for you when you are not in the room. These are individuals who speak on your behalf, for example by nominating you for grants and awards or by actively promoting the significance of your research or creative practice. The Mentoring Map suggests that these be drawn from “Senior Department Faculty” because such individuals typically carry the most weight in the majority of the most frequent decision-making points. Experienced faculty might also have Sponsors who operate at the university level or within prestigious professional societies.  

The category “Intellectual Community” provides you with an opportunity to think about whom you are comfortable sharing your work with at various stages of completion. To whom do you turn for feedback with projects that are in their beginning stages (0-25%); for projects near completion (75-100%)?

Suggestions for When to Use a Mentoring Map 

While you can use the NCFDD Mentoring Map to assess your network at any point, there are some moments when it might be especially useful. These include moments of transition, for example when a doctoral student advances to candidacy or after a hire or similar career transition. With these transitions, it can be useful to think about what new mentoring needs you might have and how your existing mentoring network translates to your new situation.  

The Mentoring Map can also be a helpful professional development tool for mentors to use with mentees. Mentors might share their own experiences with professional networking and could help mentees find connections to additional mentors where an existing need is unmet.  

Find the NCFDD Mentoring Map here 

Resources for Learning More about Network-Based Mentoring 

  • de Janasz, S. C. & Sullivan, S. E. (2004). Multiple mentoring in academe: Developing the professional network. Journal of Vocational Behavior 64(2), 263-283. 

  • Zellers, D. F., Howard, V. M., & Barcic, M. A. (2008). Faculty mentoring programs: Reenvisioning rather than reinventing the wheel. Review of Educational Research, 78(3), 552–588. 

  • Rockquemore, K. A. (2013, July). A new model of mentoring. Inside Higher Education. Retrieved from  

  • Kram, K. E. (1988). Mentoring at work: Developmental relationships in organizational life. University Press of America. 

  • Pololi, L., & Knight, S. (2005). Mentoring faculty in academic medicine. A new paradigm? Journal of General Internal Medicine, 20(9), 866–870.