Colorado Supreme Court

Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel

Promoting Professionalism. Protecting the Public.

The Psychosocial Function of Mentoring

Executive Director, Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program

The phrase "Social Distancing" has occupied our vocabulary for more than a year now and has forever changed the way we develop and sustain professional relationships. Maintaining professional connection may have understandably not been at the top of our “to do” list these last 14 months. Yet as we continue to navigate our new “distant” world, it is important to remember the imperative psychosocial functions of mentoring. As human beings, we can and must remain socially connected – even in times of pandemic. And as a community of lawyers, we can and must remain professionally connected even when we are physically apart.

In these uncertain times when every member of our community is impacted by this ever evolving crisis, this is in fact a wonderful and opportune time to discover, reconnect, and expand the professional relationships that provide our critical psychosocial growth.

A mentor exists to serve two main functions: career function and psychosocial function. In the career function, the mentor helps a mentee to learn the ropes of the profession and prepare for career advancement. In the psychosocial function, the mentor provides a mentee with friendship, unconditional acceptance and affirmation, counseling, and role-modeling.

While both functions are essential to a meaningful and successful mentoring relationship, it is the psychosocial function that is essential in promoting the mentee's competence, self-efficacy, and overall development as a professional. Additionally, the psychosocial function of mentoring has been demonstrated to be effective in enhancing persistence of the mentee during the adverse times and promote career resilience.

Are you wondering how to be a psychosocial mentor during these complex times?

1. Be an Active Listener:

2. Be a Cheerleader:

3. Be a Compassionate Supporter:

4. Be a Good Role Model:

5. Be a Work/Life Integration Coach:

6. Be a Constructive Feedback Provider:

The psychology of mentoring is not an expectation of the mentor to be able to break down a mentee’s exact problems and learn how to solve them using a series of psychological tricks, but to encourage them to change their way of thinking and build a new structure for success.

Although physical distancing is still necessary, it doesn’t mean you can’t maintain close emotional and relational proximity with your mentoring partner. Use this moment in time to explore new ways of staying connected, show that you care, validate feelings of distress, develop talent, and challenge yourself to get out of your mentoring comfort zone.

Looking for a way to get engaged in mentoring? Join us at the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program (CAMP)! If you are looking for community and peer guidance, you'll find participating in CAMP to be a rewarding part of your experience in the profession. Visit to find a mentoring partner, register for an event, and connect with our community. We look forward to working with you!