Human Capital

Mentoring Participation

Are You Protégé Material?

  • Do you need someone to help you understand how the USGS works?
  • Could you use help polishing your professional skills and abilities?
  • Do you want to know about professional development opportunities?
  • Are you concerned about your career plan or the goals you’ve set?
  • Would you like objective and honest feedback?
  • Do you want to explore various career options in USGS?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, getting a Mentor may be right for you. Supervisors and co-workers are great and can certainly fill the role of "Mentor"; however, it's often beneficial to have an objective 3rd party who takes on the role of being your mentor in an official capacity. A Mentor can be a career coach, friend, confidante, inspiration source and a devil's advocate all rolled into one. They challenge you while providing a supportive environment where you can share issues you're confronting. They have technical expertise and experience, a willingness to listen and to offer honest feedback.


As a protégé, it is imperative that you take responsibility for your own personal development. Having a Mentor will do no good if you can’t clearly express what you want and how they can help. The USGS Mentoring Program is “protégé driven”, meaning that your goals and desires will guide and direct your mentoring experience. Mentors inspire, encourage, and support you, and contribute to your professional and personal development. You can expect to strengthen and build your network, and gain the skills and confidence necessary to excel.

The Protégé

Protégé Roles

Spend some time thinking about your mentoring needs.  Before you meet your mentor, know what you want from the partnership, based on your current situation.  Think about the skills you’d like to develop and your career plans. Have realistic expectations.


Some important things to consider:

  • What are your career goals?
  • What do you want to learn?
  • What skills do you need to develop?
  • Do you understand the vision, mission, and values of the organization?
  • Are you prepared to receive honest feedback?
  • What are your expectations for the partnership?
  • Can you make time to meet with your mentor and work on your goals?
  • Are you willing to take risks and do things that will challenge you?

Who is eligible to be a protégé?

USGS employees who are permanent, SCEP, TERM, or STEP appointments are eligible to apply for a mentor under the One-Year Guided component of the Mentoring Program. Contractors are not eligible to participate in the USGS Mentoring Program.  Supervisory approval is required to apply.

Characteristics of a Successful Protégé

  • Have a desire to learn
  • Take initiative
  • Accept responsibility
  • Willing to grow and take on challenges
  • Trustworthy

Protégé Responsibilities

  • Establish your expectations with your mentor (complete a mentoring plan)
  • Take the initiative to schedule your meetings
  • Grab the responsibility for your learning and development in the relationship
  • Self assess your progress
  • Seek and stay receptive to feedback
  • Keep your supervisor in the “loop”
  • Maintain confidentiality
  • Prepare for meetings
  • Follow-up with assigned learning opportunities

Are You Mentor Material?

  • Have you been working at the USGS for 5 or more years?
  • Are you passionate about the work you do?
  • Do you have the desire to share what you know with others?
  • Would you like to expand your network and build relationships?
  • Do you feel stuck and want some fresh ideas?
  • Are you concerned about the future of USGS, its employees or Succession Planning?
  • Do you want to leave a legacy?
  • Are you a good listener?
  • Have you ever thought about being a mentor?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you are Mentor Material. The reality is, anyone who's willing can be a Mentor. The role does not require that you have experience teaching or coaching others. Something you see as simple, a small act on your part can be just what someone else needs to realize success.

The mentoring program continues to grow and change with each rollout and right now it's better than ever.

Apply online: 


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