Mentoring has historically been common among men. Recently, however, mentoring has emerged as a popular concept in nursing and more and more references in the nursing literature describe the importance of a mentor to the nurse. Mentoring is also an important concept in doctoral education in nursing. This paper discusses both the development of mentoring and its use in nursing today. Furthermore, six important characteristics of the mentoring relationship which can vitally contribute to the development of the nurse leader are discussed. A mentoring relationship between a doctoral student and a more experienced professional can enable the development of leadership potential and significantly contribute to the development of competent professionals in nursing.