A mentor is a person who takes a special interest in the professional development of a junior colleague and provides guidance and support. Mentoring can be beneficial for students, residents, junior colleagues and researchers and can be very rewarding for the physician who provides this guidance. Although mentoring is a well-recognized topic in academic medicine, relatively little has been written about mentoring in emergency medicine (EM). Consequently, we conducted a literature review on mentoring in EM and present our findings in this paper. We discuss different models of mentoring, factors that foster the development of strong mentorship programs, the responsibilities of mentors and mentees, and issues specific to mentorship of female, minority and research physicians. We also present several case scenarios as a basis for recommendations for teachers and learners in EM.