“Your mentor isn’t there to do the work for you, they’re there to help you do your work better.” Forbes
Securing an amazing mentor is a win, but it’s only the first part of the journey. You have to give as good as you get to unlock all the benefits of the relationship.
Being a mentee requires more than just showing up to meetings with a mentor. Mentoring relationships require a bit of work and significant input from the mentee. When the mentor and mentee are a good match and understand their roles, the mentorship will blossom into a valuable relationship.
Below, are our top tips for mentees that will prepare them to maximize their time with their mentor; leading to a happy and helpful mentorship.
First, be clear about your needs:
Mentorship means something different to everyone. For some, it might be a valuable way to gain insights from someone with more (similar) experience. For others, it’s an opportunity to get a completely new perspective from a person in a different industry or at a different stage in their career.
You can be specific about things like;
- The career goals you’re hoping to accomplish
- How the mentorship will help you reach those goals
- The type of mentorship relationship you’re expecting
- How often you’ll connect and communicate with your mentor?
Take responsibility for your own learning:
Your mentor will not do everything for you, they can only give you tools and guidance. You must be willing to take charge of your learning by asking questions and actively participating in the conversations to become a good mentee. Plus, you should absorb all the knowledge you can as asking the mentor to repeat themselves frequently is a waste of their time.
Be open to feedback:
Your mentor is there to help you and feedback is very important here. They would be doing you a disservice if they didn’t provide honest, sometimes critical feedback. They aren’t doing this to hurt you. You have to be open to being coached and stay receptive to the things your mentor tells you. Closing your mind off will hinder any progress you could be making.
Respect your mentor:
This includes showing up to meetings prepared and on time, and understanding when things come up. They are donating their time to help you, so it’s important that you don’t take advantage of them. If they’ve offered to make themselves available by phone or email, don’t overdo it and contact them multiple times a day.
A mentor-mentee relationship could become a very long-term commitment. Go into it with a long-haul mentality and commit to putting in the work. Seek out a mentor that you want to work with long term. Being a great mentee means being dedicated to learning and practicing new skills. The more work you put into the relationship, the more you’ll get out of it.
Share your successes:
Mentors take on the challenge of helping a mentee because they genuinely want to provide value and share their experiences with others. Because of this, there’s nothing more rewarding for a mentor than knowing that they’ve made a positive impact on your career.
Mentors are giving up their time to share their wisdom and advice with you. If you invest in the relationship and show gratitude, you’ll both have an incredibly rewarding experience and grow your professional network for the future.
If you’re a mentor, sharing this with that struggling mentee could help foster a better relationship.
Do you have any question or comment? Do share with us in the comment section.