For most people, being a mentor or a mentee doesn’t come naturally, but everyone has the potential to succeed in a mentoring relationship. Sometimes, it just takes a little guidance.
This video series breaks down the first steps in preparing for mentorship, and provides tips for finding the right mentor to guide you in career growth, skill development, and other avenues of advancement.
How Does a Mentee Find the Right Mentor?
One question we hear all the time is “how do I find the right person to be my mentor?” There are several things to consider about yourself and the person you want to be your mentor before you make the ask. Make sure you’re considering all of these questions before you start your journey.
(Learn how Chronus’ MatchIQ suggests the best mentor and mentee matches with precision.)
How Can a Mentee Ask for Mentorship?
Asking someone to be your mentor can be a bit nerve racking, and sometimes even sweat-inducing, but just remember why you’re doing this – to learn from another person’s experience and ultimately improve yourself. Be sure to prepare yourself ahead of making the ask by answering these important questions.
How Should a Mentee Prepare for the First Meeting?
The first meeting between a mentor and mentee is very important. It’s where you’ll work out the details of your relationship–how often you should meet and how long your mentorship will last. It’s also where you’ll discuss the goals, both of the mentor and mentee, you want to aim to accomplish. Learn what to ask, what to say, and how to set yourself up for success.
How Can a Mentee Develop a Growth Mindset for Greater Mentorship?
Think you can’t teach the adult brain new tricks? Think again. This video breaks down how to build a growth mindset for great mentorship and skill development.
Additional Tips for How to Be a Good Mentee
Once you meet with your mentor, you’ll begin to realize that being a mentee means more than just listening and waiting for a career or job opportunity. In fact, for the experience to be successful, you too have some things you will need to do on your end to ensure you’re getting the most out of the relationship.
Take Responsibility for Your Own Learning
Your mentor is always there to give you the right tools and guidance to succeed. But the rest is up to you. Mentors don’t hand you jobs, promotions or connections. Instead, they provide you the direction needed to acquire those things for yourself. You have to take charge by asking the right questions and actively engaging in meaningful conversations. Make sure you’re paying attention to all the advice your mentor gives you, so you can later utilize it to reach your goals.
You will both need to learn to trust each other. This means being held accountable for your actions. While you are relying on your mentor to push you towards opportunities to gain new skills and engage new networks of people, they are also relying on you to fulfill your own promises. This means completing tasks that are asked of you between meetings, and dedicating time each week to be present at the meetings you set up within the relationship.
Be Respectful of Your Mentor’s Time
Mentors are often pretty busy people. While this can be a bit frustrating, you also want to make sure you’re not crossing any lines when it comes to communication or time management. Allow for rescheduling if your mentor winds up trapped in a meeting or completing a project. Make sure you establish the channels of communication open to you from your mentor. Is email preferred? Or would they rather communicate via texting? Also ask them what the best times to contact them are. Would they prefer a weekday communication over a weekend request?
Come to Each Meeting with a Prepared Agenda
While it’s much easier to come to a meeting and just listen to your mentor share all the industry details they know, you should also come prepared with your own agenda for the meeting. It is often up to the mentee to initiate and move the connection along. Have short-term and long-term goals prepared for them to discuss, and have your questions ready for them to answer. Tell them what you are hoping to accomplish meeting to meeting.
Be Open With Your Needs
You want to be open with your needs by having open communication. While there’s nothing wrong with soaking in information provided by your mentor, make it very clear what goals you have and what you are hoping to get out of the relationship. This will not only shape conversations and discussions during meetings, but allow your mentor to work on these goals outside of your meetings. This will allow you to find the right connections or information to help you reach your goals easier and faster.
Take Appropriate Risks
Having a mentor opens a lot of doors. Mentees are promoted five times more often than those not in a mentoring program. You can engage people you never thought you’d get the chance to speak with. But your mentor may also ask you to initiate the meeting yourself and attend without them. This may seem a little nerve wracking, but you have to put yourself out there if you want to take advantage of these opportunities. Allow your mentor to challenge you to do things out of your comfort zone.
Be Flexible and Open to Learning
Sometimes your goals may change halfway through the mentorship. You may realize that one of your goals was unrealistic. Or that another goal is more aligned with your passions and interests. You have to be open to these changes if you want to truly find success from your mentor. Sometimes your end goal is not what you think it is. And that’s okay. In fact, there’s nothing more exciting than finding out what truly inspires and drives you. Communicate this change with your mentor so they are aware of the goals and ambitions you’re interested in pursuing.
Being a mentee has a lot of opportunities. You learn more than you ever thought you would. And you’ll even find yourself achieving things you never thought possible. But how do you fully take advantage of this exciting relationship? As a mentee, it’s about more than just listening. You have to be engaged. You have to have goals and open communication. And you have to challenge yourself.
To learn more about mentoring program best practices read our in-depth guide on How to Start a Mentoring Program, or subscribe to our YouTube channel.