How to be a good mentee
How to be a good mentee
A good mentor can change your career for the better. They’ll share their knowledge and expertise, open doors, guide your upskilling, offer career advice, and help you get ahead professionally. Their advice is invaluable and is given voluntarily, without expecting anything in return. But despite this, it’s common for people to think that the mentor is responsible for ensuring the relationship works.
In reality, a mentee has a more pivotal role to play. Why? Because they must make themselves ‘memorable.’ In other words, they must be willing to be open, honest, considerate, and accepting, while taking ownership of arranging meetings, preparing appropriately, and acting on the advice.
Yet, according to our recent survey, only 35% of more than 1,200 people we spoke to were confident that they knew what was expected of them when being mentored.
Considering all that they’ll gain from a successful mentorship, a mentee does have a more outstanding obligation than the mentor to make the relationship work.
So, how can you be an effective mentee? Here’s our advice:
1. Respect your mentor’s time:
Your mentor voluntarily gives up their time to pass on their skills and knowledge to help your career develop. Be flexible and accommodate their schedule when sending each meeting invite. Please arrive a few minutes early to each appointment and always be thankful for their time. Understand that sometimes plans change at the last minute – and if you are the one who needs to reschedule, try to give plenty of notice.
2. Communicate your purpose:
You must be clear about what you want to achieve from mentorship to avoid wasting each other’s time. Your mentor is not a mind reader, so set and discuss your specific objectives and then arrive at each meeting with questions or a plan aligned to your overall goal. It may help to note questions that come to mind throughout your working week that you could ask in your next meeting.
3. Be prepared:
Before every meeting with your mentor, prepare or collate relevant examples of your work. For example, if you’re asking your mentor for advice on report writing, bring along a draft report you are working on. This allows your mentor to provide relevant and practical advice.
4. Use new skills:
A mentor will provide you with helpful knowledge, guidance, and advice, which will only be beneficial if you use it. Don’t waste your mentor’s time – and your own – by failing to practice the new skills they’ve shared with you.
5. Provide feedback:
Mentors want to know that their time and effort are having a positive impact on them. After all, they’ve invested time in you that they could have spent elsewhere. Always share with your mentor the successes you’ve had following their guidance.
6. Seek out multiple mentors:
Finally, you can have more than one mentor simultaneously. After all, no one person is proficient in every skill or competency you want to master, so do not expect a mentor to guide topics outside their scope of expertise. Instead, have multiple mentors to cover all the areas you want to develop.