Once you have a mentor it’s time to make the most out of the relationship. A mentor can do wonders for your career but being a mentee requires more than just showing up to meetings. A common mistake is to think that your mentor will tell you exactly what to do and will drive the mentoring sessions; the truth is you need to come prepared.
Here are 7 top tips to make sure you are a great mentee.
1. Come prepared every time
You should try to make life easier for your mentor. Show them that you're prepared, engaged, and willing to put energy into the relationship. You should be the one taking responsibility for scheduling your meetings. It’s best to come to each session curious with a question, if you can send the question to the mentor ahead of time, you are much more likely to stay on task and optimize the time you have together. Don't look to the mentor to drive the relationship and make sure that your time together is well used.
2. Be a good listener
Listening is an essential quality of a good mentee. Your mentor will always try to give you honest feedback and advice. It won’t always be positive but it will be constructive. Listen to what your mentor has to say and consider how you can use that information to improve. Whether you choose to take your mentor’s advice or not, listening to what your mentor has to share with you is important.
3. Be vulnerable
The first step to an effective mentoring relationship is to slowly expose your weaknesses so that your mentor can focus their efforts on what you need to do to achieve success. Let your guard down so your mentor can build you up!
4. Be communicative and open
If your mentor makes a recommendation and you don't agree with it, you need to speak up. It might just not be right for you at that moment in time. Having the willingness to push back a little, so you can work together to try to solve the fit, or at least talk about it, is very important as a mentee. Don't be afraid to ask for help whenever you feel like you're in the dark.
5. Listen to Feedback
A great mentee is someone who leaves their ego at the door and who is willing to hear and accept critical feedback in order to grow and learn.
Everything is subject to change, flexibility must be part of your mentoring relationship. As expectations evolve, goals change, don’t wait to see if your mentor gives you feedback! Ask for it.
7. Show gratitude
It's important to remember your mentor is a volunteer. They are taking time out of their own schedule to help you develop and grow simply because they value knowledge sharing. Be gracious about the time they are sharing with you.
For your mentorship to be successful all parties need to be involved and contribute actively.
Once as a mentee you have advanced enough in your career, be sure to return the favor and make an investment in another promising mentee. No one knows better than a mentee the impact that a mentor can have on someone's life.