When dealing with a mentor, there are a few things that needs to be taken into consideration. A good mentor is constantly aware of and improving their skills, so you must learn to continuously progress as a mentee. If you and your mentor fit together symbiotically, the mentorship will blossom into a valuable relationship.
This in mind, there are a few things you should understand before and during this relationship. Preparing yourself for your time with your mentor can help ensure that you have a happy and helpful mentor – mentee relationship.
Here are a few tips to help you create and maintain a healthy relationship with your mentor;
1. Remember Your Mentor is a Volunteer
It is important to remember your mentor is a volunteer. They have more experience in the field, and they are taking time out of their schedule to help you develop and grow, so there must be healthy boundaries and respect in your relationship.
This means as a good mentee, you should be aware of and minimize time wasters that occur during your meetings. Also ensure you show gratitude for the time and advice, and never act rudely or attempt to downplay their knowledge.
2. Take Responsibility for Your Own Learning
Your mentor cannot 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. Plus, you should absorb all the knowledge you can as asking the mentor to repeat themselves frequently is a waste of their time.
3. Develop Trust
Mentorship does not automatically establish trust between you and your mentor. It must be developed and nurtured. You will both need to work to establish trust at the beginning of the relationship. Having trust can opens up a channel of communication, which is important to the success of your mentorship.
4. Be Respectful of Your Mentor’s Time
Your mentor has a lot of room to help you but remember that they are likely busy people. Again, be respectful of this by cutting out time wasters in your meeting, and make sure you give them plenty of notice if you need to cancel or reschedule a session.
5. Set Realistic Expectations with Your Mentor
Your mentor is a guide. They are not going to do everything for you, they are going to mentor you. Expecting them to do so can lead to unsuccessful mentor matches. A successful mentee sets goals and expectations at the beginning to base the mentorship on a solid foundation and avoid awkward mishaps.
6. Come to Each Meeting with a Prepared Agenda
This ties in with respecting your mentor’s time and setting realistic expectations. If you have a prepared agenda for each meeting, you are much more likely to optimize the time you have together. However, make sure you stay consistent and set your expectations early. If your mentor says they will bring the agenda, let them.
7. Be Open About Your Needs and Provide Feedback to Your Mentor
Like any other relationship, your mentorship must be suited to fit your needs. But also like in any other relationship, your mentor will not be able to read your mind, so telling them what you need from them will allow you to flourish as a good mentee. Be honest if you need something to change and let them know if you don’t understand something.
Also make sure you tell them when they’re doing a great job and show them gratitude. They are there to help you, so they’ll be excited to know that it’s working.
8. Recognize Your Mentor’s Limitations
Your mentor may be phenomenal, but they will have a limit to their knowledge and abilities. Don’t get frustrated because they cannot help you but talk with them and work in areas where they can. If you need guidance beyond that which your mentor can give you, ask for their recommendations to help you find others who have the necessary skills.
9. Take Appropriate Risks
Mentorship offers the opportunity to have someone else committed to your progress. They will help you remove barriers and pull you out of your comfort zone. Don’t fight them on this. Leaving your comfort zone is often where the real work happens. Try new things and allow yourself to make mistakes.
Mentorship can be an amazing and productive way to improve yourself. Take advantage of this relationship and learn as much as you can but be constantly aware of ways to better yourself and the relationship. Flexibility will help you be a better mentee in this regard.
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Culled from: Isala.