Powerful women will tell you: having a mentor is an invaluable asset to achieving your personal and professional goals. The value of a mentor is immense -- Mentors are there to help guide you, offer advice and impart their knowledge to you. But as a mentee, how can you ensure that the relationship is good to both you and your mentor?
Here's how to make the most of your mentor-mentee relationship:
Mentoring expert, Lory A. Fischler of Leadership Development Services in Phoenix, Arizona and author of The Mentee's Guide: Making Mentoring Work for You (by Lois J. Zachary and Lory A. Fischler) says that it’s important to be candid with your mentor.
“Be open and honest with your mentor about your challenges on the job, weaknesses in your leadership, and feedback that you need to address. Your willingness to be vulnerable demonstrates your commitment to mentoring and strengthens your relationship with your mentor,” says Fischler.
Everyone is busy. You are. Your mentor is. So, part of being a good mentee is ensuring that you make the most of the time you have with your mentor by preparing for your calls and what you’d like to discuss. “Prepare an agenda or points for discussion and send them to your mentor in advance of your meetings. An outline of topics for discussion aids in reflection and helps you crystalize your thinking before you meet,” says Fischler.
This will also ensure that you are efficient in the use of your meeting time. “Your mentor will appreciate your preparedness and the serious way in which you approach the engagement,” says Fischler.
For your mentor, it’s important that they know they are making a positive impact on you – and that you are heeding their advice. That shows them that the time they allot to you is both valuable and useful.
Part of this is pushing yourself to do more and do better. “Identify stretch goals that will truly impact your success, push you, and produce discernible results. Your growth during the relationship is what motivates your mentor to continue to allocate the time. They see tangible evidence that they are making a difference,” says Fischler.
Don’t have a mentor?
Here are some resources on how to choose one:
- The Art of Finding a Mentor
- Why You Need a Mentor – And How to Find One
- How to Choose and Work with a Mentor
Sarah W. Caron is a writer, editor and recipe developer based in Connecticut. Check out her site about going after big life dreams, Sarah by the Sea.