When dealing with a mentorship, there are a few things to be taken into consideration. A good mentor is constantly aware and improving his or her skills, so the mentee must learn how to a better mentee. If the two cogs fit symbiotically, it can blossom into a valuable relationship.
1. Remember That Your Mentor Is a Volunteer
First off, itís important to remember that your mentor is a volunteer, they are offering you help with a skill set that they have more experience in than the mentee, so there also must be a healthy boundary and respect. This person is taking time out of their life to help you develop skills that they are profoundly more equipped for than you are.
2. Take Responsibility for Your Own Learning
Remember that you are being led to the water, your mentor canít force you to drink. He or she has the potential to equip you with a knowledge they possess, but only if you are willing to take responsibility and absorb all the knowledge you can.
3. Develop Trust
A Mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor; a guide used as a tool for oneís own self-improvement whoís only responsibility is to help to pass along this guidance to one in search of it. Put faith into a mentor, their only goal is to improve the mentee. Trust can open up a crystal clear channel of communication, only enhancing the relationship.
4. Be Respectful of Your Mentorís Time
A mentor has a lot of potential for helping; but keep in mind they are most likely a very busy person. If you need to reschedule something, make sure to give at least 24 hours in advance. They are taking time out of their schedule to help teach the mentee.
5. Set Realistic Expectations with Your Mentor
The mentor is a guide, not a miracle worker; keep that in mind. They are not a life coach, they are professionals who are invested to help you cultivate your skill and proficiency. Remember they are busy professionals, so set attainable goals for your time spent together, and try not to expect too much from them.
6. Come to Each Meeting with A Prepared Agenda
This tip ties in with respecting your mentorís time and setting realistic expectations; If you have a prepared task list or set of intentions to achieve with your mentor, you are much more likely to stay on task and optimize the time you have together in an efficient way.
7. Be Open About Your Needs and Provide Feedback to Your Mentor
Just like a suit coat must be custom tailored to fit oneís body; as does a mentor to suit oneís needs. Make sure you are being open about the things being implemented, and your comfort level with the insight you are receiving. If your mentor is doing an exceptional job, do not hesitate to let them know, and show your gratitude. If you need a little more help with one topic, let them know; they are there for your benefit.
8. Recognize Your Mentorís Limitations and Appreciate Their Support
Again; remember your mentor is not a miracle worker, they might be a jack of all trades but they are a master of one. There are levels of limitations in their skill area where they might not be as proficient as you might hope, this is okay, and in fact just human nature. Capitalize on the skills they do exceed in, and appreciate the support given.
9. Take Appropriate Risks
The mentoring relationship offers you the rare opportunity of having someone committed to your progress toward goals. The mentor will help you think about ways to remove barriers and actions you can take. However, without trying some new actions, there may be little substance to the mentoring. Try new actions, assess what you learned, and use this to guide the mentoring conversations. Donít be critical on yourself for making mistakes, remember Rome wasnít built in a day.
10. Be Flexible, Keep an Open Mind, and Have Fun
A mentor and mentee relationship can be a beautiful, and useful way to enhance your own ability, so loosen up a bit; step outside of your comfort zone. Be constantly aware and thinking on ways to better yourself in the relationship, and make yourself as available as possible. The mentoring experience will hopefully be one you look back on throughout your career. And, while there is serious work involved, don't forget to have fun; laugh with your mentor, be adventurous and don't take things so seriously as to get in your own way!
To learn more about Insala's mentoring training solutions click here.