employees talking with potential mentees

Top 10 Tips For Being a Good Mentee

Being a mentee requires more than just showing up to meetings with a mentor. Mentoring relationships require a bit of work and significant input from the mentee. When the mentor and mentee are a good match and understand their roles, the mentorship will blossom into a valuable relationship. 

While you're here, get the free guide for employees: How To Find A Good Mentor (Accelerate your career & enjoy your work more).

We recommend training your mentees (and mentors) before the mentoring program begins to help mentoring relationships get off to a strong start. During training, participants should learn about their role and responsibilities within the mentoring partnership. 

Below, are our top tips for mentees that will prepare them to maximize their time with their mentor; leading to a happy and helpful mentorship.

Here are the top 10 tips for being a good mentee.

  1. Remember Your Mentor is a Volunteer
    First off, it’s 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 to become a good mentee. 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
    Your 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 open 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 a busy person. 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 these 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 stay on task and 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.

    While you're here, get the free guide for employees: How To Find A Good Mentor (Accelerate your career & enjoy your work more).
  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
    Your 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.

  10. Be Flexible and Learn
    A 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.

Best of luck with your next steps in mentoring.

Remember to get the free guide for employees: How To Find A Good Mentor (Accelerate your career & enjoy your work more).

Insala provides top-notch planning workshops, training, and software for mentoring programs and mentor matching. To learn more about Insala’s mentoring solutions request a demo.

Through innovative web-based SaaS technology, Insala partners with organizations to accelerate performance and drive evidence-based decisions for organizations and their people.

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