So you’re starting your mentoring journey – either as a new mentee, or managing an organizational mentoring program for the first time. It can be daunting, so here we’ve collated some of the advice from last year’s most successful programs into one dedicated letter to you, or to share with your people; a letter, full of friendly advice from those who have gone before you, wishing you the best.
Don’t hesitate to join your program. I have heard others say that “Now is not a good time”. My belief is there is never a better time than when the opportunity first arises.
Be proactive and be honest with yourself and your mentor based on who you are and your values.
Set up clear goals for this mentoring relationship.
Be open to constructive feedback.
Be open to the possibilities the relationship brings and be clear on communicating your needs and desires.
Find a way to add value to the relationship. Mentoring is a two-way street and mentees can also help mentors grow.
Formalized and structured meetings with your mentor (book recurring meetings in outlook) help with momentum. Be yourself and be honest about who you are and what you want from the mentoring relationship. You can add value to your mentor as well so you maintain a two-way level of communication.
Reflect on your own experience and strengths – being honest about your skills and experiences first can help you find a good mentor–or be a good mentor.
Be intentional with your time. I regret not making the absolute most out of the program as I was so busy with work. I missed a few networking events and I regret not making the most of those opportunities.
Mentorship widens your horizons, embrace it whole-heartedly.
Be open to what kind of support your mentor can provide you. Your mentor may have coaching strengths versus networking strengths so while it’s good to have a clear idea of what you want going into the mentor-mentee relationship, just remember that they may be able to support you in ways you might not have expected. And be proactive! Follow up with people your mentor introduces you to or come into your catch-ups with ideas for you to bounce off your mentor.
Mentees need to be the ones to drive the relationship. Make the effort to book meetings, stay in touch, and continue the mentee/mentor relationship. Don’t expect your mentor to drive it for you.
Be proactive and make the most out of your mentorship.
Go in knowing you may not be matched with someone in an area of the industry that you’re interested in. It will no doubt surprise you, what possibilities are there.
Start the initial meeting with your mentor as a ‘get to know you’ session, then work out what you want to learn from them and how they can assist you in your career goals.
Have an idea of what you want from the experience for more constructive conversations with your mentor.
It is worth putting yourself out there and getting involved.
Use it as an opportunity to explore another person’s role and experiences even if you don’t have a concrete goal to achieve.
Offer structure by thinking critically about your career and what you’d like to do in the short, medium and long term. Be honest with your mentor and have frank discussions, including going into detail about specific experiences to learn from them.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and make contact frequently.
Learn, share, and grow from each other’s experiences and knowledge.
Be open and honest and take a good think about what it is you want to achieve.
Reflect, and seek to be clear with yourself and your mentoring partner on what you would like to get out of the program.
Be open-minded and true to yourself.
Make sure you meet up in person.
Have a specific goal to discuss and achieve.
Contact your mentor to try and strengthen that relationship as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and be willing to be vulnerable and voice your concerns or doubts. Ask for what you want.
Try to have some idea of what you want to get out of the program and be willing to do some deep, honest reflection.
Be proactive in engagement with the mentor. Respect each other’s time and effort. Have a goal and work towards it. Get regular feedback and seek advice.
Prepare before your sessions, go in with an agenda or three things you would like to share or discuss.
Be clear with what you want out of your mentor relationship i.e. do you want help with goals, specific advice or do you just want a more experienced voice in the industry? As you can’t assume, they will know what you want or need.
Make sure you spend time with your mentor; find the time to book time. Look at what you want to get out of the program; are you stuck and need help moving in the right direction, are you looking at what to study next? Come to the program with an idea of what you want out of it.
Be open and willing to feedback and suggestions from your mentor.
Go into the program with an open mind. Talk to people, tell your story get involved.
Be proactive. You can’t expect things will happen for you. You need to drive the relationship and your career yourself.
Do it. It’s so good and fulfilling to get the perspectives of others in your organisation or industry.
Be open and honest.
Be clear about what you want from the program. Be practical and reasonable in what you can achieve in the time frame. Be committed.
You only get what you put into the relationship. Challenge yourself.
Be proactive in setting up meetings. Don’t wait for a meeting to discuss something with your mentor, just reach out if you need help or advice.
Be clear on what you could get out of the relationship and genuinely express your interests and goals. Treat it like a coaching program in the beginning and continue like a mentoring relationship.
Yours sincerely, a brief selection of Mentors on Mentorloop.
Are you ready to bring mentoring to your organization?
Mentorloop makes it easy to design, match, build momentum, and measure your success. Speak with one of our Mentoring Experts to explore the right approach for your organisation, today.