Knowing just how to get the best from the time you spend with your mentor might seem a little daunting at first. But remember, mentoring is a two-way process. Once you understand that the difference between success and failure, it is very much down to you, the contribution and the commitment you’re prepared to make.
Mentoring is one of the most effective professional development tools on offer at the workplace by today’s go-ahead organisations and, apart from all the positive benefits you’ll gain (such as building self-confidence, increasing potential and receiving objective and honest feedback), you’ll find it will help underpin the success of your career.
Once you’ve selected the right mentor (usually someone who can act as a role model and isn’t too similar to you) there are some golden rules for mentees that will help you achieve the best results from your sessions.
The 5 golden rules for the “mentee”
1. Be open to new ideas and willing to explore your feelings
The more curious you are the better and the more likely you’ll be able to ask your mentor really insightful questions and get to see the bigger picture.
2. Be honest and prepared to share your thoughts and experiences
You need to trust your mentor as it’s important you tell them all about yourself – the good and the bad. It’s the only way you’ll be able to change and improve.
3. Take responsibility for your own development
It’s tempting to depend on your mentor to set goals. But it is you who is ultimately the one who must decide what it is you want to achieve; your mentor is there to provide guidance, encouragement and the support you need to take things forward.
4. Invest the necessary time to prepare for each meeting
Be willing to allocate sufficient time to do all you can to complete agreed actions points. Before you meet again, reflect and think about what you have achieved. Which things went well? Perhaps something got in the way of your plans? Make notes to bring with you – the more your mentor gets to know you, the better.
5. Your total personal commitment
Once you’ve agreed on an action plan in order to achieve your goals, your mentor needs to know you’re fully committed. “Yes”, must mean “Yes”. Be clear about the steps you intend to take, always ask yourself if they can be achieved in the time frame. Any doubts, then be honest with your mentor – understanding why you feel as you do will allow the relationship to continue to work at its best.