The Internet is filled with articles about the importance of finding a mentor. And it’s true; having a good mentor can be incredibly valuable to your career and professional growth. A good mentor will act as a sounding board , provide you with advice, and help you to build relationships. But, mentor/mentee relationships are two- way streets. Mentees have a responsibility to do their part in order to make the relationship successful. Here are some tips on how to be a good mentee:
- Make sure that you are meeting regularly with your mentor. If you’re not seeing or speaking with one another on a consistent basis, you won’t be able to fully take advantage of your mentor’s guidance. Meeting in person is best, but when that’s not an option, you can always keep in touch through Skype, phone, or e-mail.
- Identify people in your mentor’s circle to whom you would like to be introduced and ask your mentor to make the connection. Building your network is your responsibility and you should leverage your relationship with your mentor to do that. You can also ask to attend an industry event that you know your mentor will be going to. While you’re there, you will get to meet other people who can be helpful to you.
- Ask your mentor for critical feedback. This is huge. It is so important to learn your weaknesses so that you begin the important work of improving and strengthening those weak spots. If you’re not doing that, you’re missing out on crucial opportunities for growth. It’s also important that you tell your mentor what feedback you have received from others so that he or she can help you fill in any blanks or give you their perspective.
- Discuss challenging assignments with your mentor. If you want to advance, you will probably need to take on assignments that are outside of your comfort zone. These stretch assignments will teach you important new skills and will help you get to the next level. By talking these assignments through with your mentor, you can benefit from his or her experience and use it as a helpful guide.
- Be grateful. Mentors take time out of their very busy schedules to offer you assistance and support. Never forget to show your appreciation for the work that they do. Thank them often, and when the opportunity arises, be sure to pay it forward.
If you have a mentor, what are some of the ways you contribute to your relationship?