Top Tips for Mentees

19th December 2016 by Become Better

No matter what your goals or ambitions are, be they career driven or otherwise, working with a mentor is a fantastically valuable way to help you succeed. Being able to draw from the wealth of a mentor's experience and having someone to bounce ideas off can have all kinds of benefits, from the subtle to the dramatic. Often glints of insight may become valuable months or even years after they've been imparted in ways you would never imagine.

Finding a mentor can be challenging - although that's a topic for another article - this guide is full of useful tips for mentees looking to get the most out of a mentoring relationship.

1. Give and take

A mentoring relationship is a two-way contract and for it to flourish you need to give as well as take. This means offering your own input, speaking about your goals, strengths and weaknesses and contributing actively to discussions. By doing so you'll spark interesting and engaging conversation, but you'll also give your mentor a broader picture of who you are and what you want to achieve. In turn, this will allow him or her to tailor their advice and assistance.

2. Honesty's the best policy

This really follows on from the previous point about actively inputting into sessions and conversations. Be yourself, speak about your fears and ambitions; it's ok if it feels a little risky or uncomfortable. By opening up and probing your thoughts and ideas you'll develop a closer and more beneficial relationship.

On the other hand, you should be prepared to speak up if you feel something isn't working. If the relationship isn't going in the direction you want or you feel you're not getting enough out of the sessions it's important to say so before you waste each other's time. It may be possible to steer the relationship back onto the right track or, in some cases, it might be better to call it quits and move on.

3. Keep track of your goals

At the outset of your mentoring relationship it is a good idea to draw up a set of goals for you to work towards. If they're long term goals you might want to break them up into shorter milestones. You should then periodically evaluate your progress in meeting these milestones and work out the steps you need to take to meet the next. This will help keep you on track and motivate you to keep working towards those larger goals.

4. Be creative

The onus is as much on you as your mentor to come up with creative session ideas to keep things interesting and productive. Meeting up over a coffee every fortnight is great, but consider doing things together that are relevant to your goals to really move the relationship on. Examples might be attending a conference together, spending some time in a studio or going down to the track to hone your technique.

5. Be flexible and reliable

Finally, being as flexible and reliable as possible is absolutely essential for a successful mentoring relationship. It is highly likely that you and your mentor have busy lives and so fitting in sessions as and when is crucial. Consider catching up over Skype or FaceTime if time is particularly short; touching base for just a few minutes is far better than having no contact at all for long periods.

It goes without saying that turning up for scheduled sessions is a must.

By following these simple tips you'll give your mentoring relationship the best chance of success. All being well you and your mentor will get off to a flying start and you'll be on the way to achieving your goals in no time at all!