What does being a mentee mean?

15th November 2016 by Become Better

Finding a mentor is a powerful way of working towards achieving you goals and ambitions, regardless of where they lie. A mentor can be many things; someone who you go to for advice, a sounding board to bounce your ideas off or someone who can help you hone a particular technique or skill.

But what about the other half of the relationship? What side of the bargain does the mentee have to uphold? What does being a mentee mean?

The Definition

Put simply, a mentee is anyone who benefits from training, tuition or advice delivered by a mentor; i.e. a person of experience or expertise in a certain field. The mentoring can take many forms and be in any aspect of life, be it career, sporting, performing or the like.

A Mentee's Responsibilities

A common misconception is that a being mentee is a passive role, when quite the opposite is true. For a mentoring relationship to flourish, it is down to the mentee to be the driving force in the relationship. The mentee must assume the initiative to seek out and engage his or her mentor to secure the training or advice he or she needs.

Moreover, it's the responsibility of the mentee to input into mentoring sessions. This means actively contributing to discussions, offering opinions and coming up with creative ideas for further sessions and training.

In between sessions the onus is also on the mentee to practice, train or study in order to have progress to report back to the mentor at the next catch-up.

Qualities of a Successful Mentee

For a mentoring relationship to flourish a mentee should exhibit a number of qualities.

Commitment is imperative. A mentee needs to be motivated to stick at the mentoring relationship for long enough to produce the desired affects. This includes working between sessions to progress towards achieving goals and targets.

Flexibility is another key quality. A mentee should be prepared to listen and perhaps even alter the way they are doing things. Being able to schedule meetings around two people's busy lives is also a important.

Finally, openness is absolutely essential. A mentee must be able to speak about their goals, ideas and fears even if they feel uncomfortable doing so. By discussing weaknesses as well as strengths, a mentee can hope to improve and grow.

What a Mentee can Hope to Achieve

This links back to the point about the mentee taking the initiative in a relationship. What do they want to achieve? At the end of the day, it is the mentee who will be making the achievement - not the mentor. The hard graft has to come from the mentee themselves. Of course the mentor can provide training and guidance along the way but ultimately it is the mentee's responsibility to take the bull by the horns and work towards those goals.