Renaldo and his mentor were three-quarters of the way through the mentoring year. It was September and he suddenly realized that only three months remained and he still had not accomplished his learning objectives. His goal was to become more promotable by gaining exposure to operations in different parts of the company. He decided that he had to get back in the driver’s seat and have a conversation with his mentor.

Renaldo: I really want to make the most of this relationship in the time we have left. I don’t think I have worked as hard as I should have at focusing on the goals we set early in our relationship. I got caught up in some really great conversations and I allowed that time to take the place of the experience I was seeking in getting operations exposure. 

Mentor: Tell me more. What exactly do you mean?

Renaldo: Well, a lot of change has been happening in the Company and we talk about that a good deal of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I am learning a lot from those discussions but I realize now that we haven’t made much progress on the goals we set. I’d like to spend our time today reviewing those goals and maybe even redefining them. Is that okay?

Mentor: I am glad we are having this conversation. So, what are you thinking?

Renaldo: I really want more exposure in the company. I figure that once I get a broader picture it may help me identify another opportunity in the company where I can make a much more significant contribution. I want to make the most of the time we have left and see if we can still put a cross-functional project in place that would give me an expanded exposure to at least one other area. With three months left, do you think there is time to identify a good project for me? I am really ready to take one on.”

Mentor: Good! Let’s get started.

If you are a mentee, you can accelerate your own growth and development by being proactive and asking your mentors for what you need when you need it.

If you are you not getting what you need from your mentoring relationship, it may be that you are not asking for what you need!

What Is Getting in Your Way?

  • I don’t feel comfortable with my mentor yet
  • I am afraid that by asking I am exposing my weakness
  • I don’t know how to “make the ask” in a respectful way
  • I don’t want to appear incompetent
  • I am afraid of the repercussions
  • I am a shy person


What You Can Do

  • Speak up.
  • Be specific and descriptive in asking for what you need.
  • Offer the reason for why you need what you are asking for.
  • Make sure that what you’re asking is clear and understandable.
  • Be direct and get to the point quickly.
  • Be authentic.
  • Check for understanding when you receive feedback.

Take the initiative. Get back in the driver’s seat. Make it a habit to ask for what you need. The more specific and descriptive you are in asking for what you need the more you are likely to succeed.