Mentees, especially those new to mentoring, often think that it is presumptuous to ask their mentors for what they need. Sometimes it is the fear of intimidation; the mentor’s position and power in the organization that gets in the way. And sometimes, it is sheer gratitude and respect for a mentee’s time and attention that precludes a mentee from asking for what she needs.

Meet Amy.

Amy admired Peter. She observed his can-do attitude, self-confidence and knew from her colleagues how much people respected and looked up to him. He commanded a room from the moment he entered it and knew a lot about a lot of things. She envied his talent and coveted his knowledge. Peter was Amy’s role model for effective leadership and she wanted to be like him. So, she asked Peter to mentor her.

She wasn’t surprised that Peter was as good at mentoring as he was with everything else. She was captivated by his stories and blown away by his business acumen.  She wanted to know more about his career path and what made him into the strong leader that he was today but she was afraid to ask. She didn’t want to be seen as nosey.

Third quarter results were lack luster and the pressure was on. By fourth quarter, everyone, including Peter and Amy, had more to do than they could handle. She was busier than ever and Peter was out of the office more than in it. Mentoring screeched to a halt. She wanted to meet but was afraid to ask. She didn’t want to be seen as pushy and needy.

Amy’s performance evaluation and 360 results were somewhat disappointing. She really wanted a sounding board and the wisdom and advice of her mentor. Reluctant to let Peter see her weaknesses, she was afraid to ask.

There is an old saying, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” If you are in a mentoring relationship, take the shot. Otherwise, you may never get what you need.

 Are you getting what you need from your mentor? Don’t be afraid to ask!

  1. Check in and check things out
  2. Stay connected
  3. Define deliverables
  4. Ask for feedback
  5. Give your mentor feedback