We recently talked about the top ten best practices for mentors. But what about the mentees? Don’t worry, we have you covered!
Here are top ten mentee best practices from our 2015 Mentoring Matters Reader Survey:
1. Focus on achieving learning goals
- Learning is the purpose and the payoff of mentoring. It’s easy to get sidetracked and lose focus. After three cups of coffee and little work on leadership development, mentoring fizzles out. Goals help you stay focused, moving in a positive direction, and benchmark your progress.
2. Expect to drive the mentoring relationship
- Mentors are not mind readers. Be prepared to ask for what you need, when you need it. They won’t know what you need unless you tell them.
3. Create SMART goals that will contribute to your development
- Fuzzy goals result in fuzzy outcomes. Make sure your goals are crystal clear to you and your mentor. Goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
4. Be authentic, open and honest
- Your willingness to be vulnerable makes a significant difference in your growth and development. If you pretend that all is perfect, your mentor will never get to know the real you, and you will miss out on real learning opportunities.
5. Prepare for all mentoring meetings
- Advance preparation for mentoring sessions will save time, make meetings more efficient and result in more meaningful learning.
6. Stay connected and in communication with your mentor
- Utilize multiple ways to stay connected to your mentor. Regular and consistent communication is the name of the game, whether it’s face-to-face, email, Skype or telephone calls, the operative word is “and.”
7. Be willing to stretch and step out of your comfort zone
- Expect your mentor to challenge you with questions and learning opportunities that might take you outside your comfort zone. They may initially make you uncomfortable, but the stretch is what will maximize your learning.
8. Ask for specific feedback
- Your mentor’s honest and candid feedback will contribute to your self-awareness and get you to the next level. Practice asking for specific feedback and be prepared to receive it without being defensive. Share feedback with your mentor and act on what you hear.
9. Focus on the future
- It’s easy to get bogged down in day-to-day issues instead of focusing on your future. Keep in mind that mentoring creates momentum towards your future development. Be prepared to articulate your vision for yourself so that you and your mentor can create strategies for your future success.
10. Keep a journal
- You will want to make notes of conversations that reflect your learning, and also track your mentoring progress. A journal is a great place to record insights and questions in preparation for mentoring meetings. Although keeping a journal requires discipline and practice, it’s well worth the effort.
If you have other best practices that you’d like to add, please let us know!