“Mentorship is a two-way street — a relationship between humans — and not a transaction.”
Behind every successful individual, there is a panoply of people, including mentors. Learning from a mentor is invaluable to a person’s success. Mentors can help us have an insight on what they do, but most importantly learn about the challenges that have shaped them.
Finding a mentor is great, but how to make the most out of your mentor is the biggest challenge. Having tasted both sides of the coin (being a mentee and a mentor), I’m sharing with you three lessons I’ve learned that will surely help you make the most of your mentor-mentee relationship as a mentee.
1. Take initiative
As a mentee, you have the responsibility to make the first move. You cannot reap if you don’t sow. Likewise, you cannot learn from your mentor if you do not ask or if you do not engage with him/her. Therefore, take initiative: invite your mentor for coffee, or ask if you can shadow him/her for the day. At the end of the day, the more you invest in building and maintaining the mentor-mentee relationship, the more you will benefit from it.
2. Set your expectations
As a mentee, you should set your expectations. If your objectives are not well defined, how can your mentor effectively help you reach your goals? Communicating your expectations will let he/she know what you want to get out of the relationship, and it will help him/her develop a strategy that is better focused on your needs. Ergo, concise and effective communication will enhance your professional ties.
Mentors go out of their way to support you in your endeavours: they put time aside from their busy schedule to answer any questions you may have, introduce you to new people, etc. Therefore, it is crucial that you value their time by showing up on time. Moreover, you should be respectful of their opinions and have an open-minded approach. Mentor-mentee relationships are about dialogue and sharing.
Being mentored is definitely a great way to help advance your career. As you set out for your summer co-op placement or summer job, if assigned a mentor, value this relationship, as you never where it can lead you to!