Helpful best practices for mentors and mentees to define their roles and expectations.
How To Be A Good Mentee? - 10 Essential Tips You Need To Follow
Mentor and mentee relationships can be really valuable. However, not all mentees are good at being a mentee. Here is what you can do to be a good mentee.
Mentorship is a great way to learn new skills or upgrade existing ones. Having an effective mentor can undoubtedly help you with career advancement, personal development and improve your sense of confidence pertaining to any profession you may be interested in pursuing.
The benefits of a good mentorship program are truly limitless. While mentors usually bear the heavy responsibility of effectively guiding their mentees and are accredited for the success of a mentorship program, the role a mentee plays is often overlooked. Just like in dancing, coordination and orchestration between both the partners are necessary for elegance and glory; mentees also need to match the tune of their mentors, without which, the success of a mentorship program can be underachieved.
Then, how to become a perfect mentee? Below, we have listed the ten essential tips you can consider to help you become an effective mentee and improve the overall mentoring partnerships.
- Seek Clarity On What You Need
To sustain an effective mentoring relationship, you need to clarify your specific needs and the precise subjects you wish to learn and improve upon. Take the initiative to prepare a list of insightful questions you may need to ask your mentor, communicate about your professional aspirations, interest, or any specific goals you wish to achieve.
If needed, you can even put forth requests to your mentors about sharing their experiences. That can help you understand the practicalities involved in pursuing a definite objective relevant to your interests.2. Respect Your Mentor's Time
Successful mentors are often known to manage their time judiciously. They have a demanding job, methodically handle multiple tasks, and in most cases, they usually volunteer to take on the responsibility of mentoring. As a mentee, you should learn to respect your mentor's time and promptly respond to your mentor's requests, statements, and remarks.
For instance, you should ideally give them plenty of notice to review your work, define goals for meetings proactively, and what you seek to accomplish during your meeting. Conversely, if there is a specific task assigned to you by your mentor, strive to complete it within the allotted time. In case of any delays, it is advisable to inform your mentor in advance. These are some of the excellent qualities of a mentee.
3. Be Realistic About Your Expectations
It would be best to be realistic about your goals and what you honestly expect to learn from the mentorship program. Accordingly, your mentor can undoubtedly give you the required level of support and advice, but they cannot solve your problems for you.
Mentors can put the situation in perspective, share their feedback, show you where you need to improve and how you can do it. However, they cannot do everything for you. Mentors are humans, and while they can show you the way, the path eventually has to be walked by you.
4. Be Highly Engaged
It is pertinent to note that mentees are energy givers, not takers. Maintaining excitement, enthusiasm, and hunger to move projects forward are often some of the most desirable qualities of a mentee. Mentors often prefer responding to mentees who are engaged and ask insightful questions.
Having a conversation with your mentor is generally more desirable than simply nodding your head to everything your mentor has to say. It is okay to respectfully ask them to clarify a particular subject matter they are explaining. Moreover, it sends a clear signal to the mentor that you are keenly engaged and sincerely desire to learn and progress. It also uplifts the mentors and motivates them to teach their mentees conscientiously.
5.Get Ready to Sail to New Horizons
While it is crucial to have a predefined set of goals and learning objectives you seek to achieve at the end of the mentoring program, do not be hesitant to learn matters that may fall outside your pre-planned list of targets.
For a mentorship program to succeed, be prepared to educate yourself about new topics. A mentor's job is to offer life advice and share their expertise based on practical experience about a particular subject. If the mentee shows any hesitancy, the whole mentorship program becomes ineffective.
6.Trust The Mentor’s Expertise
It is safe to assume that your mentor perhaps knows more than you do about subjects you want to learn. They have more experience, and the mentorship program traditionally has been set up in the context of an older, experienced employee guiding a younger and less experienced one. What makes this connection successful is trusting the expertise of the mentor.
Mentees need to respect and trust the authority of their mentors. While blind submission is not recommended, a mentee who is unwilling to accept a mentor's authority usually derails the mentorship program, rendering the whole effort futile.
7.Appreciate The Constructive Feedback
As a mentee, you should consider any positive or negative feedback as a gift. Do not let ego get in the way of any feedback, and be open to constructive criticism. Mentees should learn to assume that mentors wish the best for them and appreciate the feedback they receive.
Typically, mentees who are unwilling to accept the feedback should preferably speak to their mentor about their reasons. Communicating about the gap in their feedback or sharing your reasons for disagreeing can help the mentors change their perspective and understand your point of view. However, if mentees get unnecessarily defensive, it is generally a sign that their ego is bruised, and no positive progress can be made if the mentees are unwilling to learn from their superiors.
8.Maintain Effective Communication
To be a good mentee, communication skills are extremely crucial. You should attentively listen to your mentor and do not hesitate to communicate with your mentor if you need more clarification. Furthermore, identify your needs and communicate in a precise manner.
It may be helpful to create an action list and plot and condense your questions, thoughts, and doubts before speaking to your mentor, as it can ensure the time is spent wisely.
9. Create Added-Value
Mentees should identify opportunities where they can add value to the mentorship program. They should attempt to drive the relationship and ignore the prevailing notion that the mentor, being the senior colleague, should strive to maintain the mentorship. Mentees are often more suited for the task.
So take the opportunity to be valuable, set goals to be reviewed by your mentor, agree upon the workloads, and make suggestions on improving the collaboration between you and your mentor. For instance, you can send an article based on your recent discussions or by simply listening attentively to your mentor's requests and comments; you can follow the most typical advice experts offer on the topic of how to be a good mentee.
10. Exhibit Leadership Qualities
Demonstrating leadership skills is generally the hallmark of successful mentees. While they may not have the required skills and experience to take on a leadership role, mentees aspiring to become future leaders earn invaluable experience and knowledge through mentorship programs. Always strive to be a good leader by becoming a good mentee!
What can the mentor expect from you? Besides producing spectacular results with candour, exceptional mentees are clear about the help they need, select the right mentors to help them, complete tasks ahead of the scheduled time, respect their mentor's time, efforts, and authority, and actively strive to make the mentorship fruitful instead of simply relying upon their mentors to do everything. The partnership between mentor and mentee is rooted in reciprocity.
So, by adopting this guideline into your mentoring journey, you can become an effective mentee and create a harmonious studying/working environment with your mentor!