There is a lot written about how to mentor. There are mountains of courses, resources and guides for mentors. I spend a good deal of my time training enterprise mentors. But how about the mentee? A good professional mentoring programme matches and inducts mentees, provides on going support and makes sure when their mentoring relationship ends they are left "in a good place". A good professional programme also makes sure that:
- the mentee understands what their mentor will and will not do (including the boundaries in place)
- the legal and ethical issues surrounding mentoring for the mentee are explained and understood
- there is clarity about what the mentee needs to do if they feel or think the relationship is not working or broken down (hopefully the mentor will be paying attention to this too!)
- access to others sources of appropriate support such as advice are known and available
So you have found a mentor on your own. Great! Now what? Well hopefully, you have the right match to the right mentor for you, and you have discussed boundaries, expectations and set a confidentiality agreement before you start.
Here are my top ten tips for mentees who are about to embark on, or have recently started, a mentoring relationship.
1. Your mentor is there to support and enable, but the decision rests with you.
2. Mentoring is an equal relationship and a two way process.
3. Your mentor will learn from you and you from him/her, but he/she will NOT give you advice, train you, counsel you, give therapy or sort your problems out for you.
4. The ultimate responsibility for making your business or enterprise successful through the mentoring you have is down to you.
5. Use questioning when you need to understand more fully.
6. Be prepared to act and DO something as a result of your mentoring conversations.
7. Share your ideas and options, as your mentor will help you discover if there are more you haven’t yet thought of as well as think through the ones you have.
8. Communicate openly and honestly and open up about the issues as they arise.
9. Share your ambitions and goals as this will enable your mentor to help you focus on setting achievable goals and priorities.
10. Record actions and progress. Writing things down gives you a record of progress and serves as a reminder of what you need to DO to get the most out of the mentoring process.
Enjoy your mentoring!