Mentor and mentee relationships help individuals, at various stages of their careers, learn, grow and excel in their fields. Learn more!. A positive mentor–mentee relationship is essential for the mentee's development of teaching practices. As mentors can hold the balance of. Successful mentor/mentee relationships should be fulfilling and beneficial for all involved. Use these ten tips for a more effective and productive relationship.
Perhaps you can make a referral or introduction. Maybe you can be a sounding board or second pair of eyes. This will make any mentor more inclined to work with you in the future, and is a key part of providing positive energy.
The 10 Commandments of Mentorship Yes, we know that title is cheesy, but there are 10, and they truly should be heeded in order to make mentoring matter. Some are more for mentors, some are more for mentees — but both should keep them all in mind.
Don't use the word 'mentor' A little ironic for an article all about mentorship, but nearly all of the mentors we spoke to identified use of the word as the number one reason they were dissuaded or disinclined to talk to someone.
It carries some negative connotations with it: This type of mentee approach is much preferred: Might you have time to meet for coffee? Always buy them the coffee. You sit down with your mentor every so often, buy them coffee or a beer, and then download their wisdom. The best way to prevent this is to use your first meeting to deepen your personal connection.
All of this will factor into how the work itself can be approached optimally, and will highlight issues that might need to be worked through. Where do they live? Where does it cause worry or stress or inspire enthusiasm?
If a mentee is struggling with relationships with executives, hiring decisions, gaps in their skill set, motivating their team — having a more developed sense of who they are as a person will help elicit the best advice for handling it. Personality, introversion, extroversion, how they manage time, and what they enjoy doing will all make a difference.
This also sets a more conversational cadence for all future interactions. It makes everyone human, emphasizes what is shared in common and is more bi-directional.
It also breaks down what might be an intimidating power dynamic, and makes you feel more comfortable as peers. They highly encourage mentees to treat meetings the way they would 1: Mentors can then read through the day before and come armed with their own questions, more prepared thoughts, and a sense for how they want to contribute.
A good rule of thumb is for mentees to come with one topic they definitely want to address, and a short list of questions that will get them the clarity they need on that topic. When communicating this to mentors, consider framing your questions as: Don't boil the ocean in every meeting One of the hazards of mentorship meetings is that there can be far too much to discuss.
Very few startup professionals only have one major challenge or problem on their plate. This will only limit how deep your conversation can go on the issues that matter most.
Be really intentional about picking the questions you really want to solve in the space of an hour. Try to keep things really tied to the decisions that need to get made, or the solutions that need to be found. If a meeting agenda is too jam-packed, or if things start with the mentee listing too many concerns, call a timeout and rewrite that agenda.
Mentor and mentee should take five minutes to co-create a more realistic and focused punch list. Ask your mentor to check your blind spots Experience gives mentors a different vantage point to see a lot of what you, as a mentee, may not.
Ideally, they have been in your shoes earlier in their career. For example, one sales mentor saw that her mentee had trouble closing deals.
We Studied Mentor-Mentee Matches — Here’s What Makes Mentorship Work | First Round Review
The mentor had been in this position before, and knew that it was actually because she was reaching out to the wrong type of customer. They can tell you how the story is likely to end to save you time going down roads yourself.
One of the best meeting progressions Narcisse has seen is: Mentor explains how they've tackled a similar challenge. Mentee explains how conditions might be different based on their business or situation. Look for themes and organizing principles Some of the greatest value a mentor can provide is identifying themes in what their mentee shares and providing broader, organizing principles from their experience that can solve many problems at once.
This is an area where mentors can provide pretty unique value.
Consider looking across agendas for your meetings, and any notes you take. What situations continue to emerge? Can they be batched into themes? Is there a type of problem that's giving a mentee more trouble than others? Is it possible to take on all at once? For example, one mentee was having trouble making staffing decisions.
His mentor was able to share a framework for easing these types of decisions across functional areas.
Ten Tips for a Successful Mentor/Mentee Relationship
Be honest and transparent This is critically important on both sides. This is what will make mentors effective at tackling real situations. Great trust and respect need to be established immediately. To alleviate this, mentors should aim to be very transparent themselves upfront, sharing something that highlights their vulnerability or that they are willing to share something fairly sensitive.
Remain engaged and committed to bringing your full intellectual horsepower to each meeting, and the trust will follow. Don't give homework — focus on execution None of the mentors we interviewed gave homework to their mentees. Instead, you want to gauge progress by checking in regularly on what a mentee has accomplished between meetings.
Then at the beginning of the next meeting, immediately check in: For mentorship to make a difference, a mentee needs to commit to executing what they say they will. To set up what can reasonably be done by the next meeting, Narcisse recommends that mentees choose their most pressing challenge and say: How does that sound to you?Mentoring Series: The Role of a Mentee
She warns against mentees directly asking mentors what they would do. Mentees creating agendas should build in time at the start of each meeting to review what was done and how it worked out. What was the outcome? This is where mentors shine — unpacking why things went the way they did.
Make sure mentors are learning too Keeping both parties energized about the relationship depends on mutual learning. Mentees can do their part by asking mentors what they want to learn or know more about to see what they can contribute.
How to better explain concepts and tactics. That he wanted to be an executive coach. It made me rethink my career. How to think more deeply about relationships with their own bosses and reports. You want to socialize important questions, collect responses, and then triage. You might call this your Personal Board of Directors, and consider treating these relationships the way a company might interact with its board. The handy thing is that you can ask your primary mentor for introductions to others in their network who might be able to illuminate different topics, angles or solutions for you.
For example, one mentee had three areas she wanted to tackle with her mentor, and one was management. Instead of trying to offer advice himself as a relatively new managerhe introduced her to a woman who was a tier of leadership above him to provide greater perspective.
I also have a list of folks who I always recommend. Finding the right match and nurturing the connection can lead in any number of directions — to new jobs, new disciplines, and to lifelong friendship. But it requires diligence, preparation and continually asking yourself the questions that will keep you on track with forward momentum.
The advice presented above is designed to help both sides make a positive impact on one another. And once we do, we have to treasure these relationships as something rare and precious. I can think of few better professional resolutions as we all head into A lot can be gained from cross-generational mentor relationships, whether the mentor is younger or older than the mentee. An authentic and powerful mentorship can occur when two people come together, regardless of age or years of experience, to support and provide feedback to one another.
Knowing that someone is willing to be present and offer wisdom and guidance can be life changing.
About the Mentor-Mentee Relationship
Mentoring works best when there is a parity of respect between the two parties, combined with a level playing field. This means that there is no grandstanding or power plays by the mentor and no feelings of intimidation or hesitation on the part of the mentee.
Tips for the mentor: Be clear on the purpose of the mentorship. In other words, what do you hope to accomplish by mentoring this individual? What would you like to get out of the relationship? Be available as promised. When you and the mentee agree to meet, or talk on the phone on certain days and times, honor that commitment.
About the Mentor-Mentee Relationship | Mentoring for Success | Western Michigan University
Be fully present and honest with your feedback and comments to the mentee. The mentee is there to learn from you and to grow in their capability. They can only do that if you are authentic and share your opinions and recommendations in all honesty.
Tips for the mentee: Be clear on the purpose of this engagement. What is the goal of this relationship?