Get the most out of being mentored – 3 top tips to get it right


You would be hard pushed to find a successful person who could not attribute at least some of their success to having had a great mentor.  If you have made the decision to be a mentee, or have already started down that path, do you know how to get the most of the relationship so you reap the most benefits?

The everywoman workbook, Getting the most out of being mentored (available for free download by members), has some great advice, tips and exercises to help you.  Chapter 4 covers how to put the right mentoring relationships in place and has three top tips:

  1. What to talk about
  • The mentor is there to help you, the mentee, improve your work performance in the short-term and professional and career development in the long-term.
  • Your goals, objectives and agenda are at the centre of this relationship which is driven by the dynamics of you and your mentor.
  • Your goals and objectives should be set in the first meeting and should always be the main focus.  Certain issues may arise that help or hinder that process and need to be addressed, but achieving the goals set should always be at the centre of any session.
  • Topics you might include in your goals are:
    • Changing people’s impression of you
    • Decision making
    • Career pathways
    • Dealing with a nightmare boss
    • Getting past a perceived career barrier
  1. Relationship boundaries
    • Be clear about boundaries or limitations from the outset to refer to if difficulties arise
    • Have periodic check-ins so all views are aired and dealt with sooner rather than later.  The key is not to let issues fester.
    • Mentors
  • Create a safe learning environment
  • Meet in neutral professional areas
  • Deliver on what is promised
  • Respect the uniqueness of the mentee
  • The goal is not to create a clone of yourself
  • State boundaries
  • Mentees
  • Respect your mentor’s time
  • Don’t confuse your mentor’s role with that of your manager
  • Take responsibility for your own actions and learning
  • Maintain the confidences of your mentor
  • State your boundaries
  1. Reviewing your session
    • The mentoring process will encourage you to think in ways you haven’t before and about your development from several different angles, which is an essential part of continuous professional development
    • Create a learning journal and record your experiences.  This will help you reflect on and enhance your learning through writing and thinking about your learning experiences.  Your learning journal should be about reflecting and thinking, not just a summary or description of what you did.
    • Ask yourself questions like:
      • What did I think about that session?  Why do I think that?
      • What did I say or discuss that surprised me?  Why?
      • What did my mentor say or suggest that I would not have thought of on my own?
      • Is there anything I need to mention to my mentor before the next session?

When done properly, mentoring should be an engaging, enjoyable and career enhancing experience.  If you have been, or are, a mentor/mentee, how did you find it?  How did you benefit?  If reading this post or others on the same subject on this blog has convinced you that mentoring will help you get to the next step in your career, what are you going to do now?  Please leave your thoughts / comments below and help other women in business share your experience.


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