How to be a good mentee
Mentorships are a proven method of upskilling and developing your expertise on-the-job. But while a mentor’s expectations are clear, two-thirds of Australians are unsure what’s required from them as a mentee, according to recruiting experts Hays.
Based on a survey of 1,253 people conducted by Hays, only 35% were confident that they know what’s expected of them when being mentored. 48% said they understood to some extent, while 17% admitted to having no idea.
“Often people assume it’s the mentor who shoulders the responsibility of ensuring a successful outcome from a mentorship, but the reality is that the mentee has a greater obligation to make the relationship work – and has much more at stake,” said Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand.
So, how can you be an effective mentee? Hays shares the following advice:
1. Respect your mentor’s time: Your mentor is voluntarily giving up their time to pass on their skills and knowledge to help your career develop, so Nick says you should be flexible and accommodate their schedule when sending each meeting invite. “Arrive a few minutes early to each appointment and always be thankful for their time,” he suggests. “Understand that sometimes schedules change at the last minute – and if you are the one who needs to reschedule, try to give plenty of notice.”
2. Communicate your purpose: You need to be clear about what you want to achieve from a mentorship to avoid wasting each other’s time. “Your mentor is not a mind reader, so set and discuss your specific objectives and then arrive at each meeting with questions or an agenda aligned to your overall goal,” Nick advises. “It may help to make a note of questions that come to mind throughout your working week that you could ask in your next meeting.”
3. Be prepared: Before every meeting with your mentor, Nick suggests that you prepare or collate relevant examples of your work. For example, if you’re asking your mentor for advice on report writing, bring along a draft report you are working on. This allows your mentor to provide relevant and practical advice.
4. Use new skills: A mentor will provide you with useful knowledge, guidance and advice, which will only be beneficial if you use it. “Don’t waste your mentor’s time – and your own – by failing to put into practice the new skills they’ve shared with you,” says Nick.
5. Provide feedback: Mentors want to know that their time and effort is having a positive impact on you. After all, they’ve invested time in you that they could have spent elsewhere. So, Nick advises that you always share with your mentor the successes you’ve had following their guidance.
6. Seek out multiple mentors: Finally, you can have more than one mentor simultaneously. “No one person is proficient in every skill or competency you want to master, so do not expect a mentor to provide guidance on topics outside their scope of expertise,” Nick said. “Instead, have multiple mentors to cover all the areas you want to develop.”
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