Advice Every Mentee and Mentor Needs
Taking part in a mentoring relationship can be an exciting and rewarding experience. To help you be successful in your relationship, it is imperative that you are prepared for what it means to be a mentee or mentor.
Understanding what mentoring is can be helpful in figuring this out. It can also be helpful to know some effective and ineffective characteristics of mentees and mentors. But on top of this, there are a few qualities that each of us can assess in ourselves that can help us determine our readiness to be a mentee or mentor.
Are you mentally aligned with what it means to be a mentee or a mentor? In a traditional mentoring relationship, the mentee may be younger or hold a less senior position than the mentor. But in a reverse mentoring relationship, that format is flipped on its head.
Having the right attitude about mentoring can help you be an effective mentoring partner.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about your mentoring attitude:
- Are you open to the idea that your mentoring partner could be vastly different from you, such as their age, gender identity, background, department, function, global location, nationality, etc.?
- Are you willing to share what you know?
- Are you open to learning what someone can teach you?
- Are you prepared to have honest conversations?
- Can you provide feedback in an effective manner?
- Are you ready to listen with an open mind and in a non-judgmental manner?
- Are you open to new ideas and advice?
Every relationship is unique, and the commitment required of you can vary. Some relationships may last a few months, while others may last for a year or more. Additionally, some may be more intense and require more of you than others, regardless of how long they last.
Are you ready to commit your time and energy to your mentoring relationship?
Here are some questions to ask yourself to assess if you have the availability needed to be a good mentoring partner:
- Do you have the time to commit to your mentoring partner?
- Do you have the mental capacity to give your partner the attention they deserve?
- Do you have the emotional energy needed to be a good mentoring partner?
- Can you commit to a set amount of time to collaborate with your mentoring partner each month (this could be in-person or virtually)?
- Can you be responsive to the needs and requests of your mentoring partner?
Mentoring is a relationship between two people, and as such, you need to be able to hold yourself and your mentoring partner accountable for actions taken. Some people may not feel comfortable with holding a superior or a peer accountable in a mentoring relationship, or perhaps they don’t feel a sense of self-regulation is required.
Being able to hold yourself and your mentoring partner accountable is critical for the success of your relationship.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to assess if you are ready for accountability in mentoring:
- Are you comfortable managing up, down, and sideways since your mentoring partner could potentially be anyone in the organization?
- Can you give and receive feedback in a healthy manner?
- Do you view mentoring as a partnership where both parties are responsible?
- What are your expectations of your mentoring partner in terms of communication, goal setting, taking actions, etc.?
- Do you have ideas on how you can hold one another accountable in your relationship?
These three areas for assessment can be a starting point for mentees and mentors. Many mentoring program administrators establish guidelines for their programs so that participants know what to expect when engaging in mentoring. Many also use mentoring software like River to help them manage their programs and the user experience, such as with integrated learning activities to help people meet the expectations others have of them as mentees and mentors.
Having a clear understanding of what is expected of you and honestly assessing if you are prepared for your role in a mentoring relationship can help set you up for success in your relationship.