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Learn How a Mentor Can Help Drive Your Career Forward
Over the years I have been fortunate enough to experience a variety of mentor-mentee relationships. While some were the ideal match, others weren’t; however, the interesting thing is they had similar results. Either way, I learned from the experience and grew in some way, shape or form. Take my learnings to maximize your mentor relationship from day 1!
Use these 5 Tips to Maximize Your Mentor Relationship:
This is huge! Both Mentor and Mentee have to believe in the relationship and what they want to learn from it. As a Mentor, you are there to guide, inspire, and share. As a Mentee, you are there to learn – take advantage of this opportunity and trust that your Mentor has your best interest in mind. By having the same vested interest, both parties are accountable to the partnership. Believe in the process, the partnership, and the results!
2. Have the End Goal in Mind
Both parties should know specifically which Top 3 take aways they want from the partnership. This can vary. Identify if they are short term or long term goals? Do you tackle one at a time or is it a combination of a few? Mentors can learn from their Mentees just as much as their Mentees learn from them. Have your goals in writing; this is a great thing to revisit after a set time period to check in milestones. It’s a measureable guide to have so that everyone is focused and understands the expectations from Day 1.
3. Risk – Take It!
Especially for Mentees, this is the time to voice it out and take a risk without potential penalties. Have an idea that you think is totally crazy and would never pitch to your manager? Say it out loud to your Mentor and ask for candid feedback. It might not be as “crazy” as you thought.
Let me encourage you by sharing a story where I personally had a great experience by taking a risk as a Mentee. I was doing my yearly goal setting and asked for a quick feedback over email from a Vice President I had worked with on a previous project. I know she was extremely busy and I was not expecting to get an answer right away (or at all, what was I thinking emailing a VP when I was an entry level manager?!)
Not only did she go over my goals and gave me the candid feedback, she took the time to seek me out in person (huge for a remote manager like me!) and even shared with me how she does her goal setting. I was floored, amazed and extremely empowered from this experience. For Mentors, this is a great way to “lose sight of the shore” so to speak. You can live vicariously through your Mentee’s ideas without risking that fiscal budget.
4. Drive the Bus – Mentees This is Your Cue!
Mentors are typically volunteering their time and expertise to this partnership. Make it as “turn key” as possible for them and be organized. Know what you want to discuss in the next meeting, pre-book the meetings and try not to cancel at the last minute.
Mentors – we get that you’re busy but you have made this commitment so stick to it! I had a Mentor once who was a very busy executive. He had 30 minutes for me every month over the phone and that’s it. Though some might think this was not the ideal situation, it actually worked in our favor. For each meeting, I prepared and sent him 3 questions and we spent 8 to 10 minutes discussing each one during the call. I literally had a timer on! It made the meeting extremely productive and I got my questions answered in the time frame that we had.
5. The Experience – Make it Great, Make it Last, Make it Memorable.
For both Mentee and Mentor, this is an experience. It’s something that may or may not be a career changing “A-ha!” moment or simply a great life experience. Whatever it is, make it a great one, where both can look back on it and say, “I learned from that experience.” During my time as Mentor with the Women In Leadership (WiL) Vancouver Chapter, I heard Judy Brooks who was the co-founder of Blo Dry Bar speak with her daughter Devon Brooks in one of our team sessions. She said that she’s not attached to each project as if it’s her “baby.” She believes that by being able to leave a legacy that someone else picks up and make it their own, grow it to be their own version is the true measure of success. And this I would say is one of the best piece advice I have ever heard!
What has been your mentorship experience? What was the best advice you have ever heard? Share below!
I look forward to hearing about your experiences,