In a one-on-one mentoring relationship, many mentorees may make the mistake of assuming that the onus is on the mentor to prepare the schedule and the agenda for meetings with their mentorees.
The primary purpose of the mentoring relationship is to help to develop the mentoree. Therefore, the mentoree should be pro-active and help to create an agenda and a relationship that reflects the types of goals he/she would like to achieve. Mentors are offering their valuable time to their mentorees. It is the mentoree's responibility to make the most of that time (think "you get what you pay for").
Fast Company published an article titled 6 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Mentorship, Dear Grasshopper. In this article, an executive who has mentored many individuals for over 30 years, Alice Korngold, is interviewed. Korngold details one experience that stands out in her mind--unfortunately it is not a positive one. She says that her mentoree arrived at their first meeting completely unprepared. She felt that her time had been undervalued by the mentoree. “I felt an imposition that she hadn’t prepared. I think its the mentee’s responsibility to do their homework to understand the background, expertise, and value of the mentor, and ask for what they need.”
So how do you prepare for your meeting with your mentor? Here are 6 tips to help you get your mentoring relationship off on the right foot:
1. Be preparedPrepare yourself for your meeting with anything agreed upon and with an issue to discuss that's important to you. There is always something to discuss since events have occurred between the current meeting and the last one. The issue need not be monumental--sometimes simple things can lead to great discussions and insights.
2. Think commitment, not lip service.
3. Give back and get more.
4. Keep expectations realistic.
5. It's risky, but it's healthy.
6. Don't be afraid of your mentor's silence.
Homework, logistics, emotions. These are all important aspects of preparing for your meetings and your relationship with your mentor. Now, if you would really like to "WOW" your mentor, download our free resource Creating A Successful Mentoring Relationship and bring it to your first mentoring session. You and your mentor can map out a mentoring plan together and no one can accuse you of coming to your next mentoring meeting unprepared!
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