Post by Jane K. Stimmler, contributing Women On Business writer
If you’ve been lucky, you have had the opportunity to be a mentor or to mentor someone else. Hopefully, this has been an enjoyable and enriching experience. Taking on either role involves many challenges and responsibilities, as well as rewards, so today’s blog has some advice for both mentors and mentees.
Being a mentee provides a unique opportunity to grow and learn from someone with greater and different experience than yours. You often forge a positive long lasting relationship with your mentor. Here are some pointers to keep in mind for your role as a mentee.
5 Rules for a Mentee
- Plan to call or visit your mentor at least every six weeks to keep the relationship fresh, unless the mentor is so senior that fewer meetings are appropriate.
- Check in with her when one of her ideas or introductions has worked to tell her what happened.
- Don’t be concerned if your mentor doesn’t embody all the styles and behaviors you are trying to improve. Take advantage of those she does offer!
- If you see your mentor getting in trouble or sidelined in her career, be ready to rethink your strategy. Are you overly associated with her? Would it be wise to disengage?
- Give permission for your mentor to be candid in giving you feedback on your style after a meeting, conference call or interaction. Don’t be defensive when you receive tough feedback!
On the other hand, being a mentor requires some guidelines too, as you’ll see when you take on this role. In addition to giving of yourself, the experience will also help you review, learn and improve your own skills. Effective leaders are known for mentoring others in their companies, so making time for this activity is essential.
5 Rules for a Mentor
- Find the time for a mentoring relationship – the rewards are many.
- Promote your mentee in meetings and discussions whenever possible.
- Look for other colleagues whom your mentee may benefit from knowing and make appropriate introductions.
- Understand your mentee’s strengths. Watch for projects and initiatives that match her skills and interests, and nominate her for participation.
- Help your mentee by selecting her most important areas for improvement and concentrate on those.
— Breaking Into the Boys’ Club 2009.
What have you experienced as a mentor or mentee? Please join the conversation!