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4 Tips for a Successful Mentor-Mentee Relationship

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4 Tips for a Successful Mentor-Mentee Relationship

Did you know that 80% of CEOs have had mentors? And, that 35% of employees who don’t receive regular mentoring plan to look for another job within 12 months? Data from an Emerging Workforce Study conducted by Management Mentors shows how “more and more, people and organizations are recognizing the importance and value of mentoring.”

According to mentoring.org statistics, “90% of young adults who had a mentor are interested in becoming a mentor” and what is more, they are “130% more likely to hold leadership positions”.[1]

There are clear benefits to having a mentor, but how can you ensure you are making the most out of your mentor-mentee relationship? These six tips will help you develop a successful relationship:

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1. Create inspiring and personal role models

Mentees need to see their mentors as real life role models. In this sense, mentors need to be inspiring, but at the same time, there needs to exist a personal connection.

In one of her articles for Open Colleges, TV Presenter and Journalist, Shelly Horton clarifies how “personal connections have a bigger influence on professional women than celebrities do.” She also explains that “research from The Westpac Women of Influence Report from a few years ago, confirms that Australian women are looking to role models with a bit of integrity.” And according to the same study, “Australian women seem to aspire to be like women they know and respect personally. They look for attributes such as honesty and trustworthiness, good communication skills and respect for others”.

2. Set up clear goals and expectations

Mentor and mentee need to agree on their goals and mutual expectations from the beginning. According to Ellesse, author of Goal Setting College, even “before you approach someone to be your mentor, you’ll need to find out what you want to learn first so that you’ll find the right fit.”

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As a mentee, you need to make clear what you want to get from this relationship. It may be to help you secure funding, land your next big client or get a particular job. You will also need to know when do you want to accomplish your main objective. To be able to achieve your primary goal, it is recommended to break it down into smaller and more manageable goals that will help you get there. Both mentor and mentee should be aware of the objectives and agree on the completion time.

It is good to decide and schedule your meetings upfront as well as to talk about what will be the dynamic of your sessions together. Knowing what to expect from each other will be of great help to achieve the agreed objectives.

3. Mutual benefit

The principal beneficiary of this relationship should be the mentee. However, only a win-win situation will keep the relationship alive and fruitful. In this regard, mentors should also benefit from it.

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As a mentor, you may want to set up your own goals and have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with this relationship. It may be gaining knowledge in a new space and area of expertise, or perhaps to improve your coaching skills. In some cases, mentors are looking for new projects to invest in. Being the initiator’s mentor may get you first in line to invest when the moment comes.

4. Open and sincere communication

Communication is key in every relationship. But when it comes to professional mentorship, it becomes especially important, as neither side wants to waste time.

As a mentee, you should prepare the agenda ahead of the meeting and take the initiative in the topics you want to cover in each session. You should also raise the issues or questions and listen to your mentor’s advice. Soak up as much knowledge and advice from your mentor as you can. If you think your meetings are not being productive anymore or that you are not getting enough help on a certain area, your relationship may have run its course. But it is not the end of the world. If that is the case, be open with your mentor and explain the situation. It may be time to find a new person to discuss new concerns.

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As a mentor, you must be honest with your mentee. If they are not ready to take the next step in their business, you should make them aware. Always try to be constructive and explain what they need to work on before making a strategic move. Offering positive but sincere feedback will keep your mentee motivated and working in the right direction.

Overall, both sides need to be implicated in building a prosperous mentorship program. Exceptional communication and great commitment will be key for success, as well as mutual respect and a dose of trust.

Featured photo credit: Ann Brown via flickr.com

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Reference

[1] MENTOR: Mentoring Impact

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