Mentorship is a journey. We always need to prepare for journeys, packing, making sure the itinerary and budget are in order, making appropriate reservations, among other things.
Having identified a mentor and wishing to begin the Mentorship journey with them requires one to be prepared as in any other journey.
While seizing a mentorship opportunity is one thing, being able to make the most out of it is another. Many people are unable to have successful mentorship because of deficiency in the ‘how’ to go about mentorship. The ‘how’ to maximize on the mentorship experience.
Below are 10 mentorship tips for a mentee.
1. Be authentic. Be you. Don’t give any false impression of who you are. Be genuine with yourself. This way, the mentor will know you for your true self and will be able to guide appropriately. Otherwise if you project the identity of someone else, then the mentorship will be for the ‘other’ person and not tailor-made to suit you. It takes courage to be yourself and to be comfortable in your own skin. Even so, the better you are at being yourself, the better the mentorship experience.
2. Have clear set goals and expectations. Understanding of your ‘why’ in mentorship is crucial. Your goals should be clear from the beginning. This reduces the chances of discontentment. In parallel to this, it gives the mentor a clear picture of the expected results. Goals create proper grounds for evaluation. It can be related to the finish line in a race, the mark of completion which is the target for every contestant.
3. Value feedback. Feedback is a stepping stone. In the mentorship journey, you will receive feedback from observations, assignments given and progress made. Feedback may not always be positive. Being told you are not doing something right or as ought to be done is a hard pill to swallow for some individuals. However, feedback actually opens the door for much more meaningful interactions and advancements. Listen carefully and actively to any reviews / analysis that you receive.
4. Take action on the feedback given. While receiving feedback is one part of the equation, the other part is working on the feedback given. If it’s positive feedback, it means you are on the right track and need to keep doing what you are doing. If the feedback is not positive, it means there is room for improvement. It’s an opportunity to level up. From it you can create an action plan to work on the things that you didn’t perform well in. A mentor would be impressed with a mentee who receives feedback, actions on it and seeks to grow out off any mistakes made.
5. Be open to learn. A closed mind is one which is not open to learning new things. It is a mind that is fixated only on one way of doing things. It is an incorrect mindset. Mentorship requires you to have the correct state of mind, openness. Ability to learn new things and unlearn some of the things you already know. It represents a desire to know more and handle more. It invites responsibility and with it comes growth. As a mentee, Eliminate any mental barriers and be ready to learn.
6. Ask questions. A mentee is a seeker. A mentee digs deeper. A mentee doesn’t accept to remain on the shallow end. They are in need of depth, they are in need of more. Be curious and Ask questions. Do your research prior to meetings with the mentor, considering your agenda and come up with proper questions that will enhance you in the subject matter. For example, for someone seeking to establish their online business, they could ask their mentor; ‘How did you grow your online presence?’
7. Respect. Respect yourself and respect your mentor as well. Respect them by being always on time, submitting expected assignments or research as required and not using inappropriate language that would cause someone to be uncomfortable. The chances of your receiving respect back are higher if you give it yourself. Respect the mentor’s personal space as well and understand that they too have their own careers and personal lives. It is thus important to establish the best time and channels to be using for communication.
8. Add value to the mentor as well. As we had mentioned earlier in other articles on mentorship, it ought to be mutually benefiting to both the mentor and mentee. Hence, the mentee needs to find ways to add value to the mentor. This will come easier if you are genuinely interested in the life of the mentor. Find out the type of books they read and recommend some to them. Inform them of events and opportunities they would be interested in. Giving honest feedback to the mentor also adds value to them because they get to know how they are performing and also the areas they can work on.
9. Consistency. Hold yourself together and keep at it, keep pursuing until you achieve your set goals and expected results. Meet up with your mentor and do not wait for them to always initiate conversations, ask them about their convenience to meet, ask about their schedules, plan ahead and remind them early enough. This way, your interest in the mentorship will be evident and will be a motivating factor to the mentor.
10. Express gratitude. Finding someone who is willing to pour into and build another person’s life is not to be taken for granted. Someone who takes time out of their schedule to mentor another is to be appreciated and celebrated. It is such a noble thing for someone to choose to walk with you, guiding you. The least that you can choose to do is to say a sincere ‘Thank you’. Openly express your gratitude to them and thank them for their time, support and presence.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” -William Arthur Ward