Being a mentee isn’t as simple as just emailing your mentor or turning up to meetings. Essentially, it’s a project that needs to be managed and organised just like any other. To ensure the mentoring partnership works, the following offers advice for what makes a good mentee:
- Be organised! This is everything from making sure you have notes about the mentoring activity you’ve completed, to arranging meeting with your mentor. Expect that your mentor will be busy and take control of the management side of the partnership;
- Be flexible! You might need to reschedule meetings, change you mentoring activity plan, or refocus your initial ideas once the partnership begins. Be open to these changes to get the best out of the process;
- Be open to constructive opinions! You’ll often have to hear things that may be difficult when you invite an objective view-point into your world. Except that your mentor is there to support and provide guidance, and a good mentor will tell you where you might be going wrong;
- Be active! If you say you’re going to do certain mentoring activities, make sure you work to do them when you said you would. A mentor wants to support you, but if they turn up to a meeting and you haven’t done any of the things they advised you to do, they might start to think it’s a waste of their time;
- Be firm! Many mentors are busy. However, if they’ve agreed to be your mentor then they’ve agreed to commit time to you. Make sure that commitment remains and actively schedule in meetings and catch up (by phone, skype, email etc. as well as in person).
The most important thing to remember is that the process is aimed at supporting your own professional development. It’s in your interests to get the most out of it and make the partnership work for you.