Drive Your Mentor Relationship for Maximum Results
Steve bradbury
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mentoringA Mentor/Mentee relationship is a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow and to really focus in on something that is important to you. Here are some ways to help you maximise your mentoring and the success you seek.

Here’s What Mentees Need

Having a Mentor in your life can give you the direction you need but the relationship is two-way and should work for both of you. A good Mentor will help you discover your path and to guide you in the right direction. They should be there to pick your brain, ask questions, listen and help you reflect.

As a Mentee, you should be learning from your Mentor’s experiences and asking for feedback on your actions and next steps. Remember to clearly articulate your goals and issues; your current situation. You should articulate where you want to be, your actions, the outcomes and what you have learnt along the way.

Here’s a checklist out of our Mentor’s Edge Guide on what a good Mentor needs to provide:

  • Demonstrate active listening skills
  • Provide structured, constructive feedback
  • Guide Mentees to be reflective
  • Help Mentees or protégés to discover their paths
  • Identify connections and opportunities for your Mentee’s development (study, job experience, volunteering, travel, courses, books, other people to meet)
  • Allow the Mentee to drive the discussion
  • Bring the discussions back to the Mentee’s overall goals
  • Ensure your Mentee has defined S.M.A.R.T. goals
  • Celebrate successes and acknowledge learnings
  • Know when to end the formal side of mentoring
  • Nurture a great relationship

Here’s What Mentors Need

We have worked with many organisations developing their mentoring programs in sessions we call Mentoring Magic where we facilitate initial communication and check in on how the mentoring relationship is going.

Guess what the number one thing we hear that mentors want from mentees? Direction. They want the Mentee to drive the relationship. They need to know the Mentee is dedicated and motivated to reach out for advice, particularly in the initial stages when both are new to the relationship and to organisational mentoring program.

We’ve found in our catch-up sessions with Mentees this to be valuable feedback because often the Mentee is worried about taking up too much time of their Mentor. However, when they understand that the Mentor really is there for them, the Mentee is able to confidently ask for time and really drive the discussions. It also helps the Mentor not to feel lost on what to talk about.

What does that look like? Here are some sentence starters

  • I’ve got an issue that I want to run by you, could you give me a call?
  • Next time we meet I would like to cover xyz
  • What I would like to know from your experience…
  • I would like hear your opinion on…

We also encourage Mentees to share about themselves and their knowledge. Share about articles or books they are reading, videos they’ve watched, podcasts or TED Talks they’ve listened to. This gives the Mentor direction to where your interests lie and then they will be able to share with you, articles or information that they believe is relevant to you. And what a wonderful way to learn – from each other.

More on How to Drive Mentoring

Often Mentors want to know how you have used the information they have shared with you or what you have done as a result of the last session. So when you are setting your agendas, or in between the mentoring sessions, have a check in with your Mentor to formulate your direction. This can be an email, text message, phone call or a quick cup of coffee.

Share your wins and something that may not have worked, so you can explore, in the next meeting, what to do differently. Then add this to the agenda to help drive the conversation in the right direction.

Lastly, be sure to ask your Mentor what they would like to get out of the relationship. What is it they are looking for? And how can you help them? Because that’s part of the magic of mentoring, it’s an exchange where everyone learns and develops.

Implementing a mentoring program within an organisation can transform not just one or two career paths but a workplace culture. Contact us about creating Mentoring Magic in your workplace today.