Originally posted on Forbes.
Ashira Prossack, (Contributor, ForbesWomen)
Ashira Prossack writes about leadership and the evolving workplace. She is an internationally recognized Leadership and Communication coach, speaker, and trainer.
It’s well established that having a mentor benefits women in the workplace. It’s a fantastic way to build a relationship, learn new skills, and further your career. How can you, as a mentee, get the most out of this relationship?
Your mentor isn’t there to do the work for you, they’re there to help you do your work better. Put the new skills you’ve worked on with them to use in your everyday work. If you’ve asked for help writing a document, have a draft ready for them to look over. If they’ve given you something to work on, make sure you do that in time for your next session. If they’ve opened doors for you, make sure you walk through them!
Curiosity will serve you well as a mentee. You should be hungry to learn, improve, and grow. In a way, this relationship is almost entirely focused on you, so take advantage of that! Ask thought provoking questions that lead to discussions. Have a hearty debate over an issue you feel passionate about. Ask questions that only your mentor can answer about their careers and experiences at work.
Don’t be afraid to disagree.
You shouldn’t feel like you have to take every single piece of advice your mentor gives you without question. If you disagree with something they’ve said, tell them. It will lead to a discussion with much more value than if you simply nodded your head in agreement.
Be open to feedback.
Your mentor is there to help you. They’d be doing you a disservice if they didn’t provide honest, sometimes critical feedback. They aren’t doing this to hurt you. You have to be open to being coached and stay receptive to the things your mentor tells you. Closing your mind off will hinder any progress you could be making.
Be clear on your needs.
Tell your mentor exactly what you’re hoping to get out of the relationship. Think of a specific goal you have in mind that you need help to accomplish. Set goals and come prepared to each meeting with an overview or an outline of what you want to accomplish during your session. Setting goals helps you progress quicker and stay on track. When both you and your mentor are clear on the target outcome, you can both work together to reach it and share that sense of accomplishment.
Respect your mentor.
Respect is a two way street, it should be both given and earned. This means showing up to meetings prepared and on time, and understanding when things come up. They are donating their time to help you, so it’s important that you don’t take advantage of them. If they’ve offered to make themselves available by phone or email, don’t overdo it and contact them multiple times a day. Establish some ground rules around contact so that you know how much time they’re willing to give you.
A mentor-mentee relationship can be a very long term commitment. Go into in with a long haul mentality and commit to putting in the work. Seek out a mentor that you want to work with long term. Being a great mentee means being dedicated to learning and practicing new skills. The more work you put into the relationship, the more you’ll get out of it.
Original post can be found here.