Getting the Most Out of Your Mentor
Whether you are starting a new career or are in the process of obtaining a degree in a field you would like to explore, it is important to have a mentor. A mentor will be able to guide you through the process of making career decisions, sharpening your skills, and learning new ones. Many people have mentors but do not use them effectively.
Sometimes mentors are not trained to work with their mentees and are simply given the task without volunteering for it. This could make for a sour experience if you are the mentee. Still, the situation can work if you follow some techniques.
Below are a few tips you can follow to make the most out of your mentor.
· Set a time, day, and location to meet with your mentor weekly. This will allow for uninterrupted time. A location such as a conference room is best where both of you can be away from your desk and others cannot simply stop by to chat.
· Learn all about your mentor’s strengths first. This is a great opportunity to learn what your mentor has to offer. In addition, this will help your mentor feel good about talking with you. Anytime someone has the opportunity to discuss what they are good at always puts them in a good mood.
· Create an agenda for each meeting. Once you know what skills your mentor has, you can plan to ask for help in specific areas. This will help to keep the meeting focused and purposeful.
· Set some time to allow for reflection and Q&A’s during your weekly meetings. This is a perfect time to share how something you tried worked and allow for asking for tips on how to improve.
· Be open to sharing some of your skills with your mentor. The mentoring experience can be one where both parties benefit. Everyone has their own bag of skills to share, so share some of your skills as well. Don’t be surprised if your mentee wants to learn a few things from you.
If you do not have a mentor, ask your boss or your professor for one. You don’t have to be a new employee. Seeking out a mentor with more experience than you will always help sharpen your skills and obtain advice. This can in turn be a way to help plan for a career or get a promotion in the future. You can even ask your boss or professor to mentor you!