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Mentee's Guide to Mentoring

Introduction

Mentoring has many benefits, for both mentors and mentees. It helps both their professional lives and mental state. On the other hand, coffee chats too has its own set of benefits.

Both of them are different and one should be clear of the differences before making decisions.

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Coffee Chat


  • intended for short term gain (not necessarily career related)
  • not necessary for the person to be aligned with your interest/goal
  • could be your long-lost friend or a total stranger


For example, you could meet up with your dream company's HR Manager, for a cup of coffee, to gain insights of the position you have been aiming for. You, as a parent, could also meet up with a family for coffee, with the intention of matchmaking for your son/daughter.



Mentoring


  • intended for long term career gain
  • important that the person is highly suitable in guiding you
  • has to be someone in a reputable position in a company, and
  • he/she works in the same department as you.

When you build a strong relationship with your mentor, the skills and knowledge shared will be of a higher level. This shows the level of trust your mentor has in you, which will lead to an increase in your performance.

Developing a strong relationship with your mentor


Why?

Come well-prepared for your first meeting with your mentor.

Be appreciative. You could say,

“I truly appreciate your time, and I want to make sure I’m making the most of it.”

Be open-minded, understand the perspective of your mentor, and recognize the value that you can bring to each other.

How?

“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” — Oprah Winfrey.

How Do You Spot The Qualities to Find a Good Mentor?

  • Did you spot someone whom you think might be a good fit to be your mentor?
  • Do you have more than one person in mind?
  • How much do you know about this person?
  • If not, will you be able to find out more about this person professionally?





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If you don’t feel comfortable with your mentor within the first 1-2 times talking with them, you will know that it may not be an ideal fit. It’s hard to really quantify, but you should feel comfortable.

Once you have these details, answer the following questions truthfully. Remember, you need to have a yes to most of the questions.

How Do You Spot The Qualities to Find a Good Mentor?

Long term mentoring relationships can be rewarding for both parties, only if they allow flexibility to maintain a close connection.

Developing long-term mentorship with a mentor

Developing long-term mentorship with a mentor

As we embrace life changes, professional changes affect mentoring relationships, due to a lack of time commitment. Recall or flip back to the questions under ‘How do you spot the qualities to find a good mentor?’ Give yourself 2 months or so and come back to these questions.

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Would you still give a yes to most of the questions?

Do you feel the connection and trust of your mentor?

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Will the both of you accept and embrace the changes that occur over time?

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Are both of you willing to develop a long-term mentoring relationship?

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  • Express your intention of extending the mentoring partnership long term.
  • Accept the decision of your mentor, see his/her perspective.
  • Thank your mentor for the wonderful experience.




How to follow up with your mentor?

The biggest mistake is that mentors feel like they need to solve all the mentees problems, and mentees feel like every mentor is the perfect fit for every aspect of their needs.

Common mistakes made by the mentees

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Mentee Mistake #1:

The mentee doesn’t keep in touch with the mentor.

Mentee Mistake #2:

The mentee spills secrets

The mentee doesn’t do the work

Mentee Mistake #4:

The mentee doesn’t pay it forward

Mentee Mistake #3:

You are in charge of leading the partnership, which includes scheduling meetings and reaching out to the mentor. If you feel intimidated by your mentor, then leave the partnership, as it might not work the way you want it to.

Trust plays a huge role in your mentoring partnership. Once the trust between you and your mentor has been broken, there is no way to build it back. Worse yet, your mentor will question your credibility and character.

Being a mentee can require a lot of work. Your mentor might suggest you read some books or research online for some ideas related to your work progression. You have to learn to multitask, complete all work, take feedback and improve.

To achieve your goal, your character, and capability to help others have to be developed. You should look for opportunities to “pay it forward”, help your mentor and support others too.

The ultimate purpose of a mentorship is to grow you as a person to achieve your goals. The best thing you can do is to be open-minded when choosing a mentor. Sometimes, it is helpful to find someone who has a very similar path as you, but sometimes having a different opinion is also extremely helpful. I recommend feeling people out until you find one (or a few) people you resonate with. You want to feel comfortable, but an ideal mentor/mentee pairing can look differently for different people.


Put these tips into practice as you reach out and find a great mentor!

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