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  • Desmond Boateng

How to Become an Effective Mentee: 5 Major Tips.

Updated: May 17, 2021

"If a child shoots an arrow that reaches the top of a tall palm tree, then it must be that an elderly person carved the arrow for him"

Nigerian Proverb

Mentorship is usually the bridge that connects the present generation to the future they seek. Mentees in a mentoring relationship seek guidance and support to help hone their skills, personality for whatever field of endeavor, they may plunge in.

While the benefits of mentorship cannot be downplayed, It is hinged on the effectiveness of the mentorship program and how it is designed to suit both mentees and mentors. Once there is a symbiosis between mentee and mentor, it is likely to bloom into a wonderful relationship.

To have an effective mentorship program, both mentee and mentor have a role to play. Here are 5 major tips on becoming an effective mentee.

1. Drive the Relationship

Usually, the first meeting between a mentee and mentor is set by the mentor as he/she determines the medium of communication, place of meeting, and time. However, subsequent meetings should be initiated by the mentee. As a mentee, be the driving force in the mentoring relationship. Ask questions, be sure to give feedback as and when needed. Commit to making this mentoring relationship beneficial to you and the mentor.

2. Be Prepared and Ready for each meeting

Remember your mentor is only volunteering (in most cases) their time for you and you shouldn't waste that time and opportunity. One way to waste a mentor's time is to go for a meeting unprepared. To avoid this, set an agenda and a goal. Know what you want to achieve at the end of each meeting before you go. Have your list of questions written down already before each meeting, but don't be limited to that. If there is a need to, read before you go for each meeting. Make sure you are prepared and ready for each meeting.

3. Don't be a Yes-man

There is a tendency for a mentee to accept every recommendation or suggestion from their mentor. This is because you view your mentor as someone of superiority and more experienced than you are. While your mentor is supposed to give you guidance, recommendations, and pointers, you do not necessarily have to say yes to everything they suggest or recommend. Don't be afraid to disagree as and when you feel your mentor isn't privy to all the information, but you should do that respectfully. Disagreeing when there is a need to, leads to a conversation that is more fruitful and opens the conversations to other ideas, and suggestions previously not thought about.

4. Respect your Mentor

Familiarity is said to bring contempt. You shouldn't let this happen. Being in a mentorship relationship makes you privy to some information about your mentors, such as contact, work hours, and others. You should respect your mentor enough to keep these confidential. Show respect to your mentor by showing up on time for a meeting, getting to meetings prepared, and not bothering them with personal requests, that are outside the mentoring scope. Understand when things come up and they can't make it for meetings. While respect is a two-way street, be sure to keep your part of the contract.

5. Be Appreciative

Be thankful to your mentor for taking time out of their schedule to meet with you. Acknowledge the fact that they are helping you and be appreciative. Let them know that they are making a difference. Being thankful makes your mentor want to do more and help you to improve. Be specific about how they have helped you. If you are thankful for the help they have offered in you the past, it makes them know how best to help you more. You could send them thank you notes after each session or at the end of the year and thank them for their help throughout the year.

Becoming an effective mentee is not too difficult when you follow the tips listed above.

If you need a mentor to support you in your academic, career, talent and leadership development goals, we’re here to help. Take a look at our mentors and contact us.

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